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This is essentially a survey course dealing with legal issues raised by the internet. One goal of this course is to introduce you to various substantive legal issues raised by the internet. Such issues include: regulation of speech, privacy, intellectual property, contracts, e-commerce, and governance. Another goal is to get you to approach these substantive issues from various perspectives: as a consumer, as a lawyer reprsenting a client, and as a policymaker.


There are two basic requirements for this class: (1) short weekly writing assignments (70%); and (2) in class participation (30%). There will be no final exam, nor will there be any large final paper.

Writing Assignments: The weekly writing assignments will consist of short papers (no longer than 3 pages, double-spaced with reasonable margins), responding to a specific question posed by me at the end of the previous week. You are to write the papers based on the readings for that week; no additional research will be required. The assignments will vary from week to week, sometimes requiring you to give me your opinion on a specific issue, sometimes requiring you to act as general counsel to an internet company, sometimes requiring you to act as a policymaker or judge. Approximately 70% of your total grade will be based on your average score for these papers, although I will drop (i.e. not count) your two lowest scores (or you may, alternatively, choose to skip two of the assignments during the course of the term). Assignments must be handed in at the beginning of the class at which they are due. There will be no exceptions to this deadline unless you first clear any delay with me (or unless truly exceptional circumstances prevent you from doing so).

Class Participation: I plan on conducting the class in a relatively open and unstructured fashion, posing questions and seeking responses generally from the students in class. Because much of the value of this course will derive from the discussions we will have in class, class participation will count for approximately 30% of the grade. The grade for participation will be based on quality of participation, not quantity. Thus, fewer thoughtful comments will receive a higher score than many less thoughtful ones. In addition, a consistent pattern of lack of preparation or unexplained absence from class will count against you.


The reading assignments for this course are all on-line and accessible through the main course page. If you prefer reading the assignments in print form, you can either print the assignments yourself, or you can check out a printed copy of the all of the required readings, which I will place on reserve in the library.


Probably the easiest way to contact me is by email, at If you have a short question or comment, feel free to email me or call me. However, I also encourage you to come talk to me at my office hours or by appointment. Feel free to swing by to chat about anything, whether related to the course, about intellectual property generally, about career-advice, or about nothing at all.


Updated: April 16, 2002
Maintained: Joseph P. Liu
2002 The Trustees of Boston College. Legal