August 13, 2006
Fall 2006 Cyberlaw Syllabus
By Eric Goldman
I've posted the syllabus for my Fall 2006 Cyberspace Law course. As I have done for the past 11 years, I prepared my own materials. To do so, I cull through all of the action from the past year to see what changes I should make from the prior year's syllabus. In the late 1990s, a lot--1/3 to 1/2--of the pages would change from year-to-year. In the past couple of years, this pace has slowed considerably. This year, I added only 3 new cases and 1 new statute to the reader:
* the Lamparello case (which I actually substituted in last year after I prepared my 2005 syllabus)
* Perfect 10 v. Google and Field v. Google. They make an excellent compare-contrast unit. They also provide enough material to moot the 2003 Ticketmaster ruling, which I dropped this year.
* I substituted in the Alaska anti-adware law to replace Utah's anti-adware law.
Beyond those additions, I substituted in the 7th circuit ruling in the BMG v. Gonzalez case for the district court ruling, and I dropped the FTC v. Phoenix Avatar spam case and my short editorial on advertiser liability for adware (neither of which I had time to cover).
I could make an argument that the past 12 months have been comparatively slow in cyberlaw (by cyberlaw's historical standards), at least in terms of significant precedent. There have been some fairly important rulings (the KinderStart, JR Cigar, Merck v. Mediplan and Edina Realty cases come to mind) and interesting developments (the Sony DRM episode, click fraud lawsuits and the battles over search engine queries come to mind), but very few of these cases or episodes resulted in important/pedagogically useful precedent or statutes. Not that I'm complaining--it may just be a sign of cyberlaw's maturation.
Interestingly, although blog law is hot, I couldn't really find anything useful to teach on the topic. I think this reflects that blog law is just a seamless part of cyberlaw. As a result, I'm sure I'll integrate blog issues into the course throughout the semester.
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Best wishes for a successful first semester at Santa Clara! Hopefully you'll still find time to blog!
Posted by: theCaptain at August 16, 2006 05:08 AM
Thanks for your insightful behind-the-scenes look at recent developments, or the lack thereof.
At this point the less Internet regulation the better IMHO. I turn to your site for the latest legal news. Fewer statutes and new cases to read actually gives me hope I can stay on top of cyberlaw. Best wishes for you and your students at SCU.
Please keep blogging away!
Posted by: Chris Wright at August 17, 2006 04:35 PM