Information Technology Law

Course summary

Judith Rauhofer, Lecturer in IT Law at Edinburgh Law School, provides an overview of the Information Technology Law course.

This course responds to the immense impact computers and the Internet have had, and are having, on substantive law. 'Computer law' has developed since the Seventies from a patchwork of applications of ordinary rules of contract, criminal, and commercial law, to what is largely accepted to be a rapidly growing specialist cognate discipline. It has now expanded to embrace the field of cyberlaw that focuses on the legal regulation of the Internet.

It will examine the legal ramifications of cyberspace and the digitisation and virtualisation of everyday activities, including topics such as regulation by law and code, intellectual property in cyberspace, content liability, trademarks, the internet and domain names, cybercrime, online privacy and cloud computing.

We will discuss themes such as globalisation, enforcement, regulatory forms (including self-regulation and soft law) and the competing lobbies for consumers, corporations, regulators, rights-holders and cyber-libertarians.

Sources will be drawn from the legal systems of Scotland, England, the UK, the US and the EU, and students will be encourage to contribute information and experiences from their home jurisdictions.


  1. Introduction to cyberspace and cyberlaw
  2. Regulation
  3. IP Protection for software
  4. Copyright in cyberspace 1: introduction
  5. Copyright in cyberspace 2: P2P, downloading and enforcement
  6. Content Liability
  7. Trade marks, the Internet & domain names
  8. Cybercrime
  9. Online privacy
  10. Cloud computing

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course you should be able to:

  • Identify, contribute to and advance the key areas of debate, from a legal perspective, in respect of the Internet and computers;
  • Form a view on the relevancy and adequacy of law and alternatives in advancing these debates, including regarding enforcement and dispute resolution;and
  • Analyse the extent to which control over and liability in respect of hardware, software, data and website content can have negative consequences for individuals and corporations and wider society.


One Essay, 4000 words (60%); one piece of assessed course work (20%); participation in online activity (20%).

Terms and conditions

Please note the University reserves the right to make variations to the contents of programmes, including the range of courss offered, and the available choice of courses in any given year may change.

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