The legal composition of most of civilization has been swiftly forged by the systems of common and civil law. To fully comprehend their range of influence, it is critical to define the terms, their historical origins, and their application. The modern world is at the epoch of technological advancement, with globalization being so biblically informed by the internet and social media. With a new space, one that is digital, conflict arises and legal intervention is required. This research holds a concentrated focus on the systems of law as they apply to content protection on internet platforms such as Facebook and YouTube.
Common law, to begin, is a system of legal principle that accepts a historically effective decision, or precedent, and allows it to shape future legal decision. An element that distinguishes the common law from other systems is an important legal concept termed ‘precedent’. The power of precedent is extremely crucial in this system of law, as it sets up a foundational framework upon which decisions on similar cases may be reached by acknowledging the historical precedent regarding a common problem. Because of this, judicial judges hold a prized status in the realm of common law as they effectively decide what becomes the precedent.
As globalization continue to ensure its reign across the globe, it is inevitable that technology finds ways to overlap with the judiciary. With the internet, comes the protection of internet content, and thus- internet law. It allows for legal legislation as well as legal principles to supervise the internet. In terms of internet laws regarding the protection of video content on platforms such as Facebook and YouTube. Because the internet is still relatively new technology, and because the nature of the internet requires it to be in a constant state of evolution, common laws cannot inform or influence content protection on the internet. In terms of legal statute surrounding the protection of video content online, decisions are typically met on a case by case basis.
Conversely, civil law, though not informed by a historical precedent, is however informed by a codified set of legal principles, otherwise understood as a legal code. A legal system where civil law reigns supreme prioritizes individual freedoms, dialogue, mass cooperation, and accessibility to all people, regardless of color or creed. Civil law in its essence pervades people/relationships and objects, and focuses solely on the codification of laws, deriving in influence from Roman Law.
In terms of legislation, however, civil law plays a much greater role in the government of the internet than common law does. In the United States, for example, laws that dictate conduct on the internet, especially as it applies to video content from platforms such as YouTube and Facebook. Issues that may arise include those of content protection, including issues of copyright and piracy. In the umbrella of what is civil law, copyright laws, for instance, fall under the category of intellectual property. On the internet, websites like Facebook and YouTube have copyright laws that govern their respective sites. YouTube’s ‘Fair Use”, for instance, is a law that governs when it is acceptable to use material without the permission of the copyright owner. Analyzing each specific case, YouTube has loosened the reigns on copyright statutes. This example depicts how copyright law fits in the legal umbrella of civil law and the ways that internet platforms intersect with the judiciary.