Visiting Professor Urs Gasser 2 classroom credits LAW-97853A
The Internet has initiated a series of fundamental shifts in our
information ecosystem. First, anyone with a computer and Internet
access can create a message, while the costs of production have
dramatically decreased in the digital age. Second, the message network
of the Internet enables global and real-time transmission of
information at marginal costs close to zero. Third, the Internet leads
to an unprecedented level of access both to information infrastructure
and content. Fourth, the Internet has shaped what users do with
information. These four shifts have in turn permitted the emergence of
new businesses and business models: Wikipedia and MySpace illustrate
the power of user-created content. Grokster and iTunes are two examples
of new forms of content distribution.
Search engines like Google are the symbols of new ways to access
information. And sites like YouTube or Facebook illustrate the
increased levels of interactivity among users on the one hand and
content on the other.
In this seminar, Urs Gasser will work with a small group of students to
gain a deeper understanding of the legal implications of these seismic
shifts at the intersection of law, technology, and new business models.
The seminar takes a phenomenological approach: Instead of dividing
topics along the lines of traditional areas of law (such as, e.g.,
competition law, privacy, IP, etc.), we will discuss the multi-faceted
legal questions in their respective context, based on studies of recent
cases and developments. The seminar also takes into account that online
businesses operate in a global environment. While addressing key
questions such as, for example, the liability of online intermediaries,
we will be discussing statutory and case law from both the U.S. and
from Europe. Urs Gasser will invite a small group of outside speakers
to participate in a subset of class meetings.
The course has three main objectives. First, it seeks to familarize the
students with important and enduring changes in the information
economy. Second, it analyzes -- focusing on online businesses -- the
key legal and regulatory problems faced by decision-makers in the
private (and public) sector. Third, it aims to introduce a set of
frameworks and analytical tools that might be helpful to lawyers when
dealing with future shifts triggered by the Internet.
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