Agency Law in Cyberspace

Document Type



The most up-to-date version of this piece can be found in the Duke Law Scholarship


This short article articulates and defends the proposition that basic doctrines within common-law agency apply readily to transactions and other encounters effected through the internet. In cyberspace, as in physical space, common-law agency specifies the circumstances under which an actor’s conduct should carry consequences for another person’s legal position unless a statute provides otherwise. Recent cases illustrate an easy translation into cyberspace of concepts that are well-developed elsewhere, including the test of whether a particular relationship amounts to one of agency and whether a person acted with actual or apparent authority to bind another.

Date of Authorship for this Version

March 2006