Glossary of Words and Phrases Relating to Internet Law

Interactive Online Entertainment Law

By:  Rob Hassett, Suellen W. Bergman and Lori M. Brill


Analog – derived from the word “analogous.” Applies in electronic transmission and storage of audio, visual and audio-visual works. The transmitted and/or stored version is similar to but not actually the same as the original. Quality degrades with serial copying.

Clickwrap – an agreement formed by a purchaser manifesting assent to the terms of an agreement online by pointing and clicking a mouse.

Cookies – small files that a Web site server places on a Web site users’ personal computer in which the Web site server stores its own information about the user which allows a Web site server to recognize the user and store the user’s preferences. Use of cookies can create privacy issues.

COPPA – Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998. The Act takes effect on April 21, 2000, and is not retroactive. According to Senator Richard Bryan (D –NV), who introduced the Act, the primary goals of the legislation are to enhance parental involvement in children’s online activities, maintain the security of personally identifiable information of children collected online, and protect children’s safety and privacy.

COPA – Child Online Protection Act. This was an anti-pornography act that was enacted by Congress but was held unconstitutional the first time a court reviewed it for violating the free speech clause of the First Amendment.

Cybersquatter – one who attempts to profit by registering a domain name which incorporates the trademark of a trademark owner with the hope of selling the mark at a profit back to the owner. This term is frequently used to describe anyone who registers domain names in bad faith.

Cybersquatting – the act of being a “cybersquatter.”

Digital – electronic technology that generates, stores, and processes data in terms of two states: positive and non-positive (positive is expressed or represented by the number 1 and non-positive by the number 0). Relevant here is that audio, visual and audio-visual works may be stored digitally (in other words as data), enabling one to create exact (quality does not degrade with serial copying) copies.

Dilution (Trademark or Service Mark) – use of the same or a similar mark in a manner which may or may not be deceptive or confusing but which lessens the capacity of the mark to identify and distinguish goods or services or which tarnishes the mark. Such action is not prohibited under federal law unless the mark meets the definition of “famous.”

DMCA – Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, among other things, designed to implement the treaty signed in December 1996 at the WIPO Geneva Conference.

Domain Names – word names for Internet addresses (e.g., “”) which map to unique Internet Protocol (IP) numbers (e.g., that serve as the actual routing addresses on the Internet.

DNS – domain name system; translates Internet names into the IP numbers needed for the transmission of information across the network.

DNSO – refers to the domain name supporting organization of ICANN. It is divided into groups which are charged with the responsibility of providing advice and consultation to ICANN on various topics. For example, Working Group C is responsible for providing ICANN with advice and consultation regarding whether and under what circumstances additional top level domain names should be allowed.

DVD – Digital Video Disk.

Ethernet – a local area network (LAN) developed by Xerox, Digital, and Intel; it is the most widely used LAN access method.

EU – European Union.

Framing – the act of splitting a browser window into multiple, independently controllable regions.

Hijacking (of domain name) – registration of a competitor’s mark as a domain name.

HDML – Handheld Device Markup Language; allows a Web site to be portable so visitors can view the site on their mobile phones, pagers, and other small devices.

Home Page – the first Web page that is supposed to be displayed upon bringing up a Web site with a Web browser.

HTML – Hypertext Markup Language; the authoring language used to create documents on the World Wide Web which defines the structure and layout of a Web document.

Http – Hypertext transfer protocol; the underlying protocol used by the World Wide Web. Http defines how messages are formatted and transmitted and directs how Web browsers and servers should respond to various commands.

Hypertext – a linkage between related text commonly used on World Wide Web pages.

ICANN – The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers; the non-profit organization that is responsible for domain name registration. (This responsibility was assigned to ICANN by the United States government.)

Internet – an internet is a large network made up of many smaller networks; the Internet is comprised of interconnected networks in over seventy countries and connects individual, academic, commercial, government, and military networks.

Internet Address – format for addressing a message to an Internet user.

ISP – Internet Service Provider; a company that provides access to the Internet. For a monthly fee, the ISP gives a user a password, username, software package, and access phone number.

Link (Hyperlink) – a direct connection between Web sites, Web pages or places on the same Web page.

Markup Language – a computer language that describes how a Web page should be formatted.

Metatag – a hidden word or label in a file of a Web site used to draw the attention of Internet search engines to that Web site.

MP3 – MPEG-1 Audio Layer-3; a standard technology and format for compressing a sound sequence into a very small file (about one-twelfth the size of the original file) while preserving close to the original level of sound quality when it is played.

Napster – available at, this software can be used to find and download MP3 versions of freely available music (legal) and/or commercial proprietary music (illegal). With necessary technological protections, a version of Napster, or something similar, that allows payment by credit card for downloaded versions of music will likely recharge the industry.

NSI – Network Solutions, Inc.; the largest domain name registrar and the manager of the registry for the gTLD’s.

RAM – Random Access Memory; a computer’s primary work space.

Register – to reserve a domain name.

Registrar – companies, such as NSI and, that have been authorized by ICANN to register top level domain names for the public.

Registry – a database of top level domain names. NSI manages the “registries” for .com, .net and .org, among others.

Ripper – software which enables the user to digitally copy songs from a CD into MP3 and other formats.

Rio – a brand of portable MP3 player.

ROM – Read Only Memory; a memory chip which permanently stores instructions and data.

SDMI – Secure Digital Music Initiative; the SDMI was established to protect music companies’ copyrights on the Web and was designed to prevent serial copying.

Search Engine – a directory which retrieves Web sites responsive to a user’s search request.

Shrinkwrap License – license agreements included under the shrinkwrap covering of software packages.

Spam – unsolicited bulk e-mail.

TCP/IP – A communications protocol developed under contract from the U.S. Department of Defense to internetwork dissimilar systems. It is currently used to connect computers over the Internet.

TLD – Top level domain name; the Internet domain name space is constructed as a hierarchy which is divided into top-level domains (TLDs), with each TLD then divided into second-level domains (SLDs), and so on. More than 200 national, or country-code, TLDs (ccTLDs) are administered by their corresponding governments or by private entities with the appropriate national government’s acquiescence. A small set of gTLDs (generic TLDs) do not carry any national identifier, but denote the intended function of that portion of the domain space (for example, .com was established for commercial users, .org for not-for-profit organizations, and .net for network service providers). (Registrars do not screen for the actual function of the entity and will register gTLDs to entities without regard to whether the domain space properly corresponds to the identifier; i.e. many commercial entities have registered an Internet address ending in “.org.”)

UCITA – Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act; a proposed uniform commercial law for the information economy that would apply to computer software licensing and certain online transactions. The Virginia legislature has passed a bill to enact a version of the UCITA in that state, and it has been signed by the governor.

UETA – Uniform Electronic Transactions Act. UETA grants legal recognition of electronically produced and transmitted signatures, records, transactions, and contracts. A version of UETA has been enacted in California and Pennsylvania.

URL – Uniform Resource Locator; identifies the address where a Web page is stored.

Web Browser – a computer program which allows a user to view pages on the World Wide Web.

Webcasting – live or delayed streaming of audio or video on the Internet.

Web Page – a document on the World Wide Web. Each Web page is identified by a unique URL.

Web Server – a computer with software that can respond to a Web browser’s request for a page and sends the page to the Web browser through the Internet.

Website – a related collection of Web pages and files that includes a home page.

WIPO – World Intellectual Property Organization. An agency of the United Nations. WIPO is responsible for promoting the protection of intellectual property throughout the world and administers international intellectual property conventions and various multilateral treatises dealing with administrative and legal aspects of intellectual property.

World Wide Web – an Internet system that links documents by providing hypertext links from server to server.

©2000, Rob Hassett, Atlanta, Georgia. All Right Reserved.

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About Rob Hassett

Rob Hassett is an attorney in technology, entertainment and corporate law with Hassett Law Group/Business Law Partners in Atlanta, GA. He is a co-author of a leading volume on internet and interactive media law and has taught many classes in the professional education program at Georgia Tech.

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