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2013/14 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

LAW5332M Cyberspace Law: Contemporary Issues

15 creditsClass Size: 20

Module manager: Subhajit Basu

Taught: Semester 2 View Timetable

Year running 2013/14

Module replaces

LAW5333M Cyberlaw: Law and the Regulation of the Information Society

This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

The aim of this module is to critically and comprehensively analyse the legal issues pertaining to Cyberspace Law. The precise topics to be covered will change from year to year. Attention will be paid to emerging debates, policy issues and law reform proposals on issues such as the impact of digital technology on pornography, piracy, and defamation. In particular, this module will examine where there are gaps, conflicts and compliance issues within the current and developing legal framework related to Web 2.0, user generated content, mass personalisation and social networking.


This module will provide students with an in-depth look at a number of current issues in Cyberspace Law. It will begin by considering the debate about the nature of the influence of information technology upon the development of new legal doctrine through topics such as - pornography, piracy, content liability and defamation. Students will have an opportunity to consider how Cyberspace Law is challenged by these current issues and to analyse its responses and proposed responses. It will explore the fight for control over the environment of cyberspace and the way that it is shaping the policy debates.

Upon completion of the course it is anticipated that students should be able to:

- Critically evaluate on-going developments in law relating to Cyberspace
- Display an understanding of how these developments relate to one another.
- Examine areas of doctrinal and political debate surrounding rules and theories.
- Demonstrate an ability to evaluate and rank unfamiliar arguments in the light of established statute law, judicial decisions and authoritative legal commentary
- Encourage critical study of the law in context, and to develop analytical skills.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module the students will be expected to have a thorough understanding of the current legal and policy issues which are intimately connected with the Cyberspace Law.

Skills outcomes
- Draw on skills developed in the retrieval, collation, and presentation of information (communication)
- Draw on analytical skills developed in the comparative understanding of concepts (problem solving)
- Critically read and comparatively evaluate literature (learning to learn)


Lecture 1: Dark Side of Cyberspace: Pornography
This session will address the pornography debate over the Internet and the moral panic which has been witnessed in the mid-1990s in relation to the availability of pornography on the Internet. Apart from a comparative analysis of the legal issues within the UK and the USA, this session will also address international policy initiatives related to the protection of certain groups of people such as children from harmful Internet content.

Lecture 2: Content Liability: Violence, hate speech and offensive communications
This session will assess the possibilities of and challenges posed by the use of the Internet to propagate or to counter material of racist and hate in nature. Measures taken at the international and national levels as well as by the private sector to combat racist/hate Internet content will be discussed.

Lecture 3: Piracy
This session overviews the explosion in Peer to Peer technology, and looks at the key legal issues relating to piracy and other legal implications arising from the use of P2P Networks.

Lecture 4: Defamation in Web 2.0
This session explores the debate over the liability of the internet service provider in cases of defamation. It will look at the distinctive qualities of the nature of the medium which can give rise to defamation; it will outline the various positions in the debate over ISP’s liability and then look at past and recent cases which inform legal opinion on the legal position of the ISP.

Lecture 5: Domain Name Disputes and Cybersquatting
This session explores what has become known as the 'real estate' of the internet, namely the domain names that form the basis of internet life.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours136.00
Total Contact hours14.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

The students will be expected in assessed work to argue for their position rather than list detail, and the marking of assessed work will clearly reward good and well developed argument, hence they will be required to carry out independent research and develop their own critical thinking rather than agreeing to opinion biased towards particular views.

50 hours - 10 hours reading and reflection following each lecture.
50 hours - preparation for writing essay
36 hours - other study time

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

The module will be assessed through 1 X 4500 word essay.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Essay4500 words100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 28/05/2014


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