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

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Andrew Murray NAB 6.08


This course is available on the LLM (extended part-time), LLM (full-time), MSc in Law and Accounting and University of Pennsylvania Law School LLM Visiting Students. 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

The speed of technological innovation means that even as laws and regulatory practices are formulated, they are already under pressure from the next wave of development. One of the greatest challenges of the digital environment has been the compression of transmissibility of all data including entertainment data such as music, movies, TV shows and video games. For more than twenty years the entertainment industries have found themselves under continuous assault from their own customers and have often been painted as the villains of the piece. Lawyers and lawmakers have been forced to respond, often following behind the technology.

This unit explores how legislators, regulators and those in the entertainment and related industries interact in their attempts to develop a coherent and flexible body of law and regulatoy practice for an increasingly globalilsed environment. This will involve consideration of current and potential legal and regulatory strategies that can be used to achieve aims such as protection of copyright content, the relationship with users and user generated content, the protection of databases and the proprietary model of software protection. The focus will be initially on English law, although the global nature of this subject 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.


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

There will be a Reading Week in Week 6.

Formative coursework

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

Indicative reading

Murray: Information Technology Law: The Law and Society 4ed (OUP, 2019); Koo: The Right of Communication to the Public in EU Copyright Law (Hart, 2019); Klein, Moss & Edwards: Understanding Copyright Intellectual Property in the Digital Age (Sage 2015); 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 summer exam period.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2018/19: 29

Average class size 2018/19: 29

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills