Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Law as intelligence!

The arrest of Avinash Bajaj, CEO of Baazee.com has prompted lots of action from the fledgling internet industry captains in India. A gist of the incident and post-facto actions in CXO Today.

Here are some questions, pertinent from my view:
1. How does a group of law-makers argue for a non-standard way of evidence from an industry? For example, the court is asking for some signed papers regarding Terms of Agreement from a company where the online acceptance is deemed to be legal. Does this create a question of 'deemed' versus 'authorized'?
2. At the entrance to a restaurant in a strict 'No Smoking' area, if your customer smokes without your knowledge (though there are signboards to that effect), do you hold the restaurant owner responsible for the customer's smoking. All this when you fully realise that the cigarette, matchbox or the lighter were completely owned by the customer? Or, do you insist that once known, the restaurant owner should have stopped the customer or evicted him/her?
3. If lawmakers are not understanding enough about the way business is conducted over a given medium (that too, one where the growth of customers / users is very rapid, to say the least), then what right do they have to impose their own staid laws and regulations on this medium? Will it not result in detriment to the medium of business itself?
4. From a long-term perspective, education, rather than punishment - has always resulted in benefit for mankind. Repressive regimes and actions not just fall short of disciplining people, they also infuriate the masses to take up to worse stuff! Isn't it the duty of the court to 'correct' rather than to 'punish'? Or, has law already fallen short in trying to correct the wrongdoer that it finds solace in punishing the unwitting and unwilling accomplice?

Ultimately, I feel law-makers must understand the paradigms on which business is being conducted in the online industry and mould their approach based on what's suitable in that industry rather than try fitting a square peg in a round hole! In that context, it's high time they acquired intelligence in business.

What do you have to say?