Advantage ISP: Terms of Service as Media Law Academic Article uri icon


  • All users must access the internet through ISPs on the basis of contracts known as `terms of service' or `acceptable use policies' that are becoming de facto law for internet communications. This article examines contracts fr om over two dozen ISPs. Findings include a knowledge differ ential between users and ISPs regarding rules and their applications. User s have liability irrespective of intention, while ISPs do not. User s must license content to ISPs. And ISP agreements disregard constitutional standar ds regarding freedom of expr ession and privacy. Public forum analysis provides a legal foundation for seeking ter ms of service more protective of constitutionally-based civil liberties and intellectual property rights.

published proceedings

  • New Media & Society

author list (cited authors)

  • Braman, S., & Roberts, S.

citation count

  • 27

complete list of authors

  • Braman, Sandra||Roberts, Stephanie

publication date

  • September 2003