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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Postgraduate Course: Contemporary Issues in the Law and Policy of e-Commerce, the Digital Economy and International Information Governance (LAWS11358)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis research-led course introduces students to the most pressing contemporary issues that the law faces when regulating global, technology enabled markets, the digital economy and knowledge industries. Modern technologies are changing rapidly (disrupting) established commercial and business models, creating in their wake new regulatory issues, but also force us on occasions to reflect about the very foundations of law and the nature of legal regulation. The time when 'e-commerce' was largely restricted to B-C transactions on the Internet are long over, and while some of the fundamental issues that the Internet created for commercial law (such as jurisdictions or enforcement) remain pertinent, entirely new and unforeseen problems emerge.

Course description This course addresses some of the most topical and current issues in national and international responses to new disruptive business models. It also addresses issues of international governance of technology. It responds flexibly to the latest international developments at the intersection of law, the economy and technology, identifying challenges to current legal regimes in emerging fields of technology, where the law is either not yet settled, or not any longer achieving its purpose. Topics in any given year might include the impact of computer technology and automation on the banking sector, the dangers of and responses to technology enabled economic crimes, the potential of new forms to produce, reproduce and disseminate information for the international IP regime and the knowledge economy, the data governance and compliance challenges of emerging technologies and more generally legal responses to disruptive business models, both nationally and internationally.

It prepares students to function as lawyers in a world where rapid technological change not only creates new uncertainties, but also new opportunities for businesses, and where regulators courts and legal counsels face entirely new and unprecedented challenges. The course will also look at the enabling aspects of technology for legal regulation and enforcement, the changing nature of global law firms in an ICT environment, and the alternatives to regulation through legal rules and dispute resolution through litigation.

The course will be highly responsive to current developments in the intersection between law and technologies, following closely current research interests of the teaching staff. This will introduce students to issues that are currently considered in need of answers, and prepare them for their own, independent research dissertation. As a result, the teaching programme can change substantially from year to year, as problems become solved and their solution settled, and new problems and research issues emerge. The indicative programme for the first year of this course though will contain:

New money? Regulating sales with Bitcoin and cyryptocurrencies
New stock markets? Automated trading Systems and the law
New commercial crimes? Cyber insurance fraud and high tech crime
New freedoms? Legal issues of the Mobile Internet and m-commerce
New death? Digital assets in the life crisis: divorce, insolvency, death
New taxes? Taxing issues for international e-commerce
New Frontiers? Commercial micro satellites, global trade and the law.
New manufacturing? 3-D printing and the law
New friends? Social Networks and the law of the sharing economy
New players? Internet Security as a service, trusted computing and the power of online cartels

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  25
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) One self-reflective 1500 word research statement (30%), describing the research question, methodology and strategy. One poster presentation of the main findings (30%), together with a 2500 word written account of the presentation (40%).
Feedback This course is student centric, with a strong self-learning/independent research element in preparation of the dissertation. Students will be expected to prepare a reflexive strategy report for the mid term meeting, and to prepare a substantial presentation for the second class, where they will report about their findings, the material they found, and the difficulties they encountered.

They will be asked to participate in online discussions, write blog entries about their research, and will also be provided with online tutorial activities and quizzes to help them with the ICT part of the 40% assessment component, and to check their own progress.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. have a detailed understanding of emerging legal issues created by ICT technologies for global markets and economies
  2. have extensive knowledge of existing legal responses, both through legislation and relevant case law. Additionally, they will gain knowledge of legislative initiatives and reform proposals both nationally and internationally and extensive, detailed and critical knowledge of the legal issues created by one or more emerging technologies for law and legal regulation
  3. rigorously understand the interaction between economic, psychological, political , societal and ethical issues that regulators face when dealing with technology enabled disruptive business models. They will also gain understanding of the different modes of regulation that are available for regulators regulating technologies, and enabling their economic success.
  4. develop a critical awareness of emerging issues that are likely require legal solutions in the near future both for developed and developing countries.
Reading List
Ugo Pagallo: The Laws of Robots: Crimes, Contracts, and Torts, 2013
Arkin, R.C., 2009. Governing Lethal Behavior in Autonomous Systems, Chapman and Hall Imprint, Taylor and Francis Group, Spring 2009
Wendell Wallach and Colin Allen: Moral Machines: Teaching Robots Right From Wrong (2009)
Michael Anderson, Susan Leigh Anderson: Machine ethics, Cambridge University Press, 9 May 2011
R. Capurro and M. Nagenborg: Ethics and Robotics by (15 Aug 2009)
Hildebrandt, Mireille, Gaakeer, Jeanne Human Law and Computer Law: Comparative Perspectives 2013
Lydia De Beer Unmanned Aircraft Systems (Drones) and Law
Wolf Legal Publishers, W.L.P., 2011
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Skills and Abilities in Research and Enquiry
The ability to carry out independent research in the intersection between law, economics and technology
Ability to acquire information from disciplines and jurisdictions other than one's own quickly and reliably
The ability to identify, conceptualise and define new and abstract problems and issues that rapid technological change may create for the legal profession and the justice system .

Skills and Abilities in Personal and Intellectual Autonomy
Critically evaluating existing and proposed legal solutions for emerging technologies
Forming and defending argumentatively opinions in fields where the law is not yet settled
Ability to develop and argumentatively defend creative solutions for new problems caused by technological change
Ability to identify open research questions and to develop independently appropriate strategies to answer them

Skills and Abilities in Communication
Ability to communicate ideas to audiences form other disciplines and jurisdictions as well as to one┬┐s own.
Ability to use advanced ICT tools efficiently to communicate complex states of affairs to a variety of audiences

Skills and Abilities in Personal Effectiveness
Working to tight deadlines
Balancing conflicting demands on time management

KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Burkhard Schafer
Tel: (0131 6)50 2035
Course secretaryMiss Bethan Walters
Tel: (0131 6)50 2386
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