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MSc Innovation, Technology & the Law (Option for distance learning - Distance

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  • Objectives
    This programme aims to promote advanced knowledge and understanding of the relationships between law, technology, commerce and society in the widest possible sense. It explores the role of law in responding to, regulating and promoting new and emerging technologies, and also emphasises the role of technology in supporting and guiding legal and judicial processes. The focus of the degree is on the international nature of the subject matter and each course offers a comparative analysis of current legal developments.
  • Entry requirements
    Entry Requirements A UK 2:1 honours degree or its equivalent if outside the UK. English language standard: 7.00 IELTS or equivalent.
  • Academic Title
    MSc Innovation, Technology & the Law
  • Course description
    Learning Outcomes

    Having completed the programme, students will emerge with an understanding of technology-related law and technology support for legal processes, not just in their legal but also their commercial, social, ethical and cultural contexts.

    How You Will Be Taught

    Courses are usually assessed by essays and other coursework, such as problem based exercises. Students will access all course material and interact with their tutors and fellow students via eScript, our online learning environment. Candidates are also required to design and write an approved 10,000-word dissertation in an area covered by the courses in the dedicated programme. The learning process is didactic, seminar based and research-focused.

    Distance Learning Information

    Students successful in their coursework (assessed by essays and ongoing assessment) must then complete a supervised dissertation of approximately 10,000 words on an approved topic in Innovation, Technology and the Law.

    The Programme

    The degree of LLM in Innovation, Technology and Law offers advanced study of a range of law or law-related subjects, with an opportunity to develop more detailed knowledge, understanding and research skills in a chosen dissertation topic. This unique degree programme explores the role of the law in responding to, regulating, and promoting new and emerging technologies. The courses on offer allow students to examine legal, ethical and regulatory issues as these relate to a number of technology-related fields, including information technology, intellectual property, biotechnology, medical sciences, audio-visual media and artificial intelligence. The core subjects of the degree are intended to provide an advanced knowledge of domains where law engages with technology, laying a foundation for a specialised dissertation. By the end of their studies for this degree, students will have acquired a high level of knowledge in the field of law and technology and a sophisticated awareness of the problems in the area and the differing approaches to their solution The LLM in Innovation, Technology and the Law Programme Director is Dr Charlotte Waelde.

    The Format

    Candidates for the degree of LLM in Innovation, Technology and Law must take 160 credits during their period of study of which 120 credits is made up of taught and distance learning courses and modules and 60 credits for the dissertation.  At least 80 credits must be taken from the courses listed above of which no more than 40 credits (20 in each semester) may be attributable to distance learning modules.

    Candidates must then choose a third course worth 40 credits or two modules worth 20 credits each, which may be chosen from one of the 40 credit courses or 20 credit modules listed above or from any other course or module offered for the degree of LLM.  Note however that certain courses and modules may restrict access to students studying for another nominate degree, such as the LLM in Commercial Law
    The Courses

    The following modules and courses will be offered for the LLM in Innovation Technology and the Law in the academic year 2008/09:

    20 credit courses

    Semester 1

        * E-Commerce
        * European Media Law and Policy
        * Intellectual Property 1: Copyright and Related Rights
        * Public Law and New Technologies

    Semester 2

        * Current Issues in EU Law and Practice
        * Intellectual Property 2: Industrial Property
        * Law and Journalism
        * Legal Challenges of Information Technologies


    40 credit courses (Semesters 1 and 2)

        * Medical Jurisprudence

    40 Credits may also be studied via two of the following  modules from the LLM(s) by distance learning each of which is worth 20 credits:

    Semester 1

        * Information: Control and Power
        * International Intellectual Property System
        * International Public Health: Law and Security
        * Information Technology, Investigation and Evidence

    Semester 2

        * Managing Intellectual Property
        * Biotechnology: Law and Society
        * Information Technology and Legal Reasoning

    Outline of Courses

    ON-CAMPUS MODULES

    Semester 1, 20 credit modules

    Intellectual Property 1 – Copyright and Related Rights

    The purpose of this module is to consider the law relating to copyright, design right, breach of confidence, and performers' rights within their institutional setting at international, European and national level. Recent years have witnessed an expansion in the scope of intellectual property rights, and having examined the institutional setting in which policy is formed, the reach and impact of these rights within individual territories will be analysed as will the impact of European competition law on the exercise of these. The teaching sessions will also highlight areas of particular topicality such as: moral rights; personality rights; and the interaction between copyright and the internet.

    E-Commerce

    This module aims to provide the student with an in-depth look at the legal issues surrounding electronic commerce, particularly Business-to-Consumer (B2C), Business-to-Business (B2B), and Consumer to Consumer (C2C). The module starts looking at the more traditional legal issues surrounding business in an electronic format, particularly the formal validity of electronic transactions, security and authentication, contract formation and electronic payment systems. The course then covers consumer issues, such as data protection and privacy. The module will then analyse in depth litigation strategies in the shape of online dispute resolution and jurisdiction, and will finish with new legal topics in electronic commerce, including commerce in so-called virtual worlds, and open licences.

    European Media Law and Policy

    Increasingly, the rules governing the operation of the print and audiovisual media in Europe are being determined by the European Union and the Council of Europe.  This module offers an introduction to these institutions and explores why they have come to play such an important role in regulating the mass media.  This role may seem particularly surprising in the context of the European Union, given that neither the European Community Treaty, nor the Treaty on European Union, directly addresses the mass media.  Why, then, is the European Union involved in issues ranging from the allocation of the radio spectrum to the number of minutes of advertising allowed in each hour of television broadcasting? In substantive terms, the module examines the impact of European law on, firstly, the structure of media markets and, secondly, on the content of media services.  In relation to structural matters, consideration will be given to the role of the EU in relation to media ownership and state funding of public service broadcasting. In relation to content controls, the module will examine the Television Without Frontiers and Electronic Commerce Directives and the development of European rules relating to advertising, child protection, and hate speech. Throughout the course students will be encouraged to consider:  i) the impact of growing convergence between the audiovisual, telecommunications and computing sectors on traditional regulatory structures, and ii) the impact of regional rules on established national regulatory systems and goals.

    Public Law and New Technologies

    This course investigates the relationship between traditional issues in public law scholarship and the emerging challenges and opportunities created by ICTs (information and communication technologies). It explores the ways in which new technologies alter (or perhaps, don't alter) the modes and practices of public law. Novel issues such as e-democracy (including e-voting), e-governance and the digital divide will be studies from both legal, political scientific and comparative perspectives. It also examines how long standing concerns in constitutional law are impacted by ICTs, e.g. free speech/political communication online, ICTs and privacy rights, the quality (rather than the quality) of democratic politics and how ICTs change the nature of political financing. The course will seek to answer questions as to whether new forms of democracy are being generated by new technologies, whether ICTs can/do delivery on their potential of creating 'ideal speech situations', and whether ICTs allow us to do 'new things' in public law, or just new ways of doing 'old things'.
     
    Semester 2 – 20 credit modules

    Current Issues in EU Law and Practice

    This course seeks to build upon prior knowledge of EU law acquired through undergraduate study by engaging intellectually with problems at the cutting-edge of EU legal practice and policy-making. It seeks also to harness in a more structured way the unique perspective offered by the very rich programme of Europa Institute speakers and external teachers. In 2008-2009, this course will focus on the judgment in T-201/04 Microsoft v Commission (judgment of the Court of First Instance, 17 September 2007), looking at the issues raised from a variety of perspectives: competition law, intellectual property rights, law and new technology, procedural and judicial protection, and so on. Note: Pre-requisite Requirement - Study of European Union law at undergraduate level
     
    Intellectual Property 2 – Industrial Property

    The purpose of this module is to consider the laws relating to patents, trade marks, passing off, and breach of confidence within their institutional setting at International, European and national levels. Recent years have witnessed an expansion in the scope of these intellectual property rights, and having examined the institutional setting in which policy is formed, the reach and impact of these rights within individual territories as well as their movement between territories will be analysed. The seminars will also highlight areas of particular topicality where these rights are having a particularly strong impact. These areas include: access to medicines, biotechnology, domain names and the protection of computer programs.

    The Legal Challenges of Information Technologies

    This module aims to deliver a challenging perspective on the wide range of legal questions posed by information technologies as they continue to develop; and to provide students with a fresh perspective on law and technologies and an appreciation of the extent to which legal questions must be viewed broadly. The module will explore different approaches to regulation, providing a platform for analysis of the wide-ranging legal fields which are relevant.  The module will then consider the ongoing relevance of intellectual property to new technologies: peer generated content and downloading are taken as examples, and we will then explore the extent to which intellectual property might be sidelined by DRM and anti-circumvention technologies.  The historical and present position in respect of domain names will be considered, together with the relationship between domain names and internet governance.  Potential for civil and criminal liability  - from users to creators to service providers – will be then considered, for example in respect of defamation, pornography and terrorism, together with the extent to which these issues can properly be considered by decision makers in different jurisdictions, both real and virtual.   Finally, the module will consider the impact on evolving information technologies of competition law and different forms of standardisation (with particular reference to, at present, Microsoft, Apple and Google), and of human rights (with particular reference to the digital divide).

    Law and Journalism

    This module considers the various ways in which law can both empower and restrict editors and journalists in carrying out their activities.  In particular, it addresses the impact of human rights on the print, broadcast and electronic media, paying particular regard to both the European Convention on Human Rights and the Human Rights Act 1998.  Although the focus of the course will be on the UK, a comparative approach will be adopted with reference to a number of other jurisdictions. The module has a number of key themes.  Firstly, it explores the role and responsibilities of journalists in a changing media environment.  Should journalists, for example, be under an obligation to provide balanced and impartial reports and, if so, how can this obligation enforced?  What approach should journalists take in times of crisis or war and what protection, if any, does the law provide when they report from conflict zones?  Secondly, how do specific human rights, notably the right to freedom of expression, affect this role?  How have courts sought to balance the interests of the press in freedom of expression with the interests of individuals in the protection of, for example, their privacy and reputation?  Thirdly, what rights do journalists have to access information from official sources and to what extent are they able to maintain the confidentiality of their sources?  There will be scope to address other topical issues as they arise. The module should be of interest not only to those considering working in the media field but also to those interested more generally in exploring the role of the press in society.
     
    Semesters 1 and 2 – 40 credit course

    Medical Jurisprudence

    The primary function of the course is to discuss the relationship between the law and the practice of medicine with particular emphasis on modern developments in the latter.   The law must be founded on sound moral principles; moreover, medicine is, in many ways, running in advance of legal precedent – witness the growth of genetic diagnostic and investigative methods   On several counts, therefore, the issues must also be considered on an ethical plane and this aspect will be emphasised repeatedly.   Thus, there is an apparent concentration on reproductive medicine and this is because it is a field which raises many moral issues.   At the other end of life, attitudes to death are changing while, at the same time, there have been very significant advances in resuscitation techniques and in the medical capacity to influence the natural process of dying; as a result, the subject of euthanasia now stands very high on the medico-legal agenda.   Between these two extremes, several controversial areas will be covered, particular importance being laid on current concepts of consent to and refusal of medical treatment.

    MODULES BY DISTANCE LEARNING

    Semester 1 – 20 credit courses

    International Intellectual Property System (IIPS)

    The IIPS began developing in the 19th Century in response to the then advances in cross-border trade. As intellectual property laws are territorial, so some mechanism had to be found through which protection could be accorded to authors and inventors as their works were traded abroad. The response, over the ensuing 150 years, was the establishment of a number of international bodies responsible for the development and oversight of a variety of Treaties and Agreements providing both formal and substantive norms which were (and are) in turn translated into domestic law. These measures have had a significant impact on the shape of domestic intellectual property laws, the development of which has quickened with the growth in international trade coupled with innovative technological advances.  However there are significant tensions within the system.  Many of these have been brought about through linking of IP with trade through the TRIPs Agreement. This module will examine the IIPS with a particular focus on patents, copyright and trade marks and within the domains of information and communication and international trade. Having analysed the architecture of the IIPS and considered the ways in which the laws are developed and the tensions that have been brought about through linking IP with trade, this module will go on to look in depth at formal and substantive aspects of the Treaties as well as current developments. Please Note: This module will not cover in any depth substantive aspects of IP law except where they are relevant in the context of the IIPS.  It is assumed that students have a basic knowledge of IP law prior to taking this module.  If the student has no background knowledge then it is highly recommended that they read Contemporary Intellectual Property:  Law and Policy, MacQueen, Waelde and Laurie, OUP 2007 or Lionel Bently and Brad Sherman, Intellectual Property Law, 2nd ed, Oxford University Press: Oxford, 2004. The Introduction should be read in preparation, and then the chapters as they relate to discussion during this module.

    Information: Control and Power

    This module will investigate, through a range of legal disciplines and perspectives, the growing focus placed on, and value attached to, information by society and individuals; concerns as to its control and misuse; and the impact of this on business and government, particularly in the light of the opportunities and challenges of evolving technologies. The module will consider legal regimes relating to freedom of information and data protection; the extent to which present systems conform to expectations in respect of information privacy and access, and environmental progress; the extent to which intellectual property rights can and do exist in respect of basic data and information, and the consequences of this, particularly in the light of new means of obtaining and recording information; human rights law and policy, with particular reference to privacy, open media, freedom of expression and access to education; ethical issues; the ability of competition law and policy to intervene in respect of misuse of information and its control by individuals, companies and groups, by the use of existing and ground breaking technologies; the impact of the WTO, GATS and free trade agreements; and the possible impact of different regulatory structures. A wide ranging international approach will be adopted, with contributions sought from students in respect of their own jurisdictions.

    International Public Health: Law and Security

    This course examines international, regional and domestic legal regimes as they relate to the protection and promotion of public health and security.

    The course is run over 10 sessions divided over three major themes; A) International Public Health: Law and Policy B) Public Health, Private Lives & Security and C) Public Health Aspects of Medical Research. Section A lays out the international framework for legal regulation of public health, invoking roles for both the UN and WHO and dealing with issues such as contingency plans to respond to SARS and Avian Flu and health promotion models regarding food and tobacco advertising. Section B focuses specifically on legal responses to threats and attacks on public health, as well as on measures to use personal data (such as DNA or biometrics) to counter such threats. Finally, Section C considers initiatives to promote public health through research, such as the establishment of population-wide genetic databases, and the attendant legal and ethical issues.

    Information Technology, Investigation and Evidence

    The "Information technology, investigation and evidence" module covers the process of criminal investigation from the commission of the first crime to the point at which a charge can be brought against a suspected criminal, focusing on technology support for the gathering of evidence for crimes. It shows how technology can be used to identify links between criminals; to discern temporal or geographical patterns in crimes; to assist in identity recognition from biometrics; to help investigators consider multiple scenarios rather than focusing too closely on one hypothesis; and to understand the context of evidence extracted from databases to avoid potential miscarriages of justice. The module also covers methods for fraud prevention and detection, and for legal compliance, in a commercial environment; the use of electronic discovery methods for analysing large volumes of online documents; searching the Internet for 'suspect' websites; and issues surrounding technologies for facial reconstruction.

    Semester 2 – 20 credit courses

    Managing Intellectual Property

    This module will enable you to apply knowledge of IP law in a practical context. The course will give you an understanding of how IP is identified, managed, protected, and exploited in a commercial setting as well as introducing you to litigation mechanisms through which rights can be enforced. The role of competition law will also be studied, focusing on its role in informing the exercise of intellectual property rights. International, European and national materials will be applied in addition to case studies, which will enable you to gain an appreciation of the complexities involved in managing intellectual property in practice. Practicing solicitors with expertise in different areas of intellectual property law have helped to develop the sessions within this module, and the 'Return to the Lost World' case study that we will be working through as a class in the course of this module.

    Biotechnology: Science and Society

    This course examines the role played by law in the regulation of biotechnology. The course draws out two central problems relating to the use of law in this dynamic field. First, it is often difficult for regulators to keep pace with rapid advances in biotechnology and the life sciences. This means that existing legal concepts and regulatory frameworks can soon appear outmoded and inadequate. Second, in an age of moral pluralism, it can be difficult for stakeholders to secure social consensus on how new biotechnologies should be controlled and exploited. As a result, the regulation of biotechnology has often been a site of sharp political disagreement. This module examines how these fundamental tensions are mediated within the legal and regulatory structures governing biotechnology at both the national and international levels.

    Information Technology and Legal Reasoning

    Information Technology & Legal Reasoning examines technology systems that are available to support lawyers, law enforcement officials and judges from the point at which a case is prepared to the point of sentencing. It looks at systems to support mediation; systems that represent legal arguments graphically; systems that support case preparation, case management, documents and intelligent information retrieval; systems that can be used in courtrooms; and systems to support sentencing. The course looks at the principles underlying each of these systems, from game theory to semantic indexing and from deontic logic to ontology.

    Further information on other courses currently offered by the Law School can be found here.

    Note: while every effort is made to ensure that all courses which are indicated as being on offer will be taught, the University reserves the right to alter the list of offerings in order to respond to staff changes and other similar developments.

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