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Unit information: Law and IT in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Law and IT
Unit code COMSM2005
Credit points 10
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Charlesworth
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Computer Science
Faculty Faculty of Engineering


In this unit, the student will get an overview of the legal issues relevant to the use of Internet technologies, including their rationales and application, and an appreciation of how such legal issues may influence development, design and use of those technologies. They will develop an appreciation of the complex socio-economic factors which underpin particular legal developments, and learn to identify scenarios in which legal risks may arise. The unit is designed not provide a comprehensive grounding in the relevant law, but rather to introduce students to basic legal concepts in key areas such as intellectual property, data privacy, security and system liability.

Intended learning outcomes

At the end of this unit, a student will be able to: Critically evaluate ongoing developments in law relating to Information Technology. Display understanding of how these developments relate to one another. Examine areas of doctrinal and political debate surrounding rules and theories. Evaluate those rules and theories in terms of internal coherence and practical outcomes. Draw on the analysis and evaluation contained in primar terms of intey and secondary sources.

Teaching details

The unit is taught primarily by way of lectures, although student questions are welcome at any point.

Assessment Details

The unit will be assessed 100% by coursework. This coursework will take the following form:

You have to write two 3000 word assessment essays.

However, you have the option to replace 50% of the mark (i.e. one essay) by taking part in three In-Class Tests. There will be four In-Class Tests in total, of which your three best marks will be counted.

An In-Class Test will comprise of a 25 minute multiple-choice test comprising 20 multiple-choice questions or short answer questions. The questions will be based on the content of the reading material set for the two-week period covered by that seminar and the content of the lectures. In-Class Tests will take place at the times set out in the Timetable and Topics webpages.

Reading and References

There is no set text for COMSM2005. However, the following books cover the subject areas addressed on the course:

Rowland, D., Kohl, U. & Charlesworth A. Information Technology Law, (4th ed.) Routledge, 2011. Recommended

Lloyd, I. Information Technology Law (6th ed.) OUP, 2011. Background

Murray, A. Information Technology Law (1st ed.) OUP, 2010. Background