CYBERLAW II: E-COMMERCE & THE REGULATION OF CYBERSPACE
Course Description - Spring 2002
Broadly speaking, Cyberspace represents a conceptual distinction between activities that occur in the physical or real world and those that occur online or in virtual reality. Beyond conceptual distinctions, we might say that the infrastructure of Cyberspace is largely digital code, and that this aspect of Cyberspace renders the virtual landscape unique. As a practical matter, both the increasing importance and the expanding utility of the Internet are rendering distinctions between real-space and Cyberspace less perceptible. Even so, Cyberspace still presents a remarkable number of novel legal questions involving how computer users carry out various transactions involving electronic commerce through the interconnection of computing and communications technologies. Today, lawyers are frequently challenged by legal problems having little relevant historical antecedent in our caselaw. Although the lack of reliable or pertinent precedent renders legal practice in this area difficult and, quite often, frustrating, the challenges are also exciting. In Cyberlaw, one cannot easily escape the feeling that despite the apparent absence of physical matter, Cyberspace is a bleeding edge of the law.
To some extent,
the desire to engage in commerce has become the primary reason many people
enter Cyberspace. The very nature of electronic commerce presents serious
challenges to the conventional wisdom regarding how business is supposed to
be done. Quite naturally, interesting legal questions arise. Thus, this course
will examine some of the novel questions facing us concerning the use of Cyberspace
as a tool of commerce. Topics discussed include: the use of electronic contract
formation, copyright protection of software, digital music transmissions,
and other electronic rights, the digital economy and law enforcement, educational
policy and distance learning programs, software sales and open source code
licensing, and workplace issues in Cyberspace. Participants
in the course will make fairly extensive use of Cyberspace as a basis for
class discussion, study, and research. Some of the class readings will be
available on the Internet. The course texts are Software and Internet Law
by Mark A. Lemley, Peter S. Menell, Robert P. Merges, and Pamela Samuelson,
and The Cathedral and the Bazaar by Eric S. Raymond
There will be one short presentation and a research paper required on an issue discussed in the course.
The course grade will be based on the student’s performance on a significant research paper and class participation, including a brief presentation:
1. Research Paper -- 70%. The Research Paper must be at least 20 pages.
Topics. The deadline for selection of paper topics is the third week in the semester.
First Drafts. On a date announced in class, a first draft of your paper is due. Shortly thereafter, I will offer comments and suggestions on the paper in preparation ofr the final draft.
Final Drafts. Completed papers are due on the date announced in class.
2. Class Participation -- 30%. In-class discussion is essential in this course.
An important part of class participation is includes coming to class prepared to discuss the readings, and completion of a Joint presentation. Joint presentation: at least two students will be assigned to work together to develop a joint project for presentation to the class. The presentation consists of two students leading a class discussion on a selected topic by presenting distinct or opposing viewpoints on the topic (To increase the likelihood that the presentation stimulates an interesting class discussion, each team should present viewpoints or positions that clash on relevant issue(s)). Teams, presentation topics, and dates of presentation will be assigned in the second week of class. Once assigned a team and a topic, students should submit a short statement noting the viewpoints that will be supported during the presentation. Each student should be prepared to present his or her view for ten minutes followed by a Q & A from the class. An outline should be distributed in class. Since joint topics are assigned, students are encouraged to select a different topic for the paper.
3. Attendance is required.
4. The course texts include the readings hyperlinked on this course web page, Software and Internet Law (S&I), and The Cathedral and the Bazaar (C &B).
5. This course provides an opportunity to those who are so inclined to become thoroughly familiar with using the Internet to locate legal resources. Hence, an is available here. For students who have mastered legal research techniques using the Internet, yopu are encouraged to submit helpful resources that may be added to the index.
The readings for each class meeting:
Week 1: Electronic Commerce and Software
If you have not done so already, spend some time exploring the web (surfing). Take notes on what websites you visit and list your favorite (or most frequently used) places on the Internet so we may discuss our Internet experiences during class. If your web browser does not have bookmarks, you may begin exploring the web from any of the links under "What are Cyberspaces?"
pp.1-39; 47-67;1063 of S & I;
NOTE: Before turning in your first draft, you should read: Eugene Volokh, Writing a Student Article, 48 J. Legal Educ. 247 (1998).
Weeks 2 - 3: Electronic Commerce and Copyright
RIAA v. NAPSTER, [pp. 1025-1057 of S & I.];
RIAA v. DIAMOND MULTIMEDIA SYSTEM, [p. 903 of S & I];
APPLE COMPUTER, INC., v. FRANKLIN COMPUTER CORP., [p. 99 of S & I];
COMPUTER ASSOCIATES INTERNATIONAL v. ALTAI, [p. 129 of S & I];
PLAYBOY ENTERPRISES, INC. v. WEBBOARD, [p. 859 of S & I];
RELIGIOUS TECHNOLOGY CENTER v. NETCOM ONLINE, [p. 872 of S & I];
Weeks 4 - 6: Software Licensing - the distribution
and development of software
COMMUNICATIONS GROUP v. WARNER COMMUNICATIONS, INC., p. 441;
MICROSOFT CORP. v. HARMONY COMPUTERS & ELECTRONICS, INC., p. 445;
PROCD, INC., v. ZEINDENBERG, p. 480;
HILL v. GATEWAY 2000, p. 480;
VAULT CORP., p. 517;
NATIONAL CAR RENTAL, p. 522;
Weeks 7 - 8: Open Source Software Distribution and Copyleft
S & I , p. 532;
C & B, pp. 1-78;
C & B, pp. 79-136;
C & B, pp. 137-194;
Weeks 9 - 10: Educational Policy & workplace
AYMES v. BONELLI, p. 534;
VIZCAINO v. MICROSOFT CORP., p. 85;
Week 11: Digital Economy I - Computer Crime
U.S. v. MORRIS, p. 971;
U.S. v. RIGGS, p. 979
Weeks 12 - 14: Digital Economy II - Information
Property, Trade Secrets & New Media
RIVENDELL FOREST PRODUCTS, p. 53;
DATA GENERAL, p. 62;
TASINI v. NEW YORK TIMES;
ATT v. CITY OF PORTLAND
1999, 2000, 2001 Rod