Paperback books make less of an impact on the foot of the unwary reader who drops them on to his unprotected toes, but the fourth edition of Ian Lloyd's excellent Information Technology Law (published by Oxford University Press) is quite heavy enough to make itself felt. Weighing in at 735 pages, the new edition (at a very reasonable £29.99) has done more than almost any other book to give the impression that IT law -- a ragbag of discrete legal topics as diverse as surveillance, defamation, copyright and e-commerce -- possesses an overriding cohesive unity. The exclusion of the regulation of the telecommunications and broadcasting sectors has made this job easier but, let's face it, this is a student text and anyone who has ever taught Information Technology Law at university level will know that it is easier to persuade children to eat spinach than to persuade students to immerse themselves in the vast, expanding constellation of rules that govern the telecoms and broadcasting sectors.
is what the third edition looked like when Butterworths still published it
Since the book is more closely themed around the control of information than aimed at the control of the infrastructure within which it may be conveyed, its content addresses correspondingly more of the interesting and controversial political pressure points in IT law (the individual versus the state, the right to know versus the right to suppress) rather than the law's merely regulatory aspects (however commercially important they may be to clients who are governed by them). Its author presents his analysis in a reasoned and open-handed manner and does not tell readers what to think. All in all, a good buy, particularly if -- as the IPKat suspects will be the case -- we have seen the end of a particularly tumultuous decade of legislative upheaval and can now focus on relatively minor fine-tuning of this fascinating area of law.