This course covers a selection of topics in the field of Information Technology and the Law (or Cyberlaw). 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 global nature of IT law means that there is strong EU, Commonwealth and US legal influence upon the English system, so comparative aspects will be introduced, and readings will include materials drawn from, amongst others, US law journals.
The course is divided into four modules:
Introduction to Cyberlaw and Digitisation
How the information society functions.
The role of law and lawyers in Cyberspace.
Cyber-regulation and cyber-regulatory theory.
Cyberproperty and Intellectual Property
Ownership and exploitation of digital products.
Who owns computer software code? Infringing software and piracy.
Peer-to-Peer and copyright including the Pirate Bay, Napster and Newzbin cases.
The operation of Google and copyright law.
Cyber-rights, Speech Harm, Crime and Control
Free expression as a right online.
The rise of privacy injunctions and super injunctions.
Harmful speech including defamation, hate speech and online digital pornography.
Computer misuse (hacking) and enforcing laws online.
The protection of trademarks including domain name disputes and search listings.
Electronic contracting, electronic payments and taxation in the information society.
This course does not require an in-depth understanding of information technology – we are primarily interested in the implications of the use of information technology, and the intended and unintended consequences of regulating that use.
At the end of the course, students should be able to:
Critically evaluate ongoing 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.
World-class LSE teaching
LSE Law has excelled once again in the UK's nationwide assessment of research quality, impact and environment. The Research Excellence Framework results published in December 2014 show that LSE Law is the UK's number one law school for legal research.
The 2015 QS World University faculty rankings for Law also place the LSE in the world's top ten for the subject, making it London's best Law School.
On this three week intensive programme, you will engage with and learn from full-time lecturers from the LSE’s law faculty. LL204 course lecturers Professor Andrew Murray and Dr Orla Lynskey teach on a number of our undergraduate and graduate law modules, including Information Technology and the Law and Digital Rights: Privacy and Security.
Murray: Information Technology Law: Law and Society, (2nd Edition) (Oxford University Press, Oxford 2013).
Lessig: Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace ver.2.0 (Basic Books, New York 2006).
Edwards & Waelde (eds): Law and the Internet (3rd Edition) (Hart, Oxford 2009).
*A more detailed reading list will be supplied prior to the start of the programme
**Course content, faculty and dates may be subject to change without prior notice