1999 Cyberspace Law Syllabus — Eric Goldman

Cyberspace Law/Law 57931
Professor Eric Goldman (formerly Eric Schlachter)
Santa Clara University School of Law
Spring 1999

1.                  Meetings. The class meets on Tuesday nights from 7:30 to 9:20. The first class is January 12 and the last class is April 27. Pursuant to University regulations, class will not meet on February 16 or March 2. The final exam is scheduled for May 8 at 1:15.

2.                  Prerequisites. This class is a general survey class in nature and thus there are no prerequisites other than completion of the first year courses. Some students have found copyright law and first amendment law classes were helpful. If you do not have experience using the Internet, you will need to gain this experience during the class.

3.                  Final Exam. The class will be graded solely on the final exam. The final exam will probably be 2 hours long with either 2 or 3 questions. The exam will emphasize real life situations and problems and test your ability to come up with practical solutions.

The 1998 exam is available at http://eric_goldman.tripod.com/scucyberlawclass/1998final.htm. The associated sample answer is athttp://eric_goldman.tripod.com/scucyberlawclass/1998finalanswer.htm.

The 1997 exam is available at http://eric_goldman.tripod.com/scucyberlawclass/1997final.htm. The associated sample answer is athttp://eric_goldman.tripod.com/scucyberlawclass/1997finalanswer.htm.

4.                  Grading. Historically, I have given roughly 33% As and 10% Cs. Grading will be dependent on whether or not the class is subject to the law school’s mandatory curve or if I must adjust my curve anyway.

5.                  Papers. No paper is required as part of the class, but many of you may be interested in writing papers or already working on papers. I would be happy to help as possible. If you are looking for a topic, consider my list of “difficult” issues at http://eric_goldman.tripod.com/scucyberlawclass/issues.htm. You should also check out my list of cyberspace law source material. Seehttp://eric_goldman.tripod.com/scucyberlawclass/tablecase.htm.

6.                  Email List. You are required to have an email account as part of the class. At the first class, I will ask you for an email address, which I will use to prepare an email list. I will use this email list for occasional class announcements, other timely messages and occasional random postings.

7.                  Certificate Program. This class is tentatively approved for credit towards the High Technology Law Certificate.

8.                  Office Hours. I do not have regular office hours on campus, but most students have found that I am very accessible by phone or email. Generally the best times to reach me are between 7 and 8:30 on Monday or Thursday evening or between 2 and 6 on Sunday afternoon. Email is usually the best way to reach me.

9.                  Academic Freedom. Because cyberspace permits people to be people, it is inevitable that we will discuss the seedier side of the human condition in the class. If you have any concerns about this, please let me know immediately.

10.              Jobs. I’d like to help with your job searching efforts. We have 3 confirmed placements out of the past 2 years’ classes, and already I have been asked to help fill at least one internship for Spring 1999. If you want my help, please email me your resume (in the text of an email, not as an attachment) and schedule a time to talk.

11.              Professor Contact Information.

Eric Goldman (formerly Eric Schlachter)
Cooley Godward LLP
Mailing Address: 5 Palo Alto Square, 3000 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94306
Physical Address: 975 Page Mill Road, Palo Alto (subject to change in February or March)
Phone: (650) 843-5154
Fax: (650) 849-7400 (subject to change in February or March)
Work Email: egoldman@cooley.com
Personal Email: ericgoldman@theglobe.com
Web Page http://eric_goldman.tripod.com. An electronic copy of this syllabus is available at the foregoing address.


This class reader is the only required reading. There are a number of general mass-market summaries of cyberspace law available. Because cyberspace law is developing so rapidly, all of these books are out-of-date to some degree, and former students have not indicated a need for a supplemental reader. So, before you fork over your hard-earned cash, let me know and we can discuss the best supplemental resources for you.

1.                  Introduction to Cyberspace (January 12 and 19).

ACLU v. Reno (district court) facts

Cyber Promotions v. America Online (November 1996 ruling)

2.                  Jurisdiction and Venue (January 26).

Zippo Manufacturing v. Zippo Dot Com

3.                  Commerce Clause (January 26).

American Library Association v. Pataki

4.                  Online Contracts (February 2).

Brower v. Gateway 2000

5.                  Spam and Trespass (February 2 and 9).

California AB 1629

California AB 1676

Nevada Senate Bill No. 13

Washington House Bill No. 2752

CompuServe v. Cyber Promo (February 1997 ruling)

Hotmail v. Van$ Money Pie

6.                  Anonymity and Privacy (February 23).

Child Online Protection Act, Title II

Eric Goldman, Drafting a Privacy Policy? Beware!

GeoCities Agreement Containing Consent Order

ACLU v. Miller

7.                  Information Torts (defamation, right of publicity/privacy, inaccurate information, harassment, gambling) (March 9).

8.                  Obscenity, Pornography and Child Pornography (March 16).

Child Online Protection Act, Title I

ACLU v. Reno (Supreme Court)

9.                  Trademarks and Registrar Liability (March 23).

Panavision v. Toeppen (9th Cir.)

Playboy v. Welles (District Court)

Lockheed Martin v. NSI

10.              Copyright, Trade Secret, Patents and Hot News (March 30 and April 6).

17 U.S.C. §512 (especially subsections (a) and (b))

Eric Goldman (formerly Eric Schlachter), The Intellectual Property Renaissance in Cyberspace: Why Copyright Law Could Be Unimportant on the Internet

11.              Liability for Third Party Content (April 13 and 20).

17 U.S.C. §512 (especially subsections (c) and (d))

47 U.S.C. §230

Cooley Godward’s Information Technology Group, Website Provider Liability for User Content and Actions

Playboy v. Russ Hardenburgh

Zeran v. America Online (4th Cir.)

12.              ECPA and Computer Crimes (April 27).

NOTE: Most of the readings listed above can be found electronically through http://eric_goldman.tripod.com/scucyberlawclass/tablecase.htm, except for articles, which can be found throughhttp://eric_goldman.tripod.com/ericgoldmanarticles/articles.htm.