INFO 235 - LAW 276.1 Spring 2009 Syllabus

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University of California at Berkeley, Spring 2009
LAW 276.1 and INFO 235 Cyberlaw
Thursdays, 3:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. (3 units)
110 South Hall

Instructor: Brian W. Carver (bcarver at ischool dot berkeley dot edu)
207C South Hall

Office Hours: Thursdays 1:30-3:30 and by appointment

Course Website:

Grade and Attendance:

Final Paper: 60%
Wikipedia Project: 20%
Participation: 20%

Each student will be required to write a paper, due at the end of the term, of approximately 25-35 pages, on a topic related to those covered during the semester. Each student will also be required to submit an outline of their proposed final paper at least one month prior to the paper due date. The outline will not be separately graded . See schedule below for exact due dates.

I encourage you to discuss paper ideas with me. You may also gain some insight into choosing an appropriate topic or how to approach a seminar paper from the following:
Pam Samuelson, Good Legal Writing: of Orwell and Window Panes, 46 Univ. of Pittsburgh L. Rev. 149 (1984).
Heather Meeker, Stalking the Golden Topic: A Guide to Locating and Selecting Topics for Legal Research Papers, 1996 Utah L. Rev. 917 (1996).
Eugene Volokh, Extract from Academic Legal Writing: Law Review Articles, Student Notes, Seminar Papers, and Getting on Law Review, Foundation Press (2007).

Each student will also, alone or in a small group, identify a topic/case/statute/etc related to those covered during the semester and will edit or create its respective Wikipedia entry so as to improve Wikipedia's coverage of Cyberlaw topics. Topic proposals and, for group projects, an explanation of each group member's responsibilities will be submitted and approved in advance. This assignment will be due at approximately mid-term. See schedule below for exact due dates.

While weekly participation from all students is encouraged, each week a small group of students will be "on call" and bear primary responsibility for moving the discussion forward. Attendance is expected. If you need to miss all or a portion of a class, I will assume you have a good reason, so you need not detail it for me. If you like, you can simply send me an email letting me know you need to miss, but it is not necessary. If you need to miss a class for which you are on call, then you are responsible for trading days with someone.

Textbook: Lemley, Menell, Merges, & Samuelson, Software and Internet Law ("SAIL") (3d ed. 2006); additional readings available online. (This textbook is also used for INFO 237 IP Law for the Information Industries, to be offered Fall 2009).

Prerequisites: None; Students from all levels (graduate/undergraduate) and schools on campus are welcome. However, this is a graduate-level course, so interested undergraduates are encouraged to meet with me before enrolling (or before the drop deadline).

Course Description (from the Course Catalog): The emergence of global digital networks, such as the Internet, and digital technologies that enhance human abilities to access, store, manipulate, and transmit vast amounts of information has brought with it a host of new legal issues that lawyers preparing to practice in the 21st century will need to understand and address. Although many are trying to "map" existing legal concepts onto problems arising in cyberspace, it is becoming increasingly evident that this strategy sometimes doesn't work. In some cases, it is necessary to go back to first principles to understand how to accomplish the purposes of existing law in digital networked environments. The course will explore specific problems in applying law to cyberspace in areas such as intellectual property, privacy, content control, and the bounds of jurisdiction. Students with familiarity with the Internet and its resources or with backgrounds in some of the substantive fields explored in this course are especially welcome, but there are no formal prerequisites. Grades for the course will be based either on a series of short papers or on a supervised term paper.

Course Goals: We will survey internet and technology law. Students will, for the most part, be introduced to these topics through reading of judicial opinions, law review articles, in-class lectures, and discussions. Students will illustrate their understanding of the material through discussions, writing assignments, and the final paper.

Add/Drop Policy: The university has determined that the last day to drop without a "W" is Feb. 20.

Academic Honesty: U.C. Berkeley's Code of Student Conduct prohibits all forms of academic misconduct including but not limited to cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, or facilitating academic dishonesty. See Policy 102.01 at and It is my policy to pursue the discipline of such misconduct, including, but not limited to, the entering of a grade of F in the course and a notation (or equivalent) on the student's transcript of the reason for same.

Resources: Judges and professors use a lot of legal jargon. Here's a way to look it up.

Students with disabilities: Students with disabilities who may need accommodations for any sort of disability are invited to make an appointment to see me.

Special Thanks: to those who previously taught this course, Jason Schultz, Aaron Perzanowski, Fred von Lohmann, and Pamela Samuelson, upon whose work this syllabus is based.


(latest version always on the bSpace wiki)


January 15


January 22 Introduction

January 29 Personal Jurisdiction for Online Activities and International Jurisdiction

Optional Readings: MoreOnJurisdiction

February 5 Indecent Speech on the Internet

Optional Readings: MoreOnIndecentSpeech


Oral argument before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Satterfield v. Simon & Schuster, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 46325 (N.D. Cal. June 26, 2007). 9:00 a.m. in San Francisco.THE JAMES R. BROWNING COURTHOUSE95 7th Street San Francisco, CA 94103 The appellate briefs of each party are available in the Resources section of bSpace.

February 12 Immunity for Internet Intermediaries

Optional Readings: MoreOnIntermediaryImmunity

February 19 Liability for Posting Information Obtained by Others

Optional Readings: MoreOnPostingInfoObtainedByOthers

February 26 Copyright Liability for Internet Intermediaries

Optional Readings: MoreOnIntermediaryCopyrightLiability

March 5 Digital Rights Management

ROOM CHANGE: Meet in Room 202

Optional Readings: MoreOnDRM

March 6 (Optional)

BCLT Security Breach Notification Laws Symposium

March 12 Network Neutrality

Optional Readings: MoreOnNetNeutrality

March 19 Online Privacy

Optional Readings: MoreOnOnlinePrivacy


FTC Town Hall on DRM (in Seattle) and live webcast


April 2 Fourth Amendment as Applied to Online Privacy

Optional Readings: MoreOnFourthAmendmentOnline

April 9 PAPER OUTLINES DUE Criminal Hacking (The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act)

Optional Readings: MoreOnCFAA

April 16 Online Anonymous Speech and the First Amendment

Optional Readings: MoreOnOnlineAnonymousSpeech

April 23 Spam

Optional Readings: MoreOnSpam

April 30 Virtual Property

Optional Readings: MoreOnVirtualProperty

May 7 OPTIONAL for those enrolled in LAW 276.1 Free Software and Free Culture

Optional Readings: MoreOnFreeCulture

May 12 LAW 276.1 PAPERS DUE