An Overview of EU Cyberlaw Literature

I often get asked, by students and colleagues alike, what books to get and how to use them. Since Cyberlaw is, in the memorable words of Frank Easterbrook, “the law of the horse” – in other words, a collection of disparate legal disciplines, working with EU Internet Law does, unfortunately, mean working with many different disciplines. The situation is not so dire, however, as decent works exist in all of them and there are also some truly excellent ones. In this post, I will aim to give an overview of the books that I find particularly useful and work with relatively often. It is probably worth saying that, although Internet law changes relatively rapidly, books do not get out of date so easily. This is for a simple reason that EU Directives have a relatively long shelf life (E-Commerce and InfoSoc directives, for example, date to 2001) and the European Court produces a ´small number of judgments in each of the areas listed below.

Policy. No general books exist that cover EU Internet policy (although some references to policy and governance in individual areas are to be found in the works below). The following two books are not specifically EU oriented but they give a good overview of the main issues  involved. Ian Brown (ed.)’s Research Handbook on Governance of the Internet (Elgar 2013) is a good introduction to governance in cyberspace while Reed’s Making Laws for Cyberspace (OUP 2012) throws light on the law making process.

General literature. Few general works exist, although the situation is better now than it used to be. My own EU Internet Law (Edward Elgar 2013) is coming out in the 2nd edition later in 2016. It is complemented by the Research Handbook of EU Internet Law (Savin/Trzaskowski, Edward Elgar 2014). Neither is meant as a textbook and those looking for one should probably look at the Introduction to EU Internet Law (Trzaskowski/Savin/Lundqvist/Lindskug ExTuto 2015). A compendium of texts, cases and materials has been published in 2015 (Koščík et al. eds., available online) and is a useful collection of primary sources.

Those interested in the historical development of the main EU directives have a couple of volumes to consider. Lodder and Kaspersen’s eDirectives: Guide to European Union Law on E-Commerce (Kluwer 2002) remains the only article-by-article comment on the major EU Internet directives including the E-commerce, the Copyright and the Data Protection directives. Similar effect is achieved in Lilian Edwards’ (ed.) The New Legal Framework for E-Commerce in Europe (Hart 2005), which is an indispensable work for understanding policy decisions behind E-Commerce Directive.

Surprisingly, no up-to-date books covering electronic commerce only exist today and by far the best ones are the two volumes quoted above. Elgar’s Research Handbook on Electronic Commerce Law is due in September 2016 and will cover this gap to some extent.

Copyright is one of the areas where there is abundance of excellent books. A general work covering all EU IP Rights is Trevor Cook’s EU Intellectual Property Law (OUP 2010). Although no longer up to date in terms of case law, it gives a good overview of the basic directives. The Stamatoudi/Torremans detailed commentary on EU Copyright Law (Elgar 2014) is the most comprehensive article-by-article reference on all EU copyright-related directives including a section on EU policies. An earlier version with a similar scope (OUP 2010) is the Walter/von Lewinski’s European Copyright Law: A Commentary. An overview of the Member States’ implementation of the Copyright Directive is the Lindner/Shapiro Copyright in the Information Society: A Guide to National Implementation of the European Directive (Elgar 2011). Kur/Dreier European Intellectual Property Law: Texts, Cases & Materials (Elgar 2013) is excellent as a textbook in this area as is Pila/Torremans book with the same title (OUP 2016).

Trademark. Botis/Maniatis/Mühlendahl/Wiseman’s Trademark Law in Europe (3rd edition, OUP 2016) is a comprehensive overview of the area. Kur/Senftleben’s European Trademark Law is out in February 2017.

A review of the new EU patent system can be found in Pila/Wadlos (eds) The Unitary EU Patent System (Bloombsury 2015).

The most recent summary of cybercrime issues is Gillespie’s Cybercrime: Key Issues and Debates (Routledge 2015). A view of the EU cybersecurity policy issues is to be found in Christou’s Cybersecurity in the European Union: Resilience and Adaptability in Governance Policy (AIAA 2016)

Consumer issues are covered relatively comprehensively. Up-to-date general works exist, including Weatherill’s EU Consumer Law and Policy (2nd edition, Elgar 2014) and Micklitz/Reich EU Consumer Law (2nd edition, Intersentia 2014). Policy issues are covered in Leczykiewicz/Weatherill The Images of the Consumer in EU Law: Legislation, Free Movement and Competition Law (Bloomsbury 2016). Djurovic’s European Law on Unfair Commercial Practices and Contract Law (Bloomsbury 2016) covers the UCP directive. Twigg-Flesner’s (ed.) Research Handbook on EU Consumer and Contract Law is due in September 2016.

Private International law, while being subject to a multitude of general titles, has only a few specific ones that apply to the Internet only. An example is Svantesson’s Private International Law and the Internet (3rd edition, Kluwer 2013). Specifically consumer-oriented is Tang’s Electronic Consumer Contracts in the Conflict of Laws (2nd edition, Bloomsbury 2015).

Comparative law: Knowing what is happening in the United States is an important part of understanding where the EU laws come from and why they are written in the way they. A good general overview (including cases and materials) of American Cyberlaw up to 2010 is Bellia/Berman/Frischmann/Post’s Cyberlaw (4th edition, West 2011). Grimmelmann’s Internet Law: Cases & Problems (Semaphore Press, 2015) provides a more up-to-date look.

Books on privacy have traditionally concentrated on national implementation of EU laws. The current situation is made more complicated by the recent adoption of the General Data Protection Regulation, which fundamentally changes the current EU law and has yet to be subject to a comprehensive coverage in a book format. The best overview of the current law is to be found in EU’s own Handbook on European Data Protection Law (EU 2013). An up-to-date discussion of policy and constitutional issues are discussed in Hijmans’ The European Union as Guardian of Internet Privacy: The Story of Art 16 TFEU (Springer 2016). Further to this, there is Lynskey’s The Foundations of EU Data Protection Law (OUP 2015) which does cover some aspects of the initial GDPR proposal.

In addition to the above, the following three are also of interest.

Telecommunications law (or, as the EU itself puts it – electronic communications) is, strictly speaking, a separate branch of law that applies to carrier only (the wires) and not content on the Internet. Nevertheless, since convergence between content and carrier has been blurring this boundary for a considerable time now, some knowledge of the area is needed. Three comprehensive books exists on the subject. Scherer’s (ed.) Telecommunication Laws in Europe (Bloomsbury 2016) is an overview of national laws but it does begin with an introductory section on EU telecoms laws. The most comment-like treatment of the 2009 telecoms package is Nihoul/Rodford’s EU Electronic Communications Law (OUP 2011). A comprehensive analysis of the ex ante approach to telecommunications is Hou’s Competition law and Regulation of the EU Electronic Communications Sector (Kluwer 2012). Finally, my own EU Telecommunications law is due with Elgar later in 2017.