Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Internet Definition:

A global computer network through which the almost-instant delivery of data or files occurs between connected computers.

Related Terms: Cyberspace, Internet Service Provider

In Braintech, the Court wrote that the Internet was:

"... a global super-network of ... computer networks used by ... individuals, corporations, organizations, and educational institutions worldwide."

But this definition omits a core feature of the Internet: almost-instant data or file exchange.

As the Canadian Copyright Board ventured in 1999, in SOCAN:

"The essence of what the Internet is and what occurs on it can be stated in a few sentences. It is a telecommunications network.

The internet"Its purpose is to transmit files containing data, including music as that term is commonly understood. In order for a transmission to occur, the following events must take place. First, the file is incorporated to an Internet-accessible server. Second, upon request and at a time chosen by the recipient, the file is broken down into packets and transmitted from the host server to the recipient's server, via one or more routers. Third, the recipient, usually using a computer, can reconstitute and open the file upon reception or save it to open it later; either action involves a reproduction of the file, again as that term is commonly understood."1

No credible law dictionary, especially Duhaime's Law Dictionary, the world's best, could omit this 2013 definition of the Internet of Mr. Justice Fergus ODonnell in R. v Duncan:

"The internet, also known as the “world-wide web” is a bi-polar electronic Leviathan that has erupted on the world scene in the past two decades. In its benevolent manifestations, it has enormously increased and expedited access to useful information of all sorts, increased global awareness of myriad events, facilitated family and commercial communication across national boundaries in the blink of an eye and helped topple dictators; it is probably fair to say that its advent is of no less significance than the invention of the printing press.

"However, just as the printing press has been put to odious use from time to time, the internet has its own Jekyll and Hyde nature: it is a near certainty that future generations will look back at these decades, obsessed as we are with the twin behemoths of “reality” television and the “ooh, look at me, I must tell the world what I had for breakfast” narcissism of social media and at the billions of hours thus lost to a near psychotropic electronic escape from any useful pursuit and wonder if Aldous Huxley only got a few details wrong in Brave New World.

"For the purposes of this case, the relevance of the internet is its un-policed “garbage in/garbage out” potential and its free-market-of-ideas potential to lure in otherwise pleasant and unsuspecting folk with all manner of absurdity and silliness."

There are two American legal decisions of import as to the legal definition of the Internet, as follows:

1998, Blumenthal v. Drudge

"It is probably safe to say that more ideas and information are shared on the Internet than in any other medium. But when we try to pin down the location of this exchange, we realize how slippery our notion of the Internet really is. Perhaps this is because cyberspace is not a "space" at all. At least not in the way we understand space. It's not located anywhere; it has no boundaries; you can't "go" there. At the bottom, the Internet is really more idea than entity. It is an agreement we have made to hook our computers together and communicate by way of binary impulses and digitized signals sent over telephone wires."

2000, American Civil Liberties Union v. Reno

"Because the Internet has an international, geographically-borderless nature, with the proper software every web site is accessible to all other Internet users worldwide. Indeed, the Internet negates geometry. It is fundamentally and profoundly anti-spatial. You cannot say where it is or describe its memorable shape and proportions or tell a stranger how to get there. But you can find things in it without knowing where they are. The (Internet) is ambient—nowhere in particular and everywhere at once."



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