In the days before the digital age, lawyers were mainly concerned with managing the legal aspects of traditional business practices. They drafted and reviewed contracts, advised on corporate law issues, and helped companies navigate the complex web of government regulations and laws. They were the guardians of the rule of law, ensuring that business was conducted in accordance with the law and that disputes were resolved fairly and equitably.
However, with the advancement of technology and the digitization of nearly every aspect of business and personal life, the role of lawyers has also fundamentally changed. The digital world has opened up new, unexplored areas of law and created new legal challenges and complexities that require specialized expertise. In this new era, IT lawyers have moved to the front lines.
IT lawyers are specialists who deal with the complex legal aspects of the digital world. Its field of activity is wide and includes areas such as computer games, esports, artificial intelligence (AI/AI), blockchain technology, media, software-as-a-service (SaaS) and influencer marketing.
In the field of computer games and Esports, for example, they deal with issues of copyright, contract law and the protection of minors. They help developers protect their creative works, assist Esports organizations with contracting, and ensure that players’ rights are protected.
In the field of artificial intelligence and blockchain technology, they face the challenge of shaping a new legal landscape. They must help to create legal frameworks that do justice to rapid technological developments while guaranteeing fundamental rights and data protection.
In the media sector, particularly in the context of software-as-a-service and influencer marketing, they advise on issues of data protection law, copyright law and contract law. They help companies to legally secure their business models while meeting the requirements of data protection and consumer protection.
The everyday life of IT lawyers is characterized by a dynamic mix of contract drafting, preparation of general terms and conditions (GTC), legal advice and defense in legal disputes. In doing so, they must not only have a deep understanding of legal principles and laws, but also understand the technical aspects and business models of their clients. They are both lawyers and technology experts and play a crucial role in shaping the legal landscape of the digital world. In doing so, they have focused on specialized areas such as corporate law, copyright law and IT law in order to provide their clients with the best possible advice and defense.
2. IT law and contract drafting
The work of an IT lawyer often begins with the seemingly simple, but in fact extremely complex task of drafting a contract. Contracts are the backbone of the business world. They are the instruments that regulate relationships, define obligations and minimize risks. They are the glue that holds business relationships together and provides a clear foundation for collaboration.
But in the digital world, contract creation is becoming more complex and demanding. Traditional legal and business paradigms are often inadequate to capture the specifics of the IT industry. In this context, IT lawyers have a special role to play. They are not only legal experts, but also technology experts who are able to understand the technical aspects of IT projects and incorporate this knowledge into the contracting process.
In the area of software development, for example, contracts must not only regulate aspects such as delivery dates, payment terms and warranty rights, but also clarify technical issues such as the exact specifications of the software to be developed, the use of open source code or responsibility for software testing.
License agreements, especially in relation to software or digital content, require an in-depth knowledge of copyright and licensing law. IT lawyers must ensure that the licensor’s rights are protected without neglecting the legitimate interests of the licensee.
In terms of data protection regulations, IT lawyers are instrumental in ensuring that companies comply with the strict requirements of data protection laws and respect the privacy of users. In doing so, they often have to translate complex legal requirements into clear and understandable language and ensure that companies fulfill their information obligations.
In all these areas, IT lawyers are the border crossers between the technical and legal worlds, ensuring that the ongoing digitalization takes place in accordance with the law. Their work is therefore invaluable for the smooth functioning of the digital economy.
3. corporate law and IT
In the digital world, corporate law occupies a crucial position. With the exponential growth of startups in AI, blockchain, SaaS and other IT-related fields, the advice of an IT lawyer is no longer just helpful, but essential.
The first challenge that many start-ups face is choosing the appropriate legal form. This is where IT lawyers can provide valuable support. They advise on the optimal legal form for the respective business model, be it a GmbH, AG or a form of partnership. They analyze the specific needs and goals of the startup and help founders make an informed decision that makes both legal and business sense.
Another critical area where IT lawyers bring their expertise is in drafting shareholder agreements. They assist in drafting contracts that not only protect the interests of all shareholders, but also provide the flexibility necessary to respond to changes in the business landscape. They help to avoid disputes among shareholders and ensure that the contract contains all the necessary provisions, such as regulations on raising capital, distributing profits or transferring shares.
Supporting financing rounds is also an important aspect of the work of IT lawyers. They are usually deeply involved in the process, from preparing legal documents to negotiating terms with investors. They ensure that the interests of the start-up are safeguarded and that the legal requirements are complied with.
In addition, IT lawyers are frequently involved in the negotiation and drafting of joint venture agreements, M&A transactions and other corporate governance issues. These activities require an in-depth understanding of both corporate law and the specific requirements and challenges of the IT industry.
Whether negotiating a joint venture agreement that protects the interests of all parties or guiding an M&A transaction that takes into account the specifics of the target company’s IT business model, IT lawyers play a critical role. They ensure that these agreements are legally sound while meeting the specific requirements of the digital business world. Their expertise helps to ensure that the legal framework for the digital economy is stable and reliable.
4. general terms and conditions and the digital world
General terms and conditions (GTC) represent a central point in the everyday life of IT lawyers. In the digital world, GTCs are omnipresent. They form the legal basis for almost every interaction consumers have with digital services – whether shopping in online stores, using social media platforms, or signing mobile contracts.
Drafting GTCs is a challenging task that requires both legal knowledge and an understanding of business requirements. IT lawyers are faced with the challenge of drafting GTCs that do justice to the company’s business model while at the same time complying with the legal requirements of consumer protection law, data protection law and other relevant areas of law.
Transparency and comprehensibility are two essential factors here. The GTCs must be formulated in such a way that they are comprehensible to the average consumer. They must not contain any “hidden” clauses that could disadvantage the consumer. At the same time, however, they must also cover all necessary aspects to minimize legal risks for the company.
Another important point that IT lawyers consider when drafting GTCs is compliance with data protection regulations. You must ensure that the T&Cs clearly and comprehensively set out users’ rights in relation to their personal data and that they comply with the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other data protection laws.
But T&Cs often go beyond just consumer rights. They may also contain provisions that relate to business aspects, such as warranty rights, limitations of liability or payment terms. In these areas, too, IT lawyers must ensure that the GTCs comply with legal requirements and protect the interests of the company.
Working with GTCs is therefore an ongoing process. Since case law and legal regulations are constantly evolving, the GTCs must also be regularly reviewed and updated. IT lawyers play a central role in this. They ensure that companies are able to navigate the complex legal landscape of the digital world and achieve their business goals without neglecting their legal obligations.
5. specialties: Computer games, esports and influencers.
IT lawyers not only specialize in general legal issues, but also bring a deeper understanding of specific industries. This specialized knowledge is especially critical in areas such as computer gaming, esports, and influencer marketing, where the technological and business practices are often unique and present special legal challenges.
In the field of computer games and Esports, for example, IT lawyers are often involved in negotiating and drafting licensing agreements. They must have a thorough understanding of the ins and outs of the games industry, such as the use of intellectual property, user content engagement, and the unique role that communities play in this environment. They also have to deal with copyright issues that arise from the use of music, graphics and other creative elements in games.
In addition, the protection of minors is a key issue in the field of computer games and Esports. IT lawyers must ensure that games and events meet the legal requirements for the protection of minors, especially with regard to age ratings, advertising and the handling of sensitive content. They also advise companies on the organization of esports events to ensure that they comply with legal requirements regarding player contracts, prize money, competition law and other aspects.
In influencer marketing, IT lawyers are closely involved in drafting contracts between influencers and companies. These contracts can cover a variety of topics, including compensation, content copyrights, competition law, data protection, and consumer protection. Not only must they meet legal requirements, but they must also take into account the specific conditions of influencer marketing, such as the influencer’s personal brand, the specifics of social media platforms, and the expectations of the target audience.
In all these tasks, IT lawyers often work closely with other departments, especially marketing, PR and communications departments. They help to ensure that the creative and commercial goals of these departments are aligned with legal requirements. They ensure that companies minimize legal risks while pursuing innovative and effective strategies in these dynamic and fast-moving industries.
The work of an IT lawyer is both challenging and fascinating. They are in constant contact with innovative technologies and business models that have the potential to fundamentally change the way we live and work. They are not only legal advisors, but also strategic partners for companies on the cutting edge of digital innovation.
The focus of their work is often on contract drafting and the preparation of general terms and conditions (GTCs). They design legal frameworks that give structure to relationships between companies, customers, partners and other stakeholders. In doing so, they must have a deep understanding of the technical aspects of their clients’ products and services and ensure that contracts and T&Cs are legally robust while meeting the specific requirements of the digital economy.
IT lawyers are also active in the field of corporate law, especially in the creation and financing of startups in the areas of artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and software-as-a-service (SaaS). They advise their clients on the optimal legal form, assist in the drafting of shareholder agreements and accompany financing rounds. In addition, they are often involved in negotiating and drafting agreements for joint ventures, M&A transactions and other corporate partnerships.
In addition, IT lawyers play an important role in emerging fields such as influencer marketing, where they negotiate and draft contracts between influencers and companies that cover a variety of topics, including compensation, copyright, and competition law.
The everyday life of an IT lawyer is characterized by the constant challenge of understanding new developments and trends in the digital economy and integrating them into their legal advice. They always have their finger on the pulse, ready to integrate new technologies and business models into their work and help their clients overcome the legal hurdles that digital transformation brings.
In all their activities, IT lawyers aim to create the legal foundation on which tomorrow’s digital businesses can successfully build. They are indispensable partners for companies that want to succeed in the digital economy and help create the regulatory framework that enables innovation and growth.