Internet Law and E-Business

Teaching hours and credit allocation: 16 hours, 3 credits

The aim of this module is to examine the substantive law that relates to the internet by looking in detail at how effectively the existing laws regulate use of internet and to critically and comprehensively analyse the legal issues pertaining to e-commerce. This module will introduce students to the theoretical, technological and practical dimensions of internet technology within the political economy of the emerging legal architecture and provide an in-depth analysis and examination of the adequacy of the law in force to cope with the practical issues raised by e-commerce. In particular, this module will examine where there are gaps, conflicts and compliance issues within the current and developing legal framework on internet and e-commerce and to what extent the existing legal framework impacts on new and emerging technologies.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module, students are expected to be able to:

  • understand the nature and characteristics of the internet and associated technologies and how these impact on existing legal relationships, rights and concept
  • understand how the internet has revolutionised the transmission and distribution of information and how this affects the regulation of information flows
  • understand the principles relating to jurisdiction and enforcement in international law and how these are applied to the internet
  • learn to assess the significance of private forms of regulation (self-regulation, regulation by Code)
  • analyse the challenges for the law and how they should be overcome
  • analyse critically new technologies by assessing their impact on the law (e.g. how the peer-to-peer file sharing software and digital rights management rebalances the existing balance of rights between copyright holders and users of copyright-protected materials)
  • understand the multifarious and complex legal issues involved in setting up and running e-commerce and other information activities
  • explain how internet technology and the law impact on each other
  • criticise the legal framework for e-commerce (e.g. from a consumer protection viewpoint or a business compliance viewpoint)
  • analyse the jurisdictional issues raised by e-commerce
  • advise businesses engaging in e-commerce on their legal compliance and legal risk management

Content

  • Structure, technology and characteristics of the internet
  • Internet governance and regulation
  • Different forms of regulation, state and self-regulation
  • Jurisdiction issues
  • Intellectual property issues arising from the technology
  • Data protection
  • Location, authentication and identity issues
  • Cyber crime
  • Freedom of speech and regulation of illegal content
  • Consumer protection and trust issues
  • The liability of internet services providers
  • E-commerce business models
  • Practical legal issues on setting up an e-commerce business
  • Webvertising
  • Online contracting
  • Electronic payment
  • E-commerce and taxation
  • Business to business e-commerce
  • Business to Consumer e-commerce
  • Dispute resolution
  • Privacy, security and liability