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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Postgraduate Course: Information Technology Law (LAWS11163)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course responds to the immense impact information technology and the Internet have had, and are having, on substantive law. 'Computer law' has developed since the Seventies from a patchwork of applications of ordinary rules of contract, criminal, and commercial law, to what is largely accepted to be a rapidly growing specialist cognate discipline. It has now expanded to embrace the "new" field of ┐cyberlaw┐ that focuses on the legal regulation of the Internet.
This course will examine the legal ramifications of cyberspace and the digitisation and virtualisation of everyday activities, including topics such as regulation by law and code, intellectual property in cyberspace, illegal filesharing, content liability, cybercrime, online privacy and cloud computing.

Themes relevant throughout the course will be discussed such as globalisation, enforcement, regulatory forms (including self-regulation and soft law) and the competing lobbies for consumers, corporations, regulators, rights-holders and cyber-libertarians.

A further focus will be the extent and need for interaction between themes and legal fields.

Sources will be drawn from the legal systems of Scotland, England, the UK, the US and the EU, and students will be encouraged to contribute information and experiences from their home jurisdictions.
Course description Week 1. Introduction to cyberspace & cyberlaw
Week 2. Regulation
Week 3. IP and Information Technology
Week 4. Copyright in Cyberspace: introduction
Week 5. Copyright in cyberspace 2: current issues
Week 6. The legal and policy issues of filesharing
Week 7. Content liability
Week 8. Online Privacy 1
Week 9. Online Privacy 2
Week 10.Cloud computing
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Please contact the online learning team at
Additional Costs Students must have regular and reliable access to the Internet.

Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2019/20, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 40, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 156 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) One essay of up to 4,000 words (60%); one individual assignment (20%); a portfolio of contributions made to weekly online discussions throughout the semester (20%).

Requirements for all course assessments will be outlined to students within the individual courses at the start of each semester.
Feedback Students will have the opportunity to obtain formative feedback over the course of the semester. The feedback provided will assist students in their preparation for the summative assessment.

Details of the School's feedback policy will be available at the start of the course.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Identify, contribute to and advance the key areas of debate, from a legal perspective, in respect of the Internet and computers;
  2. Form a view on the relevancy and adequacy of law and alternatives in advancing these debates, including regarding enforcement and dispute resolution; and:
  3. Analyse the extent to which control over and liability in respect of hardware, software, data and website content can have negative consequences for individuals and corporations and wider society.
Reading List
In this IT law module, MUCH of the advance required reading will come in the form of 'Information Technology Law' (2016, 5th ed.) by Diane Rowland, Uta Kohl and Andrew Charlesworth.

You may also want to refer generally to Murray A. (2016) Information Technology Law: The law and society, 3rd ed., OUP, Lloyd I Information Technology Law (8th edn, 2017), OUP, and Savin A (2017), EU Internet Law, 2nd ed., Edward Elgar.

Accessible histories of the technologies of the Internet include J Naughton, From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg : what you really need to know about the Internet (Quercus, London 2012) and H Abelson et al, Blown to bits: your life, liberty and happiness after the digital explosion (Pearson, Boston 2008, available as a free ebook).

A good introduction to regulatory theory as it applies to the Internet can be found in L Lessig, Code 2.0 (Basic Books, 2006, available as a free e-book) C Reed, Making Laws for Cyberspace (OUP, 2012) and I Brown and C Marsden, Regulating Code (MIT Press, 2013).

A detailed list of key resources will be available at the start of the course.
Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills Students will develop their skills and abilities in:
1. Research and enquiry, through e.g. selecting and deploying appropriate research techniques;
2. Personal and intellectual autonomy, e.g. developing the ability to independently assess the relevance and importance of primary and secondary sources;
3. Communication, e.g. skills in summarising and communicating information and ideas effectively in written form;
4. Personal effectiveness, e.g. working constructively as a member of an online community;
5. Students will also develop their technical/practical skills, throughout the course, e.g. in articulating, evidencing and sustaining a line of argument, and engaging in a convincing critique of another's arguments.
Special Arrangements This course is taught by online learning.
Additional Class Delivery Information This course is taught by online learning.
KeywordsCyberlaw,regulation,copyright in cyberspace,online privacy,cloud computing
Course organiserDr Lachlan Urquhart
Course secretaryMs Clare Polson
Tel: (0131 6)51 9704
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