Note: This is a sample syllabus. The real, updated syllabus is located at wu.granneman.com, which is password-protected and is available for students and guests only.
U25-3211—Technology & the Law
Wednesdays 5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.
Instructors: Denise Lieberman, Esq., & Scott Granneman
- Adjunct Professor
- Washington University in St. Louis, Dept. of Political Science
- Washington University in St. Louis School of Law
- Contact Info
- Office: Eliot 317
- Phone: 314-935-9010
- Office Hours: T/Th 10-11:30 a.m.; 2:30—4 p.m. or by appointment
- Adjunct Professor
- Washington University in St. Louis
- Webster University
- Don't Click on the Blue E!: Switching to Firefox (O'Reilly: 2005)
- Hacking Knoppix (Wiley & Sons: 2005)
- Columnist for SecurityFocus & Linux Magazine
- Professional blogger for The Open Source Weblog
- Full list of publications at /writing
- Senior Consultant in Internet Services, WebSanity
Technology and the law have always been somewhat intertwined, and always with a healthy tension between the values that each area holds dear. For instance, where technology values almost constant leaps of innovation, the law is more deliberate in its progression. In the last decade, with the rapid growth in technology, we have seen the tension between technology and the legal system increase dramatically. In this course, we will look at some of the key conflicts involving technology, the legal system, and civil liberties, including free speech and censorship in cyberspace; national security, ubiquitous surveillance and privacy; genetically modified foods; peer to peer file sharing; and ownership of virtual property.
Taught jointly by a lawyer with expertise in constitutional law, civil liberties and cyberliberties and a technology consultant with expertise in existing and emerging technologies, the class will examine emerging technologies and the ability of the law to respond to those technologies.
Our class meetings will be highly interactive and therefore preparation for each class meeting is very important. Students will learn how to read and understand court decisions, how to "brief" cases, and how precedent and politics affect the courts≠ rulings.
Doug Isenberg.The GigaLaw Guide to Internet Law. Random House (2002).
Additional readings will consist of articles, analyses, & ephemera from the Internet, accessible on the class web site. You are expected to check the course website each week for updated assignments. If you ever want to pursue a topic further, you can look up further readings using Search (also located at the bottom of every page) or the Site Map.
Your grade will be based on the following factors:
- Class attendance and participation in discussion (25%): You are expected to attend class prepared to discuss the readings with your fellow classmates. During class we will also discuss how the readings relate to current news, so you should be prepared to extend the readings to new situations and participate in the discussions.
- In-class presentation (20%): You will make a 15-minute presentation to the class corresponding with an issue in the syllabus. Your presentation will be based on the readings for that class date in addition to some additional essays which I will provide to you, and should include your perceptions, analysis, and critiques of the readings. In addition, your presentation should include questions to the class designed to facilitate a discussion of the issue. On particular subjects, two students can sign up to present the issue in the form of a debate examining competing perspectives on the topic. A sign up sheet will be distributed in class.
- Online discussion group (20%): This Web site has a discussion group that we will use for questions, thoughts, and discussions outside of class. Students are expected to comment on class readings prior to, and after, each class. However, students are free to start new discussions related to the topics discussed in class but not necessarily related to our readings. In addition, all of your papers & written work will be posted to the discussion group. You should try to make 5 posts a week for full credit.
- Final Paper/Project & Presentation (35%): You will prepare a final paper and presentation on a current issue of technology in law that will serve as your final for the course. It can relate to one of the topics that we have discussed in class, or it may instead cover a topic that we have not covered in class, but which happens to interest you. The paper/project should outline the issue from both a technological and legal standpoint, identifying where tension may exist between the development of the technology and the ability of the law to adequately address concerns that development may raise. Your paper should apply a legal analysis to the conflict areas inherent in the technology and should include an argument for whether you believe existing law can adequately address the legal quandaries raised by the technology, and how you believe the law should apply to the issue. You will be asked to present your findings and conclusions on the issue to the class.
Grades will be based on an average of the above as follows:
Accommodation of disabilities: Washington University is committed to providing accommodations and/or services to students with documented disabilities. Students who are seeking support for a disability or a suspected disability should contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC) at 5-4062 in Gregg Hall. (firstname.lastname@example.org). The DRC is responsible for approving and arranging all accommodations for University students.
Policy regarding academic dishonesty: This course will follow Washington University's policies concerning academic dishonesty. Academic dishonesty may result in failure for the assignment in question and/or referral to the college's Academic Integrity Office, which has discretion to impose a stricter penalty. While academic dishonesty includes cheating on exams and quizzes, it also includes plagiarism in written assignments. Plagiarism is not only passing off someone else's work as your own, but also giving your work to someone else to pass off as their own. It also includes submitting work from another course. While I strongly encourage you to discuss your work with each other in and out of class, and while you may research issues together, your writing should be your own. The papers you submit must be your work alone, and must include citations to all references in your work. Please include the URL, or Web address, for articles and resources found on the Internet.
It is paramount that we respect each other online, in both email and the discussion group. Follow this simple rule: disagree with the idea, but not the person. In other words, it's OK to say "That's a bad idea, because …", and it's not OK to say "You're a bad/stupid/inconsiderate person, because …". If you have an issue with a classmate's behavior online, please bring it to me privately by emailing me at email@example.com. If you'd like to find out more, please feel free to read The Core Rules of Netiquette, by Virginia Shea.