UBC’s Point Grey Campus is located on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam) people. The land it is situated on has always been a place of learning for the Musqueam people, who for millennia have passed on in their culture, history, and traditions from one generation to the next on this site.
Course Title Course Code Number Credit Value
Cyberspace Law LAW425D.001 3
None. But it would be better if the students have a basic knowledge of constitutional protection of freedom of expression. And the students are better prepared to discuss the uniqueness of the cyberspace and apply their knowledge on constitutional law, especially freedom of expression, to the cyberspace.
If you are interested in detailed analysis of freedom of expression issues, take LAW343C.001(Term 2) Topics in Public Law: Freedom of Expression, and if you are interested in legal issues arising from e-commerce, take LAW447 (Term 2) Topics in Commercial Law: e-Commerce. They are not co-requisites but may be of interest to you.
If I was not in my office during office hours, please come again. If the student needs an appointment, please feel free to ask for an appointment by e-mail.
Seminar: Monday 9:00 to 12:30
This is a seminar to learn about various legal issues raising from the development of the cyberspace, especially focusing on freedom of expression issues. The students are supposed to read the first two powerpoint files distributed in advance and familiarize with the basics of information technology, computer technology, and network. The seminar combines two topics in a day separated by fifteen minutes break in the middle. The seminar starts with the examination of the basic of cyberspace law: how the cyberspace functions, what kinds of function the cyberspace can perform, the challenges raised by the rise of cyberspace and then examine how law should operate to respond to this rise of cyberspace. The seminar next examines the jurisdiction of the courts, choice of law, recognition and enforcement of foreign judgment, and potential reach of government power together with the issues on the liability of intermediaries. Then it will examine how constitutional protection of freedom of expression should reach to cyberspace, especially focusing on the difference between cyberspace and broadcasting. Then the seminar moves to discuss some of the most controversial expression restriction in the cyberspace, including the protection of national secret and public safety, defamation and invasion of privacy, hate speech and cyber porn as well as child porn, and other harmful expression and the need for protection of minors. It will also consider revenge porn and cyberbullying. Then the seminar turns its attention to freedom of expression and intellectual property rights in the cyberspace, including trademark and copyright protection. Then, the seminar will consider the constitutional issues rising from the necessity of protecting privacy and personal information, including to what extent the government can intervene to protect privacy and personal information of users, to what extent the government should restrict the privacy and personal information of users to secure the safety and security, and to what extent the government should be allowed to monitor and perform surveillance on the users. The final chapter is left for further discussion, for those students who are interested in the future of democracy through the cyberspace and the possible challenges.
SCHEDULE OF TOPICS
Tentative (subject to change)
01 development of computer technology (pre-reading)
02 development of the Internet (pre-reading)
03 expression in the cyberspace – what are the characteristics of the cyberspace?
03-1-1 ACLU v. Reno, 929 F. Supp. 824, 830-44 (E.D.Pa. 1996), aff’d, 521 U.S. 844 (1997)
04 Internet Governance and Law
04-1 Internet and governance
04-1-1John Perry Barlow, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace
04-1-2 David R. Johnson & David Post, Law and Border
--The Rise of Law in Cyberspace, 48 Stan. L. Rev. 1367, 1367-68, 1370-72, 1378-80, 1387-91, 1400-02 (1996)(available online from the LEXIS)
04-1-3 Jack L. Goldsmith, Against Cyberanarchy, 65 U. Chi. L. Rev. 1199, 1199-1201, 1212-24, 1230-45 (1998)(available online from LEXIS)
04-2-1 Lawrence Lessig, Constitution and Code, 27 Cumberland L. Rev. 1, 1-15 (1996)(available online from LEXIS)
05-1 personal jurisdiction: Limits of personal jurisdiction
07-1-5 Zeran v. America Online, Incorporated, 129 F.3d 327 (4th Cir. 1997) cert. denied, 524 U.S. 937 (1998)
07-1-6 Grace v. eBay, 120 Cal. App. 4th 984; 16 Cal. Rptr. 3d 192 (Ct. App. Cal. 2004)
07-2 other countries
07-2-1 Goodfrey v. Demon Internet,  4 All Eng 342,  3 WLR 1020
07-2-2 U.K. Defamation Act
07-2-3 Australian Broadcasting Services Amendment Act of 1999
07-2-4 DIRECTIVE 2000/31/EC OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 8 June 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the Internal Market (Directive on electronic commerce)
07-2-5 Google Spain SL, Google Inc. v. Agencia Espanola de Protection de Datos, Mario Costeja Gonzalez, CJEU May 13, 2014, http://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2014-05/cp140070en.pdf
07-3-1 Google Inc. v. Equustek Solutions Inc, supra
08 liability of Internet service providers: other liabilities
08-1 copyright infringement: the United States
08-1-1 Religious Technology Center v. Netcom On-Line Communication Services, Inc., 907 F. Supp. 1361 (N.D. Cal. 1995)
08-1-2 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 512
08-2 copyright infringement: Canada
08-2-1 SOCAN v. Canadian Assn. of Internet Providers, supra
08-2-2 The Copyright Modernization Act, 2012
08-3 other intermediaries: Google, You Tube and limits of take-down request
22-1-2 Media3 Technologies, LLC v. Mail Abuse Prevention System, LLC, 2001 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1310 (D. Mass. 2001)
22-2 use of filtering by the public library
22-2-1 Mainstream Loudoun v. Board of Trustees of the Loudoun County Library, 24 F. Supp. 2d 552 (E.D. Va. 1998)
22-3 court-ordered filtering
22-3-1 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. v. Fung, 710 F.3d 1020 (9th Cir. 2013)
22-3-2 Scarlet Extended SA v Société belge des auteurs compositeurs et éditeurs (SABAM), EUCJ, Case C-70/10 (Nov. 24, 2011)
22-4 government-ordered censorship
November 30 privacy and protection for personal information in the cyberspace
23 protection of personal information in the cyberspace:
23-1 anonymity in the cyberspace
23-1-1 Phillip Services Corp. v. John Doe Court File No. 4592 / 98 Ontario Court (General Division) http://aix1.uottawa.ca/~geist/Philip.v.JohnDoe.24jun98.html
23-1-2 BMG Canada, Inc. v. John Doe,  F.C.J. No. 858; 2005 FCA 193; 2005 Fed.C.C. LEXIS 731 (Fed. Ct. App. Ontario 2005)
23-1-3 John Doe No. 1 v. Cahill, 884 A.2d 451 (Del. 2005)
23-1-4 Melvin v. Doe, 575 Pa. 264 (Pa. 2003)
23-2-1 Bernstein v. United States DOJ, 176 F.3d 1132, 1999 U.S. App. LEXIS 8595 (9th Cir. Cal., 1999), withdrawn by 192 F.3d 1308 (9th Cir. 1999)
23-3 the ban on anonymous speech
23-3-1 ACLU v. Miller, 977 F. Supp. 1228 (N.D. Ga. 1997)
23-4 search and seizure
23-4-1 United States v. Scarfo, 180 F. Supp. 2d 572 (D.N.J. 2001)
23-4-2 United States v. Arnold, 523 F.3d 941 (9th Cir. 2008)
23-4-3 In the matter of the search of an Apple iphone seized during the execution of a search warrant on black Lexus IS300, California License Plate 35KGD203 (D.C. Central Dist. Cal. 2016), https://www.justice.gov/usao-cdca/file/825001/download
24 government surveillance over the cyberspace
24-1 government electronic surveillance
24-1-1 electronic surveillance system
24-1-2 FISA Court
24-2 government surveillance and the Constitution
24-2-1 ACLU v. Nat'l Sec. Agency / Central Sec. Serv., 438 F. Supp. 2d 754 (E.D. Mich. 2006), vacated by, remanded by ACLU v. NSA, 2007 U.S. App. LEXIS 16149 (6th Cir.) (6th Cir. Mich., 2007)
24-2-2 Warshak v. United States, 490 F.3d 455 (6th. Cir. 2007), vacated by, on rehearing at, en banc, stay granted by Warshak v. United States, 2007 U.S. App. LEXIS 23741 (6th Cir., Oct. 9, 2007)
24-1-3 Clapper v. Amnesty Int'l USA, 568 U.S. ___ (2013)
24-1-4 Obama v. Klayman, No. 14-5004 (D.C. Cir. Aug. 28, 2015)
24-3 big data
For those who are interested…
25-1 The possibility of cyberdemocracy
25-2 hurdles ahead
25-3 peril of cyberspace
25-3-1 Cass Sunstein, republic.com 3-16, 23-50 (Princeton University Press 2001)
25-4 possible solutions?
25-4-1 Noah D. Zatz, Note: Sidewalks in Cyberspace; Making Space for Public Forum in the Electronic Environment, 12 Harv. J. L. & Tech. 149, 151-53, 172-225 (1998)
Course objective: To Learn the legal issues implicated by the rise of the cyberspace, especially focusing on freedom of expression issues.
The development of the cyberspace raised new constitutional issues with respect to freedom of expression without clear precedents and without clear guidelines. The seminar will prompt the students to consider all these legal questions in light of the necessity of constitutional protection of freedom of expression and the necessity of securing the safety and security of the public. The students should be ready to face any new questions, not examined in the class, and offer their own perspectives in addressing them.
seminar structure: This seminar meets once a week on Monday, from 9:30 to 12:30, with a mid-time fifteen minutes break. Due to on-going impact of COVID-19, the seminar will be offered on-line this fall. We will use zoom meeting, sharing the power-point presentation. The students can log in using any handle names but I would ask students to turn on video and ready to use voice to ask questions or answer to my questions. It is not mandatory to participate in time because some of the students might get access to meeting from other parts of Canada or from other countries with significant time difference. I will record the whole meeting and upload the video file together with powerpoint file on dropbox (I will circulate the dropbox access link) so that everyone can take a look at them at any time. I will cut short the video meeting and allow students to ask questions anonymously. If you want to prefer the privacy, please ask question after I turn off the recording.
The seminar will examine various specific cases and issues implicated by the rise of the cyberspace. The students are supposed to discuss and share their opinions on each issue and explore further implications on related issues. The students will obtain the basic knowledge and skills to face new issues and possible future cases throughout these discussions.
IT IS EXPECTED THAT ALL OF THE STUDENTS WILL READ THE ASSIGNMENT FOR EACH CLASS AND PARTICIPATE IN DISCUSSION.
There is no mandatory textbook.
Course materials will be sent to the participating students on-line. Some of the listed materials are available on-line in the library.
Other useful casebooks and textbooks include (not all these books are collected by the law library):
Michael Geist, Internet Law in Canada (3rd edition Captus Press 2002)
Raymond S.R. Ku & Jacqueline Lipton, Cyberspace Law: Cases and Materials (4th ed. Aspen 2016)
Patricia l Bellia, Paul Schiff Berman, and David G. Post, Cyberlaw: Problems of Policy and Jurisprudence in the Information Age (4th ed. Thomson West 2010)
James Grimmellmann, Internet Law: Cases and Problems (7th ed. Semaphore Press 2017).
ASSESSMENTS OF LEARNING
Class participation 30% and final assignment 70%. Students will be evaluated based upon the class participation and final essay paper. The essay paper will be assigned 70% of total evaluation and the class performance will be assigned 30% of total evaluation. Since not all of the students can join in the class at the meeting time, I would use additional method to measure your degree of participation. I will ask one short question at the end of seminar and ask the students to provide me with the brief answer to the question I ask within a week. Just a half-page answer would be suffice. I will evaluate to what extent you understand our materials and questions and to what extent you are ready to face the specific questions.
Class participation: Class participation mark is evaluated based upon the class attendance and the degree of active participation in the class discussion. Each student is required to attend the class after reading assigned materials and is encouraged to participate in the class discussions. Regular attendance and active participation are especially important to provide you with deeper knowledge and understanding. During the classroom discussions, we will pick up many specific issues, including new issues and new judgments, and discuss how we should resolve the cases. With respect to major issue for discussion, we might pick up the student moderator to moderate the discussion. If you miss too many classes, you will not be eligible to submit your final paper.
Final paper: With respect to final paper, each student should choose a particular topic from the areas covered by this course and submit the outline of the paper by the end of February (you can just send an e-mail outlining your paper) and then write a substantial paper (roughly 15 pages—this is merely a suggestion and is not the minimum or maximum limit) by the end of submission deadline (4:00 p.m. of the final day of the examination, December 22, 2020. Please send your paper with your email to me. But please make sure to keep your original copy with you just in case and make sure to receive my reception e-mail.
You do not have to pick up the topic discussed in the class. You can pick up any subject that might be relevant to our course. I will be happy to advise you on your choice of topic and you should talk with me before finalizing your outline. The paper will be evaluated based on the choice of topic, the extent of the research, the organization and structure of analysis, the analytical skill, the writing skill and the overall persuasiveness. I don’t care what format you would choose, what citation method or citation style you would prefer to use or how long you would choose to write. All I will care is the substance of your research, writing and analysis.
After separately evaluating class participation mark and paper mark, I will add these marks to produce tentative final mark. Then, in order to comply with the law school’s grading policy, sometimes I will have to add final adjustment to reach the final marks to be submitted.
For the law school’s grading policy, see http://www.allard.ubc.ca/sites/www.allard.ubc.ca/files/uploads/registration/grades_dist_1819.pdf.
For the law school policy on late submission, see http://www.allard.ubc.ca/sites/www.allard.ubc.ca/files/uploads/JD/penalties_for_late_assignments.pdf#search=%27UBC+law+school+late+submission%27.
For the law school’s academic concession policy (including deferral of exam or extension of deadline of submission of paper), see http://www.allard.ubc.ca/sites/www.allard.ubc.ca/files/uploads/registration/grades_dist_1819.pdf.
UBC provides resources to support student learning and to maintain healthy lifestyles but recognizes that sometimes crises arise and so there are additional resources to access including those for survivors of sexual violence. UBC values respect for the person and ideas of all members of the academic community. Harassment and discrimination are not tolerated nor is suppression of academic freedom. UBC provides appropriate accommodation for students with disabilities and for religious observances. UBC values academic honesty and students are expected to acknowledge the ideas generated by others and to uphold the highest academic standards in all of their actions.
Details of the policies and how to access support are available on the UBC Senate website.
Most of the reading materials are edited copies of the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court Supreme Court of Canada and there is no copyright for using them. All other materials are available through library or online. All the class instructions and distributed materials can be shared among other participants of the class but cannot be published or distributed without permission. No recording is permitted without permission.
Updated June 20, 2020