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The internet turns 27 in 2018, and remains the fastest-growing medium of communications. It is also a uniquely democratic means of communication, blurring the traditional boundaries between publisher and reader. It has created unparalleled opportunities for sharing, fully duplex peer communications and novel types of social media. Nevertheless, the legal rules governing it remain unsettled and are arguably too old-fashioned for the modern environment. These developing legal rules and norms are the focus of this subject. These issues are explored in the context of liability for infringement of copyright and breaches of privacy, defamation and obscenity in respect of the publication of material online.
Principal topics include:
- Overview of technology and avenues of distribution
- Copyright and allied rights in online services
- Regulation of transnational online products and services
- Obscenity and other criminal liability for publication
- Conflict of law
- Intermediary liability
- Theoretical issues such as the nature of democratic governance in a borderless world, regulatory arbitrage and the appropriate basis for liability where internet businesses encourage others to offend.
Intended learning outcomes
A student who has successfully completed this subject will:
- Have an advanced and integrated understanding of key principles of internet law in Australia and comparable jurisdictions
- Be able to critically examine, analyse, interpret and assess the effectiveness of these legal principles
- Have the cognitive and technical skills to independently examine, research and analyse existing and emerging legal issues relating to internet law
- Be an engaged participant in debate regarding emerging and contemporary issues in the field
- Have a sophisticated appreciation of the factors and processes driving law reform
- Have the cognitive and technical skills to generate critical and creative ideas, and to critically evaluate existing legal theories, principles and concepts with creativity and autonomy
- Have the communication skills to clearly articulate and convey complex information regarding internet law to relevant specialist and non-specialist audiences
- Be able demonstrate autonomy, expert judgment and responsibility as a practitioner and learner in the field of internet law.
Last updated: 2 December 2019