LL4S5      Half Unit
Piracy, Content and Ownership in the Information Society

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Andrew Murray NAB7.11


This course is available on the MSc in Law and Accounting, Master of Laws and Master of Laws (extended part-time study). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course is capped at 30 students. Students must apply through Graduate Course Choice on LSEforYou.

Course content

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.


20 hours of seminars in the LT. 2 hours of seminars in the ST.

Formative coursework

All students are expected to contribute to a series of class and online exercises, and to submit to one one-hour mock exam.

Indicative reading

Murray: Information Technology Law: The Law and Society 3ed (OUP, 2016); Waelde et al, Contemporary Intellectual Property: Law and Policy 3ed (OUP, 2013) Lessig: Free Culture: The Nature and Future of Creativity (Penguin,2005) Patry: How to Fix Copyright (OUP 2012) Boyle: The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind (Yale UP, 2009) Netanel: Copyright's Paradox (OUP, 2010) Johns: Piracy: The Intellectual Property Wars From Gutenberg To Gates (Chicago UP, 2011)


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours, reading time: 15 minutes) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2015/16: 15

Average class size 2015/16: 16

Controlled access 2015/16: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills