LAW 578

Digital Wars - Major Current Legal Battles in Information Economies

Technology & the Law

This seminar explores major legal controversies afflicting the digital economy. In particular, the seminar asks how “property” and “monopoly power” should be defined to promote prosperity when “economic goods” consist chiefly of intangible bits of information spinning through a single, global Internet.

The seminar will consider frontier issues in copyright (and copyleft), patent, and Internet privacy law; recent legal clashes between “old” and “new” media; and current conflicts  about regulating  broadband access and network neutrality and about limiting the market power of “dominant” software-based and web-based businesses.

No prerequisites or exams. A 30 page research paper (graded), previewed orally in class, and active participation throughout, are expected. Enrollment limited to 20.Course Learning Outcomes:1. Understand economic pro's and con's, and complexities, of providing various types of property rights to intangible/digitized data.2. Understand the economic dynamics of the two chief natural monopoly forces in the digital economy: extreme scale economies and network effects. Understand the ways and difficulties of mitigating these forces through government action.

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