Information Technology and the Law

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Andrew Murray NAB7.11

Additional Teachers: Dr Orla Lynskey


This course is available on the BA in Anthropology and Law, BSc in Business Mathematics and Statistics, BSc in Statistics with Finance and LLB in Laws. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit. This course is available to General Course students.

Course content

About the Course: This course covers a selection of topics in the field of Information Technology Law. It will begin by considering the debate about the nature of the influence of information technology upon the development of new legal doctrine, moving on to consider, through topics such as data protection, computer misuse and computer evidence, copyright and digital rights management, criminal content liability and defamation, both how the law has responded to the challenges of information technologies, and the extent to which legal issues have shaped the development of information society policy.
The focus will be initially on English law, although the increasingly global nature of IT law means that there are already strong EU and US legal influences upon the English system, so comparative aspects will be introduced in places, and readings will include materials drawn from, amongst others, US law journals.
This course does not require an in-depth understanding of contemporary computer technology – we are primarily interested in the implications of the use of information technology, and the intended and unintended consequences of regulating that use.

Aims and Objectives: At the end of the course, students should be able to:
• Critically evaluate on-going developments in law relating to information technologies;
• Display an understanding of how these developments relate to one another;
• Examine areas of doctrinal and political debate surrounding rules and theories;
• Evaluate those rules and theories in terms of internal coherence and practical outcomes;
• Draw on the analysis and evaluation contained in primary and secondary sources.

Indicative Content:
Michaelmas 2013
• Introduction to Internet Governance
• Intellectual Property Rights in the Online Environment 
• Freedom of Expression Online
Lent 2014
• Cybercrime
• E-Commerce
• Data Protection and Online Surveillance

For a more detailed outline, please visit the course Moodle page.


20 hours of lectures and 9 hours of classes in the MT. 20 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT. 4 hours of lectures and 1 hour of classes in the ST.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 2 essays in the MT and LT.

Indicative reading

**Murray: Information Technology Law: Law and Society 2nd ed, 2013, OUP.

Reed (ed): Computer Law 7th ed., 2011, OUP.

Lloyd: Information Technology Law 6th ed, 2011, OUP.

Klang & Murray (eds) Human Rights in the Digital Age, 2006, Cavendish.

Lessig: Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace ver.2.0, 2006, Basic Books. Edwards & Waelde (eds): Law and the Internet 3rd ed, 2009, Hart. 

** Recommended for purchase.


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2012/13: 70

Average class size 2012/13: 15

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills