Nowadays, the development of information technologies stimulates the rapid development of e-commerce and online business. This is why the number of companies operating in the ”˜virtual’ market constantly grows and this trend grows stronger and is considered to be extremely perspective. In this respect, it is possible to refer to the example of the WorldWideWeb. This is the company organized by three graduates which had practically no other business experience and launched their own business project when they were students.
At first glance, such experience seems to be quite useful for them and their professional growth since it provides ample opportunities to develop their knowledge, skills and abilities in practical work, instead of theoretical development they get used to in the past. Moreover, this field is extremely perspective since the development of some e-business is traditionally accompanied by implementation of some technological or information innovations.
As a result, the e-business launched by a group of enthusiast may eventually grow in a prosperous business transforming an unknown company in the world giant of e-commerce.
On the other hand, the launch of the WorldWideWeb, as well as any other similar projects, was accompanied by certain risks and the problems the company is currently facing perfectly prove the extent to which these risks can deteriorate the position of the company and slow down its development. In this respect, it should be pointed out that such problems as the unauthorized use of software, violation of intellectual property rights, hacking and security of private information and some others are real threats to the normal development of e-business. In such a situation, it is necessary to analyze the situation and the current problems of the WorldWideWeb and develop possible recommendations that could improve the position of the company and secure its IS as well as private information of its customers.
On analyzing the current situation in the WorldWideWeb, it is necessary to underline that the problems have actually started since the moment the company decided to launch its own website named Studentsbar.com. In fact, this decision actually resulted in the creation of the website which became the source of the major burden problems of the WorldWideWeb. These problems are really serious and are closely related to different legal issues that makes it possible to speak about the high responsibilities of the creators of the website and the obvious lack of experience, especially in the legislative field because it seems to be quite probable that numerous problems could be avoided if the careful and reasonable legislative policy of the company was successfully implemented and conducted under the control of specialists working on the problems of IT legislation.
The unauthorized use of software
First of all, it should be said that one of the major problems the WorldWideWeb has faced after the creation of its own website is the problem of the unauthorized use of software which totally contradicts to the basic principles of the modern e-commerce and main legislative acts regulating this sphere. To put it more precisely, the unauthorized use of software violates the basic principles of the Information Security Management (2003) and Code of Practice for Information Security Management (2001). The reason is quite obvious since it is impossible to use software developed by some company without any special permission or agreement with the producer of the software product or its representative.
Instead, the Studentsbar.com has become the website where such unauthorized software circulates freely and without any serious limitations that apparently exposes the company to the high risk of being penalized or trialed for the violation of the legislative norms concerning the use of software without permission of its producer or owner.
The situation is aggravated by the fact that it is not actually the company itself that uses or spreads the software but it is rather the users and subscribers that share the unauthorized software and they are unwilling to refuse from this practice.
It proves beyond a doubt that such a situation is extremely dangerous for the company at first turn because it is the WorldWideWeb as the owner of the website that is legally responsible for the content and software that appears on the website. Consequently, even though it is subscribers who distribute the unauthorized software, but it will be the company that will be responsible for the violation of legislative norms. Naturally, such a situation is absolutely unacceptable for the company and has to be changed in accordance with the existing legislative norms.
The violation of intellectual property rights
Furthermore, there is also another problem that is closely related to the previously discussed one, namely the problem of the violation of intellectual property rights. In this respect, it should be said this is quite a complicated issue the WorldWideWeb has to solve because it is an ambiguous problem. To put it more precisely, the company may be equally accused of the violation of intellectual property rights as well as it may accuse others, namely Mr X, in the violation of its intellectual property rights.
In this respect, it is necessary to underline that the subscribers freely share music and graphic files on the website without any coordination of their action with the norms of the existing legislation concerning intellectual property rights such as Code of Practice for Information Security Management (2001) or Electronic Commerce (EC Directives) Regulations (2002).
It is necessary to underline that the situation is actually similar to the problem of the unauthorized use of software because again the subscribers distribute music files, for instance, without any official permission or observance of intellectual property rights, while the WorldWideWeb turns to be the only responsible for such violation of legislative norms because it does not prevent the music files and other intellectual products from circulation across the website.
On the other hand, it is necessary to remind that the WorldWideWeb can also face a perspective of violation of its own intellectual property rights as MR X, being dismissed, threatens and he actually can use the developments and ideas implemented in the WorldWideWeb and the Studentsbar.com in his own projects or in the companies he is going to work at. Practically, it means that he can use the intellectual property of the WorldWideWeb in his own interests without any official permission and in violation of the existing legislative norms. However, it is worthy of mention that Mr X is not limited in his actions by some contract which could forbid him the use of intellectual property of WorldWideWeb and, thus, it may be viewed as a serious mistake made by the creators of the company before the employment of Mr X as well as other employees who still work at the company.
Hacking and security of private information
Furthermore, it should be said that Mr X has become an extremely serious problem for the company and its customers because he, being experienced in e-commerce and use of newest IT and IS, apparently benefits from the existing gaps in the WorldWideWeb’s security system and its inability to protect itself from his actions targeting at the exploitation of the companies intellectual property, information database, and other sources in his own interests.
It is necessary to underline that his actions also violate the basic principles accepted in the modern legislative norms, such as Information Security Management (2003) or Code of Practice for Information Security Management (2001).
In this respect, it should be said that the recent hacking attempts and the breaches of the company’s information system as well as the unauthorized use of the private information of the website’s subscribers are direct violations of legislative norms and standards. It proves beyond a doubt that Mr X has no legal rights to use and, what is more, distribute the information he received from the WorldWideWeb, especially if this information concerns private data of the subscribers of the website.
It is possible to draw an example of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia whicih sufferred a few attacks of hackers and the consumer’s money were stolen. in fact, banking industry is one of the major target of hacker attacks.
However, it is worthy of mention that Mr X is just suspected in the organization of the recent hacking attacks and breaches. This is why it is hardly possible to launch direct legislative actions against him but, still, these breaches reveal the weakness of the existing information system and security system of the WorldWideWeb and its website. In other words, there exist not only purely legislative problems but there are also serious technological problems basically related to the problem of security of private information and IS of the website which are not reliable enough at the present moment.
The authorship problem
Finally, it is necessary to say a few words about another very serious problem, the problem of the authorship. What is meant here is the fact that the WorldWideWeb used the name of the site, i.e. Studentsbar.com, which has already existed. Consequently, from the legal point of view, the company had no rights to use this name without any agreements with the original owner of this name. Obviously, this step violates the existing legislative norms defined in Electronic Commerce (EC Directives) Regulations (2002) and the Code of Practice for Information Security Management (2001).
In this respect, it should be said that the WorldWideWeb actually violates the authentic authorship rights of the company that has already created the website named Studetnsbar.com As a result, this may be a substantial pretext to start a trial against the company, even though it was ignorant about the existence of the website with the identical name. In fact, this case resembles some cases of similar violations of legislative norms in other spheres of commerce, for instance, it is possible to remind the problems of companies that used the word ”˜cola’ in their names which caused numerous arguments as for the authorship of such names (Pomeroy 2001).
Anyway, it is obvious that the situation when there are two different websites with the identical names is totally unacceptable and needs to be regulated somehow. Otherwise, such a situation will negatively influence the functioning of both websites and create certain problems to the users of the websites who could not be always sure which one of the websites they really need or want to log on.
Prioritized action plan
Naturally, in such a situation MD has to undertake a number of steps which cold eliminate or minimize the negative effects of the existing problems and, what is even more important, which could adapt the rules and regulations accepted in the WorldWideWeb in accordance with the existing legislative norms.
The protection of intellectual property rights
Probably, the first step the company has to undertake is to accord its rules and functioning with the existing legislation concerning the protection of intellectual property rights and distribution of information, such as Information Security Management (2003) or the Code of Practice for Information Security Management (2001). It is necessary to underline that primarily, the company should forbid the circulation and sharing of musical file and other intellectual property if it is spread without the permission of the owners of the intellectual property rights. In other words, it is necessary to limit the subscriber’s sharing such files across the website in order to avoid the potential risk of trials.
As for the problem of the protection of its own intellectual property, it is necessary to point out that MD should think about it before they employed their employees, such as Mr X. what is meant here is the fact that Mr X did not sign any contract where he was limited in the spread or use of intellectual property of the WorldWideWeb. This is why, when Mr X has left the company, he has no direct obligations to keep the intellectual property of the company in secret, though, it is possible to appeal to the existing legislative norms protecting intellectual property rights and protect them effectively.
The prevention of unauthorized use of software
Secondly, it is absolutely unacceptable to use software without any legal authorization. Practically, it means that the company should simply forbid the subscribers to share or spread such software across the website and, naturally, the company itself cannot use unauthorized software without the permission of its owner. Basically, these measures resemble those that were recommended to apply to the protection of intellectual property rights.
The prevention of hacking and use of private information
Thirdly, the company needs to cope with an extremely serious threat from the part of hackers. It is obvious that the recent attacks, even though they could be organized by Mr. X could be potentially extremely dangerous for the stable and reliable work of the website and company at large. What is even more important, the subscribers of the website can suffer dramatically from the unauthorized use of their private information.
In such a situation, it is necessary to undertake several steps to protect the company from hacking and use of private information of its subscribers. Naturally, it is possible to appeal to legislative protection since it violates legislative norms and fully matches the current policy targeting at the prevention of the cyber crimes (May 2005). At the same time, it is possible to recommend implementing more advanced information system that could protect the company and data of its subscribers from unauthorized use. It should be said that modern IS developed by highly professional specialists may be quite effective tools which are able to prevent hacking and different sorts of breaches. On the other hand it means that MD should employ more specialists which could create and develop such IS.
However, it is necessary to underline that the protection of the company should be not only technological but also legislative. This is why it is necessary to launch the legal trial against Mr X in order to protect the company and the subscribers form the further violation of their rights and use of their private information or intellectual property.
Also MD should be more careful while employing new workers. To put it more precisely, it is necessary to create more precise contracts which could guarantee the protection of the company’s intellectual property and security of the private information of its subscribers during the work of the employees and after their dismissal.
The solution of the problem of the authorship
As for the problem of the authorship, it is possible to recommend either the rights to use the name of Studentsbar.com, or coordinate the use of the name with its original owner. Practically, it means that the company may simply purchase the name so that the original owner of the name would sell it to the WorldWideWeb and could not trial its authorship. Alternatively, it is possible to use the name on the basis of franchise, though the former variant seems to be more reliable because it guarantees that there would be no arguments and opposition from the art of the original owner of the name, while in the case of franchise, the company could influence the policy of the WorldWideWeb manipulating by the right of franchise.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible to conclude that the WorldWideWeb is currently facing a number of serious problems which result from the substantial gaps in the policy of the company and its inability to develop an effective work of the website in accordance with the existing IT legislation. At the same item, the plan offered above can substantially improve the position of the company and prevent its major problems.