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"information law" online course for the interested..

I have been teaching an information law course for a while
at a university here in DC, and had a very successful run
at doing the course in an online only section this last
semester using moodle.org (PHP/Mysql based teaching
package) developed by Martin Dougiamas.

I'd spoken to Brandon about offering the course to
interested debian developers (uh, now more than a month
ago..) and he suggested I see who might be interested here
and to get the word out.

The course is demanding but prepares the CS/MIS major to
answer what lawyers mean when they say something is a
"law" or "legal," what the sources of law in the U.S. are,
what the major (common law) substantive areas of law are,
three weeks on IP, and other topics applying that
knowledge to topics like regulatory infrastructures and
the internet, privacy, and security.  There are weekly
quizzes, a personal essay and group project (each 5 pages
respectively), and a final exam.

Currently the course has a nasty dependency (required
textbook) that I'll replace with original content, when I
get time.  I think the text is probably worth buying but
it is pricey so I'm not sure how you guys would feel about
it.  I am enjoying my new son and the time with my
daughter a little too much to spend all my time on either
my nerdy law or technical development so the drafting of
the text book is going slowly.  No promises yet on the
text situation..

I've attached a syllabus to look over, which also has my

Ideally, I'm thinking I'd like to have 10-15 students for
the class.  I've not formalized how I'll start taking
applications but I'd to see something brief describing
what kind of exposure and level of  interest you have in
the legal aspects information systems--kind of a statement
of purpose.

The course is currently at
(debiandev/vednaibed).  I'll be thinking of where to host
it but please feel free to offer a nice home for the

Do You Yahoo!?
Yahoo! BB is Broadband by Yahoo!


Professor: James J. Miller, Esq.


Southeastern University


Information Systems and the Law

ISMA 405


Online Course



Course Description


This course explores the intersection of law and technology in the work of software developers and information technology managers. The course will introduce the foundational legal elements applicable to information systems including Intellectual Property Rights, Free Speech Rights, Privacy, Security, Business Relationships and their legal documentation, and Regulatory Structure for Information Systems. The course will provide the crucial background needed to both respond to the affirmative obligations imposed by law and understand how the law can benefit the business processes of organizations.


Today, technology professionals execute not only the nuts and bolts implementations of back and front office information systems; they shape and lead core business decisions of their entities. The role of information in organizations today makes the information professional’s involvement crucial to success and the understanding of law central in that role.


Course Methodology


The course will prepare students for this important role through discussion of topics and hands on review of the materials that will guide their analysis. The course will incorporate online resources for discussion, reading assignments, and testing with optional “offline” activities. Most current course information will be available on the website.


Graded assignments will be made available and collected online after specified periods of time. Students will complete assignments at their own pace and will free from having to appear at a certain time or location every week to complete their course requirements. It's believed that this freedom from limiting time and location constraints will allow students considerable flexibility that will allow more detailed and in-depth analysis and participation in the course topics. A variety of multimedia resources will also be made available as logistics permit.


Grades and Evaluation


15% participation

10% team drafting project

10% research essay

25% quizzes (10x 1.5%)

40% 24-hour take-home final examination


Team drafting projects will provide hands on experience demonstrating “real-world” performance for information professional. Students will be required to file a public comment in an agency or regulatory body's current rule-making proceeding, drafting policy or legal agreements on likely business topics, responding to inquiries by public bodies’ copyright infringement notices, ISP liability notices, compliance with privacy obligations. Alternatively, teams may submit alternative proposals on a relevant topic. Team assignments and topic proposals will be completed early in the course.


Students will be required to complete a 10 page research essay on a topic of interest. The essay will give each student an opportunity to research an area of interest and produce a written work reflecting their analysis and recommendations on their topic of interest.


Online participation, quizzes, and other assignments will be tracked on the website. Students will have immediate access to their progress throughout the course. Quizzes will review minimum competencies in core issues of the course. The Final Examination will be an take home essay examination comprehensive of materials covered in the course. Students will have 24 hours from the time the exam is opened to complete the examination.


Opportunities for guest speakers and visits to information policy centers will maximize the opportunities students studying in Washington D.C. enjoy.


Required and Recommended Texts


Required Text: Gaylord A. Jentz & Roger Leroy Miller, Law for E-Commerce; Online Resources

Recommended Text: Lawrence Lessig, Code: and other laws of cyberspace (1999); Martin P. Golding, Legal Reasoning (2001).


Professor's Introduction


James Miller is an attorney at the Federal Communications Commission’s Office of Engineering and Technology working in wireless spectrum policy. Mr. Miller is a cum laude juris doctor graduate of the Washington College of Law, American University, where he excelled in information policy issues and actively contributed to the curricula through such activities as aiding in the founding of one of the nation's first intellectual property clinics. Mr. Miller has a strong academic and real-world technical background with work experience in Japan and the United States in software development, Unix administration, and business development roles.


Contact Info:


James Miller, Esq. Attorney Advisor

Federal Communications Commission

Office of Engineering and Technology,

Policy and Rules Div., Spectrum Policy Branch

445 12th St. SW RM#7A767

Washington, DC 20554

(202)418-7351 Room: 7A767 jjmiller@fcc.gov


Guest Lecturers


Michael Scott Alprin, Esq., Trademark Attorney, Armstrong, Westerman & Hattori, LLP

David Bailey, Vice-President of Information Assurance, VGS Inc

Adam Candeub, Esq., Attorney Advisor, Federal Communication Commission

Course Schedule (Tenative)


    1. In what kinds of work do information systems and law intersect?
    2. Readings: Miller & Jentz Appendix Chapter 1
    3. Introduction to Course and Outline of Information Law Issues
    4. Legal perspective for the information technology professional
    5. From the Developers Perspective
    6. From the MIS Perspective
    7. From the Corporate Officer Perspective
    8. Issues for Stand-alone Software, Web Services, Inter/Intra Network Management
  2. SOURCES OF LAW- “What is law?”
    1. What is a law and how does it relate to information?
    2. Readings: Miller & Jentz 6-17, 18-27, 30-46; handouts.
    3. Sources of law and Authority(Constitutional, Legislation, Regulation, Judicial Role)
    4. Stare decisi (6-17)
    5. Case vs. Civil and Code Law (18)
    6. International Treaty and Domestic Law
    7. Federal Premeption and State Law (30-46)
    8. Private vs. Public Law
  3. SUBSTANTIVE AREAS OF LAW I - “Torts are not a pastery and other useful distinctions.”
    1. How do I tell the difference between all these laws?
    2. Readings: Miller & Jentz 75-93, 99-104, 146-158, 254-263; handouts.
    3. Contracts (146-158)
    4. Property (Lockean and other Labor Theory)
    5. Tort
      1. intentional (77-85)
      2. negligence (86-89)
      3. strict liability (90)
      4. cyber-torts (90-93)
    1. When the laws disagree which law rules supreme?
    2. Readings: Miller & Jentz 76-93, 99-104, 146-158, 254-263; handouts.
    3. Agency (254-263)
    4. Criminal Law and Procedure (99-104)
    5. Constitutional law (10, 11, 30-35, 98-107, 236, 300)
  5. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY I – “From owning Houses to Home Pages” - Copyright
    1. Introduction to Copyright, Trademark, Patents, Datarights and other IPR frameworks and approaches
    2. Readings: Miller & Jentz 113-125; handouts.
    3. Property rights in common law, federal statutes and state courts
    4. Copyright (113-125)
  6. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY II – Patent and Trademark
    1. Guest Lecturer: M. Scott Alprin, Esq., Trademark Attorney, Armstrong, Westerman & Hattori, LLP
    2. Patents (110-113)
    3. Trademark (129-134)
  7. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY III – State law and sui generis protection
    1. Trade Secrets (136-141)
    2. International IPRs (125-127)
    1. Readings: Miller & Jentz 59-68; handouts.
    2. “Who’s in Charge”
    3. Role of Courts, Regulatory Agencies, States, International Bodies
    4. ICANN (59-68)
    5. Federal Communications Commission
    1. Conflict with IPRs
    2. Defamation (78-79)
    3. Pornography and Obscenity (101-02)
    1. Readings: Miller & Jentz 233-245, 290-292; handouts.
    2. Jurisprudential Background (Search and Seizure, etc.)
    3. Legal Obligations
    4. Personal Info Gathering and Datamining
    5. Children’s Information
    1. Guest Lecturer: David Bailey, Vice-President VGS
    2. Encryption (121, 122, 159, 389, 414)
    3. DMCA (119-127)
    4. Anonymity on the Internet
    5. Internet Culture
    6. Post-911 Responses
    7. Compliance Issues
    8. “Hack Back” legality
    1. Software Licensing (139-70, 365)
    2. Employment Agreements
    3. Corporations (304-30)
    4. Legal Documents
    5. Scenarios
    6. Anti-trust concerns and inter/intra-firm activity (431-454)
    7. Common carrier obligations
    8. ISP responsibility (90-92, 121, 206-07, 373)
    9. Legal Frameworks




Where Are Your Interests?



Systems Administration

Web Developer

Privacy (Terrorism, Pornography)

Infrastructure (ICANN, Technology Regulatory, “Code as Law”)

Hacking / Security (Carnivore)

Monitoring (CIPA)

Art (Moral Rights, Trademark, Fair Use)


Content Regulation

DMCA (Distribution, Web Streaming)




Software Developer

Business Manager


Reverse Engineering

Software Licensing (Contract, Copyright)


QA Liability (Contract Warranties)

Contract Terms

Litigation and ADR

State and Federal Compliance

Employment Concerns

Administrative Agencies



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