My Web Stats

Legal Info

Net Law Roundup #20

by Jeremy Malcolm, Internet lawyer

How many Australians does it take to change a light bulb? More than one, if he or she doesn't have an electrical contractor's licence. Believe it or not, in most Australian States it is arguably illegal to change a light bulb if you are not licensed to do so!

But of more relevance to this list (since we normally deal with Internet-related law), a similar state of affairs has recently arisen for those in homes and small offices who would normally do their own cabling. Cabling your own Internet-connected network is now illegal without a licence!

Since it goes without saying that hundreds of Internet users and wired businesses throughout Australia do cable their own home or small office networks - even if only by stringing a cable between two rooms - what is the worst that could happen to them? Well, in theory they could each be convicted of a crime and be fined.

The solution (for those who don't choose to simply ignore the law)? Wireless networking, using inexpensive wireless cards that comply with the 802.11 standard, is exempt from the intrusive cabling regulations that I have referred to above. Otherwise, be sure to consult your lawyer before you plug in your next network cable or change your next lightbulb!

Please Note: The information contained in this article is general in nature and cannot be regarded as anything more than general comment. Readers of this article should not act on the basis of this comment without consulting one of iLaw’s legal practitioners who will consider their particular circumstances