Week 1: Law and the Internet – How Cyberspace Challenges the Legal System
In the late 1990s, legal academics had a passionate debate about whether a "law of the Internet"made any more sense than a "law of the horse." Others argued as to whether conventional laws wereinapplicable or irrelevant in cyberspace or whether this was a further fallacy. More than a decadelater, many of these early questions remain fundamentally unanswered, despite the fact that theInternet has pervaded many areas of our lives, transforming (to a greater or lesser extent) social andeconomic practices from e-commerce and copyright to online dating, democracy and the practice of law. This first session will give an overview of the course and the field and shed light on thefundamental question of this course: how does the Internet challenge the existing legal system?* Mayer-Schönberger,Viktor Donahue, J. D. and Nye, J. D. (Eds). 2001.
Governance amid Bigger,Better Markets
. Washington, DC: Brookings.
Information Law amid Bigger, Better Markets,
pp. 266* Easterbrook, Frank H. “Cyberspace and the Law of the Horse.” 1996.
University of Chicago LegalForum
: 207.* Johnson, David R.Post, David G.“The Rise of Law in Cyberspace.” 1996.
Stanford Law Review
, 48: 1367.
Week 2: Rights Challenge: Intellectual Property in Cyberspace
Intellectual property has been a major battleground in Internet law. This is hardly surprising given therise in importance (and commercial value) of information through global digital networks, as well asthe potential of digital tools to acquire, process, store, and disseminate digital information quickly andcheaply. In this session we take a hard look at the law and economics of copyright, how copyright lawhas been shaping the Internet landscape, and how the recent development of copyright law itself hasbeen influenced by the digital revolution.* Landes, William M.Posner, Richard A.
The Economic Structure of Intellectual Property Law
. 2003. Cambridge,MA: Harvard University Press.
* Mayer-Schönberger,Viktor “In Search of the Story: Narratives of Intellectual Property.” 2005.
VirginiaJournal of Law and Technology
, 10(11): 1-19.
Week 3: Rights Challenge: Information Privacy
Since Scott McNealy, then CEO of Sun Microsystems, declared in 1999: “You have zero privacyanyway. Get over it!”, there has been a huge increase in levels of interest in this subject not just onthe part of regulators but also by ordinary Internet users concerned at how their personal informationmight be used by businesses and governments. Notwithstanding the apparent readiness of hundredsof millions of people to share often quite intimate information in online environments (for example, onsocial networking sites), privacy concerns, and specific issues such as data breaches and identitytheft, are rarely out of the news.