2000 Cyberspace Law Syllabus–Eric Goldman

Cyberspace Law/Law 5793
Professor Eric Goldman (formerly Eric Schlachter)
Santa Clara University School of Law
Spring 2000

1.    Meetings. The class meets on Monday nights from 7:30 to 9:10, except that the class will meet on Tuesday night on February 22. The first class meets on January 10 and the last class meets on April 24. Pursuant to University regulations, class will not meet on January 17 (Martin Luther King Birthday), February 21 (President’s Day) or February 28 (Spring Break).

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.

If you have taken the Ballon/Middlehurst Internet law course or Savage’s e-commerce law course, I strongly discourage you from taking this course. If you have taken or are taking Professor Hammond’s digitallaw.com or Davis/Boustani’s Internet litigation class, you will find some overlap in the course topics.

3.    Final Exam. The final exam is scheduled for May 2 at 6:00 p.m. The class will be graded based solely on the final exam. The final exam will probably be 1½ hours long with 2 questions. The exam will emphasize real life situations and problems and test your ability to come up with practical solutions.

Prior exams are available on the Internet. Note that the law may have changed since the exam was given!

Year   Exam                                                                                          Sample Answer

1999  http://eric_goldman.tripod.com/scucyberlawclass/1999final.htm   http://eric_goldman.tripod.com/scucyberlawclass/1999finalanswer.htm

1998  http://eric_goldman.tripod.com/scucyberlawclass/1998final.htm   http://eric_goldman.tripod.com/scucyberlawclass/1998finalanswer.htm

1997  http://eric_goldman.tripod.com/scucyberlawclass/1997final.htm   http://eric_goldman.tripod.com/scucyberlawclass/1997finalanswer.htm

Historically, I have given roughly 33% As and 10% Cs.

4.    Papers. I do not require a paper as part of the class. I am happy to help you on an informal basis with your papers or paper topics—just let me know how I can help. 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.

If you want me to act as your faculty advisor for an independent study, please review the following rules. (I apologize for promulgating rules about this, but prior abuses compel me to set some clear boundaries).

  • I will take no more than 3 students total, and maybe less.
  • I will only consider requests made before January 14, 2000. Please email me ASAP if you are interested.
  • I will require you to establish a schedule for completing the final version of the paper, and I will expect you to adhere faithfully to that schedule. I will also require you to handle all administrative aspects of dealing with the University requirements about the paper.
  • In addition to fulfilling the upper division writing requirement, you must commit either to publish the paper or use it towards the High Tech certificate.

5.    Email List. I have created an official email list for the class. I will use this email list for class announcements, other timely messages and occasional random postings. You must subscribe to the email list as soon as possible at cyberlaw2000-subscribe@globelists.com. The list is unmoderated, so you may post to the list freely (but please do so wisely). To do so, you can send emails tocyberlaw2000@globelists.com. PLEASE DO NOT SEND SUBSCRIPTION MESSAGES TO THE LIST! The list’s main page is at http://globelists.theglobe.com/computers_internet/law/cyberlaw2000-L/list.taf, and you can find the list archives from there.

6.    High Technology Certificate. This class is approved for credit towards the High Technology Law Certificate.

7.    Office Hours. I do not have regular office hours on campus, but students have found that I am very accessible by phone, email or appointment. Email is usually the best way to reach me, but please understand that I may not respond to emails until the weekend.

8.    Academic Freedom. Because cyberspace permits people to interact with each other in effectively unlimited ways, it is inevitable that we will discuss the seedier side of the human condition in class. If you have any concerns about this, please let me know immediately.

9.    Jobs. I would be happy to help you with your job searching efforts. To start the process, please email me your resume (in the text of an email, not as an attachment) and schedule a time to talk.

10.    Contact Information.

Eric Goldman (formerly Eric Schlachter)
Cooley Godward LLP
5 Palo Alto Square, 3000 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94306 (subject to change in February)
Phone: (650) 843-5154
Fax: (650) 857-0663 (subject to change in February)
Email: egoldman@cooley.com
Web Page: http://eric_goldman.tripod.com.  An electronic copy of this syllabus is available at that address.


This class reader is the only required reading. There are a number of general mass-market books about 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. But if you feel otherwise, please let me know and we can discuss the best supplemental resources for you.

Introduction to Cyberspace (January 10 and 24).

ACLU v. Reno (CDA I; district court ruling; facts only)                                                                          1
Cyber Promotions v. America Online (November 1996 ruling)                                                               17

Jurisdiction and Venue (January 31)

Millennium Enterprises v. Millennium Music                                                                                            27

Commerce Clause (January 31).

American Library Association v. Pataki                                                                                                  43

Contracts (February 7).

Caspi v. Microsoft Network                                                                                                                  66

Spam and Trespass (February 7 and 14).

Cooley Godward Chart of Spam Laws (by Max Ochoa)                                                                       70
Cal. Business & Professions Code §17538.4                                                                                         72
Cal. Business & Professions Code §17538.45                                                                                       74
CompuServe v. Cyber Promotions (February 1997 ruling)                                                                     77
Hotmail v. Van$ Money Pie                                                                                                                   88

Privacy and Anonymity (February 22).

Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act                                                                                               96
16 CFR Part 312 (rules implementing COPPA)                                                                                     104
GeoCities Agreement Containing Consent Order                                                                                    118

Information Torts (defamation, right of publicity/privacy, inaccurate information, harassment, gambling) (March 6).

Obscenity, Child Porn and Indecent Speech (March 13).

ACLU v. Reno (Supreme Court)                                                                                                           127
Cyberspace Communities v. Engler                                                                                                        151

Trademarks and Registrar Liability (March 20).

Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act                                                                                         164
ICANN Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy and associated Rules                                                 180
Avery Dennison v. Sumpton (9th Cir.)                                                                                                   196
Playboy v. Welles (1998 District Court)                                                                                                 210
Bally Total Fitness Holding Corp. v. Faber                                                                                             217
Lockheed Martin v. NSI (9th Cir)                                                                                                          222

Copyright, Trade Secret, Patents and Hot News (March 27 and April 3).

17 U.S.C. §512 (especially subsections (a) and (b))                                                                               231
Eric Goldman (formerly Eric Schlachter), The Intellectual Property Renaissance in Cyberspace: Why Copyright Law Could Be Unimportant on the Internet 239
Intellectual Reserve v. Utah Lighthouse Ministry                                                                                     267

Derivative Liability for Third Party Content (April 10 and 17).

17 U.S.C. §512 (especially subsections (c) and (d))                                                                               231
47 U.S.C. §230                                                                                                                                    277
Cooley Godward’s Information Technology Group, Website Provider Liability for User Content and Actions 279
Playboy v. Russ Hardenburgh                                                                                                                283
Zeran v. America Online (4th Cir.)                                                                                                         296
Lunney v. Prodigy Services (Court of Appeals ruling)                                                                             304

Computer Fraud & Abuse Act, ECPA and Other Computer Crimes (April 24).

18 U.S.C. §1030                                                                                                                                  310

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.