LLM Specialisms 2012/13

Information Technology, Media and Communications Law


[please note: links below are to the 2011/12 course guides; they will be updated when new guides are made available during the summer vacation]


The emerging disciplines of Information Technology, Media and Communications Law are among the most dynamic and exciting legal developments in recent years. The LSE Law Department is at the leading edge of these fields. We have a team of experts researching a variety of aspects within these subjects ranging from Internet governance and regulation, electronic contracting, regulation of Internet content and copyright, through to universal service provisions, network regulation and telecommunications regulation within developing markets.
The Law Department collaborates closely with the Media@LSE research centre, which is a focus for interdisciplinary research within the fields of telecommunications, media and new media and boasts a team of internationally renowned scholars drawn from the Law, Information Systems, Sociology and Social Policy, Economics and Government Departments, and from the Centre for the Analysis of Risk and Regulation. This inter-disciplinary research group runs a range of seminars for graduate students and draws upon a wide range of speakers from both sides of the regulatory divide to provide contemporary insights into the fast-changing regulatory structures in these subject areas. LLM students are welcome to attend these informal and informative seminars. For further details, see the LSE Information Technology Law web pages at http://theitlawyer.blogspot.co.uk

Copyright and Related Rights (LL403): the law of copyright and related rights in the UK, analysed in the context of the history of the institution of copyright; arguments for and against the expansion of copyright; copyright's role in UK cultural policy; its relationship with technologies, institutions and investment strategies that sustain the global culture industries.

Cyberlaw (H) (LL4S1): this course examines and discusses topical issues in relation to the law of the internet and other digital information devices (Smartphones, Tablets etc.). It opens by examining the issues relating to network regulation or control by addressing questions such as “can the internet be regulated?” and “who is competent to police online content and activity?” It concludes its examination of structural controls by examining the highly topical and politically charged issue of enshrined network neutrality: by asking the question: should Internet Service Providers be allowed to vary service conditions by types of content? Students taking the course will be expected to develop knowledge and understanding of the different values brought to bear in the regulation of ICT and communities and the factors leading towards choices of particular values, regulatory institutions and process. Such knowledge and understanding will operate both at the theoretical level and the level of particular examples of regulatory regimes.

Digital Rights, Privacy and Security (H) (LL4S4): the protection of individual privacy is now a key concern in the information society. With personal data being a valuable and tradable commodity the amount of data being gathered stored and processed is expanding exponentially. Further as individual data moves into the cloud and as so called “mouse droppings” track our every online movement the concept of personal data privacy now seems out of date and even quaint. This course looks at the rebalancing of personal and data privacy through ICT and examines the legal frameworks designed to protect personal and data privacy. It questions their effectiveness and asks whether new offline techniques (to be implemented through the Internet of Things) are adequately regulated. The course will take a critical approach and will introduce students to techniques and technologies for monitoring and gathering personal data and the legal regulatory framework for controlling the data industry.

E-Commerce Law (H) (LL4S2): this course is to introduce students from a legal background to the specialised legal structure which surrounds e-commerce. The course looks at the specific problems an e-commerce start-up must overcome in order to begin trading, including arranging hosting agreements, designing terms and conditions of service and delivery, and arranging distribution agreements. From here the course will develop to examine the problems of more mature e-commerce businesses including jurisdiction, payment systems and rules on marketing and privacy. Special classes on internet auctions and social networks will complete the analysis. The course is designed to act as an interface between ICT law and commercial law and practice in that it examines in detail the closed sub-set of online transactions which are clearly commercial in nature. [not offered 2012/13]

Innovation, Technology and Patent Law (LL4C1): this course critically examines UK and European patent law from different perspectives including the economic case for incentivising innovation, industry and technological-specificity of legal doctrine, international economic and political frameworks, institutional features, and legal developments in the domestic laws of other countries as well as at regional and international levels. Case studies from comparable jurisdictions such as US, India or Latin America will be used where appropriate.

Introduction to Regulation (H) (LL406): key topics in the study of regulation from a comparative and generic perspective with examples drawn from public administration, socio-legal studies and institutional economics.

Media and Communications Regulation (H) (LL407): a comparative and generic introduction to key issues in the regulation of media and communications, focusing on economic and content regulation of print media, broadcasting, postal and telecommunications services and the internet, and including coverage of problems relating to the convergence of media and communications.

Media Law: Regulating Publication (H) (LL4H2): the course examines the legal and administrative regulation of mass media publication. The course first considers a number of general themes: the role(s) of the media in society (including conceptions of the ‘public interest’); the main social, technological and regulatory influences that shape media publication practise, and rights jurisprudence (in particular, media freedom in national and international law). It then examines restrictions on publication aimed at protecting specific private interests (eg reputation; privacy) and/or public interests (eg integrity of the legal process; political impartiality; avoidance of offence; national security).

Media Law: Regulating Newsgathering (H) (LL4H3): this course examines the legal and administrative regulation of newsgathering and content production practices undertaken by journalists and others working in the media sector. The course first considers a number of general themes: the role(s) of the media in society (including conceptions of the ‘public interest’); the main social, technological and regulatory influences that shape newsgathering practise, and rights jurisprudence. It then examines the regulation of specific newsgathering practices (eg access to information held by the state; protection of sources; harassment and media intrusion; entrapment; interference with witnesses (‘cheque-book journalism’); media-police interaction; surreptitious newsgathering practices.

Piracy, Content and Ownership in the Information Society (H (LL4S5): one of the most contentious and complex areas of online activity is the conflict between content providers and consumers. Providers spend considerable amounts on developing and delivering a variety of content, including entertainment content, branded content and business content. Consumers often erroneously, feel “information ought to be free” and take content without payment, an activity known as piracy. This is an embedded schism in internet society and this course will examine key flashpoints including: proprietary vs. open software; file sharing and aggregation; trade mark disputes including ADR for domain name disputes; software patents and the database right. At the end of the class students should have a valuable insight to, and understanding of, the legal foundations of these disputes and the attempts of regulators to broker a resolution. This class will take a critical approach to both the problem and the proposed legal/regulatory solutions.  [not offered 2012/13]

Regulation: Legal and Political Aspects (LL446): theories and case studies of regulation encountered in public policy, administration, legal literature, examining the origins, development and reform of regulation; the styles and processes of regulation; the issues surrounding enforcement; the inter-organizational and international aspects of regulation; and questions of evaluation and accountability.


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