The range of potential disputes in the virtual world is as wide as in thetangible one — copyright or trademark infringement, misappropriation of tradesecrets, defamation, fraud, deceptive trade practices, invasion of privacy –the list grows ever longer.

In 1996, operating on the assumption that disputesthat arise online are best resolved online, a group of trailblazers establishedThe Virtual Magistrate, a forum for online arbitration and fact finding.Proceedings were to be conducted entirely by e-mail and moderated by animpartial magistrate drawn from a pool of neutrals with experience in computerand Internet law.

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