SIE 525: Lectures and Assignments

SIE 525 Information Systems Law

I. Texts and Online Resources
II. Articles and Supplementary Materials
III. Schedule of Lectures and Assignments
IV. Class Process, Delivery of Assignments and Grading
V. A through Z Detailed Module Assignments

Course Overview
Book Review Instructions
Book List
Selected Web Readings
Selected Law Course Videos
Course Material Backups
Term Paper Instructions (not used this semester)

I. Texts and Online Resources

You will read selected chapters out of several texts and online resources for this course. The first two resources that follow are openly available on the web. You should purchase the third resource, the Grimmelmann book, and any others in which you may be interested.  However, most of the additional required reading materials listed for the course are openly available online.

Resource 1. BITLAW Readings (free) focusing on Intellectual Property
This material provides a primer covering basic cyberlaw issues from traditional or conventional legal perspectives. The material is drawn from primarily BitLaw (created by Daniel A. Tysver (, Wikipedia, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Find links to the Bitlaw readings at Selected Web Readings. Read all the material under all of the numbered topics when they appear in the schedule and assignment table in Section III below.

Resource 2: Law Shelf Video Courses (free) introducing Foundational Legal Topics
This is an online resource for self-learning by paralegals. These videos and their transcripts cover many of the topics addressed in the first year courses in law schools. Rather than a midterm in this course, you will be completing a series of quizzes and “final exams” affiliated with these units. Find links to the Law Shelf videos and the due dates for completing selected badges at Selected LawShelf Videos. The dates on which the foundation materials in the videos are likely to be addressed in class lectures and discussions are listed in the schedule and assignment table in Section III below.

Resource 3 (Textbook): Internet Law: Cases and Problems
James Grimmelmann (2021 version – download the pdf Eleventh Edition version for the $30 suggested price at Note: Page numbers in the syllabus refer to this edition so please acquire the latest edition to avoid confusion.

Free legal textbooks for further reference are listed in Section 1 of the Booklist. Books in other sections of the list may be readily purchased online in digital or paper form.

II. Further Articles and Supplementary Materials Used in the Course

Further journal and news articles are (or will be) listed in the schedule below and linked. If links are not working, the material should also eventually be contained in the Course Material Backups.

III. Approximate Schedule of Lectures and Assignments 

Please note in the table that follows, that the BitLaw and LawShelf assignments, cover the law as it exists or is currently interpreted. Under the Additional Assignments column and under the Module A through Z assignments we may often address how and why policies and the law might be improved.

The assignments at Selected Law Course Videos must be completed by the stated deadlines in addition to the A through Z module assignments listed below.

Videos for class sessions will become available through the course Brightspace site under Course Resources > Class Videos.

In the following table you should not download any slides until right before the live class is held. Many may be updated right before the scheduled lecture.


Wk Day Date
BitLaw Link Assignments
Law Shelf Video Assignments Additional Assignments Module
 1 Tu Jan 18 Introductory Materials  [1SlidesInro]

Th Jan 20 (continued)  
Grimmelmann: Intro (pp.11-16) & Chap 1 Module A
2 Tu Jan 25
Liability [2SlidesLiability]
Topics 42 & 45 Intntnl & Neglg Torts Modules 1, 3, 4 Liability in Use of GIS Module B
Th Jan 27 (continued) Product Liability Modules 1-5
Vicarious Liability Modules, 1, 2, 5
Module C
3  Tu Feb 1
Intellectual Property Basics [3SlidesCopyright] Bitlaw

Topics 1-8

Acquiring Copyright Protection Modules 1-5 Grimmelmann: 411-431 plus optional 431-499 Module D
Th Feb 3
Copyright (cont’d) & Licenses

Topics 9-11

Copyright Enforcement and Defenses Modules 1-5 Module E
4  Tu Feb 8
Patents [4SlidesPatents] Topics 14-20
Module F
Th Feb 10
Topics 21-23
Module G
5  Tu Feb 15
Trademarks [5SlidesTrademarks] Topics 28-36 and 43 Trademarks Modules 1-5 Grimmelmann: optional Chapter 6 Module H
Th Feb 17
Trade Secret [6SlidesTradeSecret] Topics 46-48 Module I
6  Tu Feb 22 Website Development Issues [7WebSiteLegalIssues]

Topics 40, 41, and 44

Module J
Th Feb 24
American Court System and Evidence [8SlidesEvidence] Basics of Civil Litigation Module 1, plus Evidence – Sec 1, Sec 2, Sec 3, Sec 4 Optional: Evidence from GIS, Evidence, Modules 1-6 Module K
7  Tu Mar 1
Jurisdiction and the Internet [9SlidesJurisdiction]
Cyberlaw, Module 1; Jurisdiction and Venue Review, Civil Litigtn > Jurisdiction  (all short videos) Grimmelmann: Ch 2, pp. 55-79 Module L
Th Mar 3
Jurisdiction and the Internet [10SlidesJurisdiction]
Jurisdiction and Venue Review, Civil Litigtn > Venue, the Erie Doctrine  (all short videos) Grimmelmann: Ch 2, pp. 92-120 Module M
 8  Tu Mar 8
Contracts 11SlidesContracts]

Basics of Contract Law, Modules 1-5; E-Commerce Regultn Module 1 Grimmelmann: Ch 5, pp. 335, 342-350 Module N
Th Mar 10
Controlling Private Power: Antitrust and Network Neutrality 12SlidesAntitrust]
Grimmelmann: Ch 9, pp. 645-647, 662- 663, 666-686
Module O

Spring Break (none)
 9 Tu Mar 22
Free Speech [12SlidesFreeSpeech Freedom of Speech, Modules 1-5 ACLU Position Paper; Optionl: Grimmelman Ch. 3, pp. 121-134 Module P
Th Mar 24
Free Speech


E-Commerce Regulation, Module 3 View The Corporation, Optional: See The Great Free-Speech Reversal Module Q
 10  Tu Mar 29 The Torts of Invasion of Privacy Tort Law: The Rules of Defamation Module R
Th Mar 31
Book Group Book Group Recording Session Module S
 11  Tu Apr 5
Book Group Book Group Synopsis Writing Session Module S
Th Apr 7


E-Commerce Regulation, Module 2 Grimmelmann: Ch 4, pp. 223-252, 320-334 Module T
12  Tu Apr 12
Privacy [13cSlidesPrivacy] Being Human in an Algorthmclly Cntrld World Module U
  Th Apr 14
Access to Gov’t Information: FOIA & National Government  [15SlidesFOIA] [SlidesBorders] [READING DAY – no synchronous session]   Current Legis. Articles on history & reporters committeeWeiss summary  Module V
13 Tu Apr 19
Taxation in E-Commerce and Financial Transactions


E-Commerce Regulation, Modules 3, 4, 5 Grimmelmann: Ch 10 713-731 & 762-774 Module W
  Th Apr 21
Open Access Licenses
 [Video Primer on CC Licenses]
Grimmelmann: Ch 7 pp. 444-467; Open Access to Research Data, pp.1-21
Module X
14  Tu Apr 26
Open Access to Research Data [19SlidesDatabase]
Research Data Continued; pp.21-31, 37-41
Module Y
  Th Apr 28
Review [20PretestResults]  
 15   May 2
Final Exam Week
Final Exam: Tues May 3,  8-10am

IV. Class Process and Assignments

1. Attend Scheduled Live Class Sessions and Online Office Hours in Zoom: Please note that if you join a class session or discussion session early the recording of the session starts when the first person joins and all pre-class discussions end up in the posted recording. Typically the easiest way to join a class Zoom session is to click the Zoom link within the class folder on Brightspace.

Zoom Details if Needed
Type in your real name when joining the Zoom conference and please activate your camera.
Join from Web (PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android): (Password: wicked)
Join using Telephone:
Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
US: +1 646 876 9923 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 312 626 6799
Meeting ID: 817 8567 2926

2. Post Your Regular Module Responses in Brightspace: Each module assignment listed below requires each student to respond to all of the questions posed and post the responses in the Brightspace folder by the day and time indicated. That is, posting is required by both on-campus and online students prior to the on-campus class period in which the material will be discussed. See item D under the Overview for the Delivery of Module Assignments to Brightspace.

Be concise yet thoughtful and use complete sentences. In some instances a several paragraph response to a question may be appropriate. In other instances, a hundred-words question response may be adequate. You will be able to see the accumulated responses from all students on the morning of the days when we meet.

2. LawShelf Badge Assignment: You must complete LawShelf Badges as set forth under Section C of the Overview and according to the schedule set forth at Selected Law Course Videos.

3. Group Book Review Assignment: See the Book Review Instructions and Booklist. The Book Group assignment will draw on selected books from Sections II through IV in the Booklist. See Module S in the listing below.

V. Module Assignments

Module A – Introduction
The critical questions are:
A-1 After reviewing the syllabus and considering your own career aspirations, which information systems law issue do you think is most critical for you to understand thoroughly by the end of the course?
Due in BrightSpace: before 11:59 pm on Jan 19. After the deadline, you will at some point be able to read the submissions by other students to help facilitate in-class and out-of-class discussions.

Module B – Liability
Assignment: Read Liability in Use of GIS
The critical questions are:
B-1 Considering the article on Liability in the Use of GIS, how can you best minimize your liability exposure in the future in your delivery of information software, products and services to others?
B-2 Under what circumstances should you be held responsible for damages to others if they are led astray by inaccurate or incomplete digital information that you provided to guide them along hikes using their smart phone?
B-3 Raise and reflect on one or more questions or issues related to the liability material from the Bitlaw reading assignment.
Due in BrightSpace: before 11:59 pm on Jan 24. (i.e. before the in-class discussion)

Module C – Liability
Reading Assignment:
Read or view Product Liability Modules 1-5 and Vicarious Liability Modules, 1, 2, 5
The critical questions are:
C-1. In the context of self-driving autonomous automobiles intended for use with no human behind the wheel, provide an example of a manufacturing defect that might cause two autonomous vehicles to collide with each other. Provide an example of a design defect that might cause such a collision. Should manufacturers and suppliers bear the cost of damages for such defects? Why or why not? Does the fact that such accidents will inevitably occur demand that the products should never reach the marketplace in the first place? Explain your reasoning.
C-2. Are warnings to consumers about the potential risks of autonomous vehicles necessary? If provided, will such warnings lessen the liability for manufacturers and others in the supply chain when accidents among autonomous vehicles occur? Please explain why.
C-3. In your opinion, what should be the standard for liability that should be enforced against fully autonomous vehicle manufacturers and why? In addition, to what extent should the crashworthiness doctrine apply? Should state laws and regulation be preempted in favor of federal standards for liability for autonomous vehicles and why?
C-4. Provide an example when a product sold through E-Bay ( likely carries an implied warranty of merchantability and explain why it does. Provide an example when a product sold through E-Bay ( likely carries an implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose and explain why it does.
Due in BrightSpace: before 11:59 pm on Jan 26

Module D – Intellectual Property Basics
Reading Assignment:
(a) Grimmelman: Copyright Chap 7, pp. 411-431 plus optional 431-499
(b) Bitlaw Topics 1-8 OR Lawshelf Acquiring Copyright Protection Modules 1-5
The critical questions are:
D-1 In the beginning pages of the Grimmelman reading (pp. 411-431), discuss one or more things you learned or thought was interesting.
D-2 Discuss one or more additional things about Copyright you learned or thought was interesting  from Bitlaw Topics 1-3 (or from LawShelf Modules 1-2)?
D-3 Discuss one or more additional things about Copyright you learned or thought was interesting  from Bitlaw Topics 4-5 (or from LawShelf Modules 3-4)?
D-4 Discuss one or more additional things about Copyright you learned or thought was interesting  from Bitlaw Topics 6-8 (or from LawShelf Module 5)?
Due in BrightSpace: before 11:59 pm on Jan 31

Extras: Another primer on just U.S. copyright is at An older video primer is at If you desire to compare and contrast some intellectual property law basics from other countries, see Australia and Canada Popular Videos Critiquing Aspects of U.S. Copyright Law include – Copyright: Forever Plus One Day and Copyright Explained in Five Minutes or Less and …. many others.

Module E – Copyright
Reading Assignment:
(a) Bitlaw Topics 9-11 OR Lawshelf Copyright Enforcement and Defenses Modules 1-5
The critical questions are:
E-1 What ownership assumptions should one make when copying material off of the Internet? Do the assumptions of the law comport with what you think are efficient for the economy and the well being of society generally?
E-2 U.S. Fair Use Law: Numerous graphics and photos were used in the open access licensed comic book book titled Bound by Law? by Aoki, Boyle and Jenkins found at This material was used without asking permission of authors or publishers of the original works. Is this legal? Why? Is this ethical? Why?
E-3 For one attempt by a community to define “fair use” in relation to classes of media, see Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use at Are such community attempts at setting standards likely to be considered seriously by the courts?
E-4 Read the Take Down notice example at Does this seem like a reasonable procedure? Why is the recording industry trying to legislate something stronger?
Due in BrightSpace: before 11:59 pm on Feb 2

Module F – Patents 1
Reading Assignment:
BitLaw Topics 14-20
The critical questions are:
F-1 List the four major requirements that make an invention patentable and briefly describe each requirement.
F-2 List the five most important parts in a patent application and briefly describe each.
F-3 What are the rights granted under a patent?
Due in BrightSpace: before 11:59 pm on Feb 7

Module G – Patents 2
Reading Assignment:
BitLaw Topics 21-23
The critical questions are:
G-1 Can the functional design of an innovative new mousetrap be protected though a design patent? Why? Where are design patents most likely to arise in the information technology industry?
G-2 If you wanted to file for a patent for a novel invention in the US and in several additional nations, what are considerations you might want to address in the timing of those applications? Consult Applying for protection under international patent laws
G-3 Under what conditions is software patentable in the US? Many countries reject the patentability of software. From your perspective should software be patentable? Why and under what circumstances? Consult Discussions on Software Patents
Due in BrightSpace: before 11:59 pm on Feb 9

Module H – Trademarks
Reading Assignment:
Bitlaw Topics 28-36 and 43 OR LawShelf Trademarks Modules 1-5
The critical questions are:
H-1 Strength of Trademarks: Discuss the strength of the term Burger King in its use for identifying a fast food restaurant chain. Was this a good choice for naming the restaurant chain?
H-2 Searching: Make up a name for augmented reality eye glasses that your company has just developed and wants to trademark. How would you determine if another company might already use the name for eye wear or headgear and thereby possesses a common law trademark potentially affecting or causing potential confusion with your product?
H-3 Federal Registration: Name the three benefits of federal trademark registration that you believe would be the most important for your innovative augmented reality glasses.
H-4 Infringement/Dilution: I advertise my apples from my orchard as “the best tasting apples in the world” and “genetically engineered for long shelf life, resistance to cold, heat and insect damage, perfect texture, and the best tasting apple you will ever eat.” I protect the genetic makeup of my apples by trade secret rather than patent. If I have a federally registered trademark in the name of Dursno for my apple orchard business and I have now been selling the apples for ten years to regional grocery store chains along the entire East coast, what would be the strength of my direct trademark infringement case against Apple Computers if that company started selling a new line of Dursno computers? What would be the strength of my case for trademark dilution? I claim that while such a practice may be fine for MacIntosh (McIntosh) Apple computers, it is not fine for Dursno Apple computers.
Due in BrightSpace: before 11:59 pm on Feb 14

Module I – Trade Secrets
Reading Assignment:
Topics 46-48
The critical questions are:
I-1 Name the three factors included in most definitions of a trade secret
I-2 What are the primary benefits of protection through trade secret as opposed to copyright or patent? How would you go about securing the protection?
I-3 What are primary drawbacks or limitations of protection through trade secret as opposed to copyright or patent?
I-4 Read the summary discussion about the Uniform Trade Secrets Act  on Wikipedia. What is its primary goal and in how many states has it been enacted? Does this mean that Trade Secret law is as a result now defined in these states primarily through precedents established by the federal courts rather than state courts?
Due in BrightSpace: before 11:59 pm on Feb 16

Module J – Web Site Legal Issues
Assignment: Bitlaw Topics 40, 41, and 44
The critical questions are:
J-1 What are the five major categories of legal concerns, as listed by the author, that arise when developing a website ? Without being familiar with this material, which legal constraints or concerns might persons most likely  breach unknowingly when developing their own website?
J-2 Assuming that you are involved in a dispute over a domain name whereby another U.S. company is trying to force your small firm to give up a domain name, would you rather have the dispute resolved through the U.S. court system or through ICANN’s Uniform Domain Dispute Resolution Policy and why?
Due in BrightSpace: before 11:59 pm on Feb 21

Module K – American Court System and Evidence
Assignment:  Basics of Civil Litigation Module 1; Evidence – Sec 1, Sec 2, Sec 3, Sec 4, Sec 6. Optional: Evidence from GIS
The critical questions are:
K-1 The Basics of Civil Litigation Module 1 provides a very brief overview of subject matter jurisdiction, personal jurisdiction, and choice of law for a dispute. List one issue that remains confusing or a question you still have after reading this section.
K-2 In attempting to get spreadsheets of monthly payrolls from your firm admitted into evidence in court,  you admit that you did not write the software, input the data, establish the formulas used in all the spreadsheets, nor process the data. How might you yet get over the hurdle of having the material rejected as hearsay evidence?
K-3 In designing a system for automatically collecting physical data (e.g. web streaming from sensors) and/or data contributed by human operators, how would you best ensure that the data in the system at any time would be admissible in a court of law in terms of being authentic? That is, how might you best design the system to ensure that at any particular time the data in the system reflects the status of the system at that time and the content has not been altered by falsification or fabrication after a dispute arose?
Due in BrightSpace: before 11:59 pm on Feb 23
Further Assignment: Sign up for a Book Group immediately if you have not already done so. See the Module S Assignment for details.

Module L – Jurisdiction 1
Assignment: Grimmelmann: Ch 2, Section A. Cyberspace pp. 55-71, Ch. 2 Section B Jurisdictional Conflicts pp. 72-80, Cyberlaw, Module 1; Jurisdiction and Venue Review, Civil Litigtn > Jurisdiction  (all short videos)
The critical questions are:
L-1 Under Grimmelmann Ch 2, Section A, read pages 55-62. Then read and assess one of the three cases that follow. That is, Mary Anne Franks, Unwilling Avatars (involves harassment, threats, and abuse), State vs. Decker (involves sexual misconduct with a minor) or Robles vs. Domino’s Pizza, LLC. Respond to the three questions at the end of your selected reading (or the first three if there are more than three). Note: Begin your response with the title of the piece and then respond to the three questions. (Response is worth 10 points rather than 7)
L-2 Under Grimmelmann Ch 2, Section B Jurisdictional Conflicts pp. 72-80, respond to the first three questions after Jack Goldsmith and Timothy Wu, Digital Borders. (Response is worth 10 points rather than 7)
L-3 Under the Jurisdiction readings/videos at Jurisdiction and Venue Review, relate an insight from this material that caught your interest or or that challenged you in this section.
Due in BrightSpace: before 11:59 pm on Feb 28
Further Assignment: Sign up for a Book Group immediately if you have not already done so. See the Module S Assignment for details.

Module M – Jurisdiction 2
Assignment: Grimmelmann: Ch 2, Section C. American Law, pp. 92-106 and pp. 111-120. Jurisdiction and Venue Review, Civil Litigtn > Venue, the Erie Doctrine  (all short videos)
The critical questions are:
M-1. Under Grimmelmann, Ch 2, reply to questions 1, 2 and 3 starting on page 98. (Response is worth 10 points rather than 7)
M-2. In the Grimmelmann material on pages 111-120 which addresses Commerce Clause issues, reflect on one or more issues that you found of interest or that challenged you in this section.
M-3 Under the Venue, Erie Doctrine readings/videos at Jurisdiction and Venue Review, relate an insight from this material that caught your interest or that challenged you in this section.
Due in BrightSpace: before 11:59 pm on March 2

Module N – Contracts and Access to Computers
Basics of Contract Law, Modules 1-5; E-Commerce Regultn Module 1; Grimmelmann: Ch 5, pp. 335, 342 -350
The critical questions are:
N-1. (Reference: Basics of Contact Law, Modules 1-5)
You are a member of a local book club and you also sell used books. You send an email to the book club membership that lists 25 hard-copy books for which you have five or more copies of each. For each book you list the title of the book, number of copies available, and a low and high price range for the copies that are available. One of the book club members replies back by email that he will purchase all six copies of Gone with the Wind that you state you have available and will purchase each and all at the highest price you have listed. Has both an offer and acceptance sufficient to constitute mutual assent and an enforceable contract been achieved? Why or why not?
N-2. (Reference: E-Commerce Regulation, Module 1: Contracts and Transactions in E-Commerce)
Many online agreements with consumers qualify as “contracts of adhesion.” What does this mean? Explain the differences between clickwrap, scrollwrap, and browsewrap agreements and the conditions under which each is or is not enforceable as a binding agreement.
N-3. Answer either (a) or (b) below:
a. (Reference: Grimmelmann, Smurfberry Problem, pp 350)
In assessing the Smurfberry Problem, Lois Griffin affirmatively clicked “I agree” to the contract language. You represent Lois and need to develop arguments that she should NOT be held legally accountable for the expenses incurred. On what legal basis might she be able to avoid the contract?
b. (Reference: Grimmelmann, Meyer v. Uber Technologies Inc., pp 342-346)
How much work and clarity is being accomplished through the distinction between “clickwrap” and “browsewrap” in these two cases? If you or the judges rewrote the opinions without the use of either term would the results be clearer?
Due in BrightSpace: before 11:59 pm on March 7

Module O – Controlling Private Power
Assignment: Grimmelmann: Ch 9, pp. 645-647, 662-663 Google Maps, 662 Net Neutrality, 666-686
The critical questions are:
O-1 Antitrust: pp. 645-647 Answer question 1 about Algorithmic Collusion on page 646.
O-2 Antitrust: pp. 662-663 What is the basis for or what are the potential arguments that Google is violating Section 2 of the Sherman Act? What are the arguments that it is not violating the Act?
O-3 Net Neutrality (p. 662):  A formal statement of the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) in 2015 on Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet (pp.674-679) is critiqued by a dissenting Commissioner Ajit Pai (pp. 680-684). Pages 684 and 685 reflect on the current status of Net Neutrality.  Which arguments are more convincing to you and why?
O-4 Antitrust: When artificial intelligence (AI) is used to recognize pricing patterns and then continually and persistently adjusts all its prices in order to maximize profits against all other competitors on the Internet (e.g. Amazon), should the company be held violative of anti-trust law under the circumstance where the AI recognizes and pursues patterns of predatory pricing in order to purposefully force hundreds of thousands of other sellers in various sectors out of business (e.g. bookstores, shoe stores, etc)? Even if pricing remains very low? Even if the company software engineers can no longer determine how the algorithms are operating and don’t know for certain that the algorithm is using predatory practices? What if the cost to society is the loss of millions of jobs and large portions of the population can no longer purchase many goods and services? (Simply reflect …. you won’t find an answer in the assigned reading).
Due in BrightSpace: before 11:59 pm on March 9

Module P – Free Speech
Assignment: Freedom of Speech, Modules 1-5;  ACLU Position Paper, Optional: Grimmelman: Ch. 3, pp. 121-134
The critical questions are:
P-1 Relative to Freedom of Speech Module 1 (or from the ACLU Position paper), list at least two key ideas or points relative to free speech that you think are important for maintaining in the digital Internet environment.
P-2 Relative to Freedom of Speech Module 2 (or from the ACLU Position paper), why is hate speech constitutionally protected in the U.S.? Should it be?
P-3 Relative to Freedom of Speech Module 3, discuss one example of unprotected speech and explain why it is not protected.
P-4 Relative to Freedom of the Press (Module 5), why is this right so strong? To what extent does it extend to protecting confidential sources? No one who has merely received classified information and distributed it, such as a news organization, has been successfully prosecuted under the U.S. Espionage Act of 1917. Why not? Why hasn’t new legislation been enacted to make it easier to close down operations like Wikileaks?
Due in BrightSpace: before 11:59 pm on March 21

Module Q – Free Speech
Assignment: E-Commerce Regulation, Module 3, View The Corporation (2 hr 24 min documentary on YouTube – skip commercials as needed, movie transcript). Additionally, see The Great Free-Speech Reversal.
The critical questions are:
Q-1 E-Commerce Regs Module 3: If we allow great deference to free speech on the Internet, what are the best means for controlling bad behavior (e.g. spam, obscene material, defamation, scams)? If banning hate speech is not allowed by the Constitution, why isn’t the banning of spam also not allowed?
Q-2 What are the arguments for interpreting the bill of rights and the 14th Amendment such that corporations are persons and therefore should be able to take advantage of constitutional free speech rights just like any other person? What are the arguments against?
Q-3 List three of the most poignant points made by CEOs, economists, legal scholars or government officials in the movie. Identify who made each comment, and state why you believe each of your highlighted statements is important, intriguing, justifiable, or readily challengeable.
Due in BrightSpace: before 11:59 pm on March 23


Module R – Personal Information Privacy
Assignment: The Torts of Invasion of Privacy, Tort Law: The Rules of Defamation
Facts: Your “best friend” and housemate takes a photo of you and later places it on their non-commercial website and on their Facebook page without your permission. They refuse to take down the photo and its caption since it has generated lots of traffic and comments over the past several weeks. Your friend generates ad revenue from hits on their web site. Assume that you are not a public figure. Assume also that the photo shows you half-dressed lying on a bed with crumpled sheets with a seemingly inebriated expression on your face surrounded by empty liquor bottles and empty beer cans with the photo caption of “<InsertHereYourFullName> after yet another night of debauchery. Yoohoo!!” You claim the photo was a setup with incriminating items placed in the background just before you were startled awake by your housemate one morning when the photo was snapped. The photo is so funny to people who know you well because you only drink occasionally, never to excess, and are viewed as very prudish. You thought the photo was funny at first until it was publicly posted.
The critical questions are:
R-1 For each of the four tort classic categories under invasion of privacy, what would you need to argue to prevail in winning your invasion of privacy law suit? Under which of the four approaches, if any, would you most likely be able to prevail and why?
R-2 What are the elements you would need to meet in prevailing in a defamation case and how would you argue each element? Would you be likely to prevail in meeting all elements? Would you likely be able to overcome any defense by the defendant?
Due in BrightSpace: before 11:59 pm on March 28

Module S Book Assignment Interlude
1. On or before Monday Feb 28, investigate the assigned limited selection of books for this assignment. The Brightspace discussion for this assignment will become “unhidden” at 5:00 pm on Feb 15 for sign up. The attached bibliography to an email to you on or before Feb 15 provides summaries of each of the books as well as many others. Over a dozen recent books (2018-2021) are offered from among which you may choose.
2. In Brightspace under Assignments > Discussion > Book Group Title Selection > post your last name under the title of the book you would most like to read, discuss, and report about.  If you tend to be more politically liberal, you may learn more by selecting a book presenting or exploring conservative legal and political perspectives. If you tend to be more politically conservative, perhaps join a group that will report on a book presenting or exploring liberal legal and political perspectives. No more than 3 students may sign up for each book discussion group and no less than 3 may be in any group.  Do NOT join a group that already has three reviewers.
3. At the deadline of February 28, the instructor will add or shift a few names to ensure that all groups have at least 3 and not more than 4 participants. The names in each group will be listed under this module in the table below.
4. As soon as feasible or after the deadline, order or otherwise acquire the book. Read it before your book group discussion. At an agreed upon time, meet on Zoom to discuss the book. This session should last for at least a half hour and no more than an hour. All book group members must participate. The session must be recorded and the link for the recording made available to the instructor. Preferably, post a link to the video under the Discussion topic for your book in Brightspace. Unless you want to do it earlier, you may record your session on March 31 when no class session will be held.
5. After the session, jointly prepare a minimum 2500 word synopsis of the book and your reactions (i.e. about 5 pages minimum). The synopsis should cover key points made by the author but also your own perspectives on issues raised. You should particularly reflect on the role of information technologies in contributing to or lessening societal challenges and conflicts as raised in the book. The synopsis may be longer at your discretion, particularly if members of your team have contrasting or complementary perspectives. At the end of your synopsis let others know whether this book is worth reading from your group perspective. There will be no class session on April 5 so finalize the synopsis on or about this date and submit it under the Module S assignment submission on or before April 10. Only one team member need submit the report. All members of the group receive the same grade on the written submission assuming all participated.
6. We will have a member of each of the groups present a five-minute synopsis and reflections about the book to the rest of the class. This will be done during the regular class time on April 12 if one or more members are able to attend online or in person. For groups unable to attend that session, we will arrange the remaining presentations for  an evening session. These sessions will be recorded for posting so everyone gains the benefits of the review reports.
Due in BrightSpace: before 11:59 pm on April 10

Sample Books from a Previous Class ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Module S

First Person Second Person Third Person Possible Fourth  Person assigned by instructor  



1 Sandworm: A New Era of Cyberwar and the Hunt for the Kremlin’s Most Dangerous Hackers (2020) by Andy Greenberg Evans Keable Cherry
2 The Hacker and the State: Cyber Attacks and the New Normal of Geopolitics (2020) by Ben Buchanan Hines Hadley Langan
3 The Hype Machine: How Social Media Disrupts Our Elections, Our Economy, and Our Health – and How We Must Adapt (2020) by Sinan Aral Fagan Reza Gredin
4 The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It (2020) by Robert B. Reich Wilhelm Visker Vass
5 On Corruption in America: And What Is at Stake (2020) by Sarah Chayes Lower. Garcia Budzinski
6 Profiles in Corruption: Abuse of Power by America’s Progressive Elite (2020) by Peter Schweizer Desai Zhang Blaine
7 The Future Is Faster Than You Think: How Converging Technologies Are Disrupting Business, Industries, and Our Lives (2020) by Peter H. Diamandis, Steven Kotler Dwyer Wright Ryckman
8 The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity (2019) by Amy Web Ashe Royal Henry
9 A Human Algorithm: How Artificial Intelligence is Redefining Who We Are (2019) by Flynn Coleman King Pacholski Baker
10 We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights (2018) by Adam Winkler Engstrom Lolar Chamberlain
11 Click Here to Kill Everybody: Security and Survival in a Hyper-connected World (2018) by Bruce Schneier Schnorr Paul Waugh
12 Hello World: Being Human in the Age of Algorithms (New York, 2018) by Hannah Fry Marks Kedrowski Kimball
13 These Truths: A History of the United States (2018) by Jill Lepore Tata Ntifu Walker
We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights (2018) by Adam Winkler xxx xxx xxx
14 The Future of Work: Robots, AI, and Automation (2018) by Darrell M. West Casidy Ward Walp

Module T – Privacy Legislation
Assignment: E-Commerce Regulation, Module 2, Grimmelmann: Ch 4, pp. 223-252, 320-334
The critical questions are:
T-1 Is U.S. federal law sufficient currently to protect your online personal information privacy at the level you would like to have it protected? Why or why not?
T-2 More stringent electronic privacy protections such as enacted by California (i.e. California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (AB 375)) and and the European Union (i.e. European General Data Protection Regulation of 2018 (GDPR)) are helping to protect your online privacy rights in Maine. Please explain why. Do you believe these protections are sufficient and why?
T-3 The U.S. protects privacy through a patchwork of “sectoral” federal and state laws. Among these include:

  • Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. sec 552a)
  • Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. sec. 41-58)( FTC Act),
  • Financial Services Modernization Act (Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLB)) (15 U.S.C. sec 6801-6827)
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) (42 U.S.C. sec 1301) along with (45 C.F.R. Parts 160, 162,  and 164)
  • Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. sec 1681) and the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (Pub. L. No. 108-159)
  • Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (CAN-SPAM Act) (15 U.S/C. sec 7701-7713 and 18 U.S.C. sec 1037)
  • Electronic Communications Privacy Act (18 U.S.C. sec 2510)
  • Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (18 U.S.C. sec 1030)
  • Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)
  • California Consumer Privacy Act (AB 375) enacted July 28, 2018

Although there are many more, select one of the above laws and explore it on the web. List the title of the law selected and then list and answer any five out of the following fifteen questions for the selected law.

1. What is the purpose of this law? 2. To whom does the law apply? 3. What data is regulated? 4.  What actions or practices are regulated? 5. What is the jurisdictional scope of the law? 6. What are the main exemptions, if any? 7. Is notification or registration required before processing data? 8. What are the main obligations imposed on data controllers to ensure data is processed properly? 9. Is the consent of data subjects required before processing personal data? 10. If consent is not given, on what other grounds (if any) can processing be justified? 11. What information should be supplied to data subjects at the point of collection of the personal data? 12. Do data subjects have the right to request the deletion of their data? 13. What security requirements are imposed in relation to personal data? 14. Is there a requirement to notify personal data security breaches to data subjects or to a national regulator? 15. What rules regulate the transfer of data outside the jurisdiction?

T-4 Each nation in the European Union has been required to pass national laws that conform to the General Data Protection Regulation. (See Grimmelmann: Ch 4, pp. 320-334). Provide three key reflections on how the European approach to privacy of personal data compares to that of the U.S.
Due in BrightSpace: before 11:59 pm on April 6.

Module U – Personal Information Privacy
Assignment: Being Human in an Algorithmically Controlled World
The critical questions are:
U-1 Artificial intelligence (AI) offers the promise of phenomenal break throughs in science and medicine. It is even at the foundations of whole new fields of interdisciplinary and convergency research where deep data analysis and pattern seeking to solve complex science problems focusing on societal needs is becoming possible across and among previously disparate science domains. Further, many applications of AI such as improving the forecasting of weather, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions, better modeling the effects of humans on the environment, improved identification and treatment of diseases, better predictions of the effects of adaptations that could slow down global warming, and similar applications involve few or no individual privacy invasive practices.  Are the authors of the article too critical in the sense that the benefits of development of AI along its current trajectories probably far outweigh any potential drawbacks to humankind? Justify your response.
U-2 Provide a reflection on an issue, challenge, or perspective raised in the article that you found interesting, surprising or concerning. What in particular about this issue makes it of particular interest or concern?
Due in BrightSpace: before 11:59 pm on April 11.

Module V – FOIA and Access to Federal Government Public Records
Assignment: Current FOIA Legis. Articles on history, reporters committee and wiki, news outlet value, & Weiss summary
The critical questions are:
V-1 What is the intended purpose or purposes of the U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)? Who benefits from FOIA? Are such purposes of greater or lesser importance in the world of the internet? Explain your response.
V-2 Of the nine narrowly drawn exceptions to FOIA, list two that you think are of the least importance. Why do you think each of these was included as being important enough to be included as an exception and thus this type of information is not released to the general public for inspection or copying?
V-3 Would you guess that journalists, industry, or private citizens are the greatest users of FOIA to request public records from the federal government? Why? Take a guess and write your response. Then consult here. Are the results as you expected? To you have a guess at any explanations?
V-4 In the article by Peter Weiss from twenty years ago, have the conclusions at the end of his article borne out over time? Have governments in Europe moved towards increased open access to government records or less open access to government records during that time period? What evidence can you cite?
Due in BrightSpace: before 11:59 pm on April 13.

Module W – Taxation in E-Commerce and Financial Transactions
Assignment: E-Commerce Regulation, Modules 3, 4 & 5; Grimmelmann: Ch 10 713-731 & 762-774
The critical questions are:
W-1 Under Module 3 on Online Consumer Protection in E-Commerce Transactions, select and describe one of the acts or regulations.
W-2 Under Module 4 on Taxation in E-Commerce, select, describe, and reflect upon some issue, law, or development that you learned something new about.
W-3 Under Module 5 or the Grimmelmann material, describe at least two legal challenges that that the emergence of cryptocurrencies are raising.
Due in BrightSpace: before 11:59 pm on April 18.

Module X – Open Access Licenses
Assignment: Grimmelmann: Ch 7 pp. 444-467; Legal Approaches for Open Access to Research Data pp.1-21
The critical questions are:
X-1 The Grimmelman assigned reading (pp. 444-467) discusses the use of open source licensing of copyrighted software to achieve goals other than profit. Enforceability of the GNU General Public License (GPL) in pursuit of keeping software openly accessible is discussed. What major limitation is imposed on users that want to extend from and develop derivative works from software so licensed? For people attempting to keep their copyrighted writings, films, and music open, why do they often choose to use one of the Creative Commons license offerings ( rather than the GPL?
X-2 In the list of Key Terms and Concepts listed in the Research Data article (pp. 8-12), why are facts distinguished from data and datasets?
X-3 Describe the differences between the status of data being in the commons, open commons and public domain.
X-4 If a dataset is advertised and offered as being legally interoperable using the definition in this article, does that mean that the dataset may not be sold by the owner but only freely shared? Why?
Extra Credit:
X-5 The challenges of enforcing copyright controls over downstream uses of data in international contexts are discussed on pp. 14-21. Reflect on something you learned or found of most interest in this material.
X-6 Assume that the business you own gathers data from across the web and from other multiple sources and then offers an online service that generates results or answers by querying that data. You charge customers a high per use fee or lower monthly fee for your service. Would you prefer setting up this service in a jurisdiction with sui generis (p. 20) database rights protections?  Why or why not?
Due in BrightSpace: before 11:59 pm on April 20.

Module Y – Open Access to Research Data
Assignment: Legal Approaches for Open Access to Research Data (continued); pp.21-31, 37-42
The critical questions are:
Y-1 The articles lists several mechanisms by which governments may remove intellectual property rights controlling the use of research data. (i.e. see Sections 3.1.1, 3.1.2 and 3.1.3). Choose one of the mechanisms and describe the challenges for a government in its implementation as compared to the other described methods.
Y-2 The authors Conclusions and Recommendations concerning Legal Mechanisms that Promote Open Access and Legal Interoperability are stated in Section 4 (pp.37-42). Which of the legal mechanisms suggested in Table 1 are you most likely to be able to implement as an individual during your career? Do you envision yourself doing so and why?
Y-3 The Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) is the most widely used and recommended by the academic community of all the CC Licenses. Why do the authors of the paper about Research Data NOT recommend its use with research data? (pp37-38)
Extra Credit:
Y-4 The authors provide minimum recommendations for open access research repositories in Section 4.2 (pp. 41-42). What additional recommendations might you recommend or what edits might you suggest for these recommendations?
Y-5 As a student completing a graduate research project at the University of Maine where you have compiled substantial data supporting your research, where would you archive the research data such that the data would be linked from your published electronic thesis, the data likely would still be there in 50 years, and others could efficiently find it through universal web searches and through metadata searches? Would students, faculty and other university researchers benefit from the facility recommended in Section 4.3?
Due in BrightSpace: before 11:59 pm on April 25.

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