Information Technology (IT)

Information Technology (IT) concerns computing, software, the internet, eCommerce, and other technology systems. IT has rapidly become a fundamental element of any successful business. IT systems store, send and receive information and have become instrumental in the way people run their businesses.

Businesses have had to embrace IT as way to communicate instantaneously, streamline their services, collect customer information, and have an online presence. However, there are many laws and regulations that businesses have to comply with when using these technologies.

Legal issues within Information Technology

There are a multitude of issues that can arise for businesses in relation to IT. Some of these include (but are not limited to) privacy, data, cybersecurity and licensing. As a business, you have the obligation to be responsible with your customer’s privacy and data. Further, businesses have legal obligations to customers when there is a data breach and information is compromised. Consumers take their privacy online very seriously, so it’s in the best interests of not only your customers, but also your brand to make sure your business is complying with the law.

Due to the above issues, if your business uses software systems or is online it is likely that you will need the advice of an IT lawyer at some point, whether this be when your business is just starting out or if you’re introducing new or updated systems.

What Is A Information Technology Lawyer?

Information technology lawyers use their expertise in information technology law to assist people and businesses with disputes arising from tech-related issues and provide advice on information technology services.

With an expert knowledge about how the technology industry operates, information technology lawyers ensure their clients comply with the law and regulations. Compliance with these regulations usually requires the expertise of an IT Lawyer as the law in this area is constantly changing.

These lawyers also aim to maximise their client’s economic benefit. Some examples of what lawyers specialising in technology law advise on are:

  • Software copyright
  • Licensing
  • IT contracts
  • Website terms and conditions of use
  • Privacy policies
  • Outsourcing
  • eCommerce and online transactions
  • Intellectual property
  • Domain name ownership
  • Data privacy
  • Cybersecurity

IT Lawyers also provide helpful advice on the jurisdictional issues which are inherent in IT. Although the internet is used all over the globe, the laws governing it differ in each country. Subsequently, if your business has an overseas presence (physically or online), an IT Lawyer can help you ensure you comply with the laws of those countries as well.

Why Do I Need A Information Technology Lawyer?

It is recommended information technology lawyers should be a point of contact if you are an e-commerce company, IT supplier, purchaser of IT, or part of a technology department in the private or public sector. Information technology lawyers are highly experienced because they understand the technicalities involved, such as resolving data issues related to privacy.

Specialist information technology lawyers offer a range of services that cater specifically to your business’ commercial needs. Compliance is a common problem businesses face in the technology industry. With the help of an expert information technology lawyer, you can perform appropriate checks and balances and make changes to your business without delay.

If you are currently facing software, mobile or cloud computing technology issues, it is prudent to invest significant resources and time in consulting an expert who can protect your business.

What Will An Information Technology Lawyer Provide?

An information technology lawyer will provide effective solutions that are specifically catered to your situation. While keeping your best interests in mind, information technology lawyers will instruct and guide you on what next steps you should take regardless of whether you are an IT supplier, a purchaser of IT services, or a business in the private or public sector.

How much will an Information Technology Lawyer charge?

Hourly rates and Court fees

Generally, information lawyers, and lawyers in general, charge either a fixed amount or an hourly rate. The cost of an IT Lawyer will vary based on the scope of the work. Small issues that are likely to be addressed quickly will cost less.

Fees are calculated based on the solicitor’s expertise, seniority, location and whether the work is urgent.

What can a lawyer legally charge?

Costs can rise very quickly, especially in litigation. However, this is sometimes hard to avoid when work is being done by a lawyer on an hourly basis. Where fixed-fees are not offered by the lawyer, you should expect to be invoiced on a monthly basis. Lawyers are required to adhere to the rules outlined in the relevant acts. For example, in NSW and Victoria, this is the Legal Profession Uniform Law 2014.

Lawyers are required to provide to their clients a document called a ‘costs disclosure’ if your costs will be higher than $750.00. This document will outline how costs will be calculated in relation to your case. Also be mindful that costs are divided into ‘professional costs’ and ‘disbursements’, and you will be expected to pay for both. Professional costs are the costs of the actual work done by the lawyer, whilst disbursements cover incidentals such as court filing fees, telephone calls, photocopying charges – amongst other things.

What if I don’t agree with the costs?

You have the right to request an itemised bill that will outline how much time was spent on each task in relation to your matter, and how this adds up to the fee you’re requested to pay. If you wish to dispute the cost, you can make a complaint to the The Office of the Legal Services Commissioner (OLSC) and they will investigate the matter and may allocate a costs assessor. You can also take further legal action in the Courts if you feel you have been unfairly charged.

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