Cyberlaw and the Global Economy: 2004

Harvard Law School

Fall Term, Thursdays, 4:30 - 6:30 p.m., Hauser 102

John Palfrey

jpalfrey at

Course Home | Syllabus | Administration | H2O Discussion | Weblogs | Clinicals


* 11/9/04: Your classmate David Tressler has a blog entry on some recent happenings on cyberlaw related to several of our topics this term -- spam, IP, and law enforcement related to online wrongdoing. Please note also that we've swapped the order of two upcoming classes, 5.1 and 5.2, so be sure to cover the readings in the week shown on the website, not in the order in which they appear in your printed packet.

* 10/18/04: Today, we're hosting a CEO Forum on Voice over IP in the John Chipman Gray room from 9:00 - 5:00 p.m. Stop by in between class if you'd like to listen in for a bit. It will be very relevant to our 11/11 and 11/18 classes. Please remember also that there's a rotisserie question, based on a passage from the Grokster case, due at classtime on Thursday. And note that your classmate Tim Armstrong has a great post-class blog entry following up on last week's conversation and Aaron Kotok has a blog post relevant to Thursday's conversation.

* 10/7/04: There is no rotisserie question for this week. In class, we'll touch on each of the readings but will linger for the longest period on the problem presented by the Sallen case.

* 9/16/04: A set of printed reading materials, based on the online syllabus which remains the master, are available for you to pick up at the Publications center in the basement of Pound Hall. Please remember also to sign up for H2O and join the project for Cyberlaw and the Global Economy.

* 9/7/04: The classroom has been changed to Hauser 102 for this course. Previously, we were slated for Austin 203, but have grown too big for it. Also: the first week readings are optional, but you might take a look at them if you have time.

* 9/2/04: I hope you're settling in well to campus. As for the first class, a week for today, please find the (optional) readings on the syllabus page. You might also want to pick up the only textbook for this course at the Coop (Ronald J. Mann and Jane K. Winn, Electronic Commerce) -- though there are also copies on reserve at the library and you might want to check the tentative syllabus. Also, I recommend that you buy William W. Fisher III, Promises to Keep (Stanford, 2004), which will be at the Coop shortly but is now available also at Harvard Book Store in the Square. See you next week!

* 8/12/04: Welcome! Please note that the course site will not be final until the beginning of the term. If you would like to do something to get started before the term, please be sure to sign up for the course's discussion system, H2O and, if you like, create a weblog (just for fun).



The Internet and the practice of law are both increasingly global in nature. Legal doctrine of relevance to lawyers representing clients with global businesses and a presence on the Internet continues to develop rapidly. For instance, changes in the law of intellectual property related to the Internet - whether the IP relates to code, data, music or other content - have broad and complex application for businesses selling into a multi-jurisdictional world. A special series of laws, regulations and policies related to commercial transactions, large and small, involving new technologies continues to evolve.

This seminar will focus on recent developments in cyberlaw with impact on commercial and cross-border transactions. The course is not exclusively an international or comparative law class, but rather looks at problems of Internet law within a global framework. This global framework may mean that legal issues are local, state, national, multi-national or truly international in scope. Special emphasis will be placed on the impact of globalization, both in the law generally and the Internet, on the practice of cyberlaw. The course will also involve aspects of comparative law, primarily between the US and the European Union and the US and certain developing countries. The goals of this course include exposing students to some of the core issues involved in a technology practice during an era of dramatic globalization; to delve more deeply in a discussion format into the basic cyberlaw issues addressed in the Professor Jonathan Zittrain's Internet & Society class; to encourage critical thinking about how to harmonize competing policies and laws in a global marketplace; and to examine how these laws and policies may be extended so as to assist developing countries seeking entry into the global economy.