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Unit information: Information Technology Law in 2015/16

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Unit name Information Technology Law
Unit code LAWD30003
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Professor. Charlesworth
Open unit status Not open




School/department University of Bristol Law School
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


This unit will examine the law and policy issues relating to a number of key aspects of the information society. It will begin by considering the debate about the nature of the influence of information technology upon the development of new legal doctrine, moving on to consider - through topics such as data protection and freedom of information, computer misuse and computer evidence, copyright and digital rights management, criminal content liability and defamation, and e-commerce - both how the law has responded to the challenges of information technologies and the extent to which legal issues have shaped the development of information society policy.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this unit a successful student will be able to:

  • Explain current law in key areas relating to information technologies and information
  • Explain the underlying regulatory theories underpinning the practical regulation of new information technologies and uses of information
  • Explain the impact and effectiveness of legal regulation upon technological innovation and modes of information technology and information utilization
  • State the law accurately
  • Critically assess both theories and the law
  • Discuss potential solutions to any problems with current law and policy, including the usefulness or otherwise of law reform
  • Demonstrate research skills – in particular, the ability to research legal issues and areas of law.

Teaching details

23 lectures and 7 tutorials

Assessment Details

Formative: students are required to submit one formative essay.

Summative: 2 x 2000 word summative essays each comprising 50% of the unit assessment.

The assessment essays provide a means of assessing:

  • what students have learned throughout the unit, in terms both of technical subject matter and modes of critical thought
  • whether students are themselves able to think critically about the law, to extract pertinent information and analysis from material gathered though desk research, and utilize these skills to create coherent and structured academic commentary.

The assessments will assess all of the intended learning outcomes for this unit.

Reading and References

Lessig, L. Code: and Other Laws of Cyberspace, Basic Books, 2000

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

Lloyd, I. Information Technology Law (7th ed.), OUP, 2014;

Murray, A. Information Technology Law (2nd ed.) OUP, 2013.