1998 Cyberspace Law Syllabus–Eric Goldman

Cyberspace Law
Professor Eric Goldman (formerly Eric Schlachter)
Santa Clara University School of Law
Spring 1998


1.         Meetings. The course meets Thursdays from 7:25 to 9:05 in Bannan Hall Room 139. The first class meets January 15 and the last class meets April 23. There will be no class on March 5. The final exam is scheduled for May 6 at 6:00 p.m.

2.         Prerequisites. There are no prerequisites other than first year courses. Prior background in copyright law and First Amendment law may be helpful. If you do not have prior online experience, you will need to spend significant time during the semester to obtain online experience.

3.         Grading. The course will be graded solely on the final exam. The final exam will probably be 2½ hours long and consist of 3 questions. The exam will emphasize real life situations and problems. The prior two years’ exams are included in the reader.

4.         Papers. I would be happy to work with you on papers and articles. I have included a list of possible topics in the reader.

5.         Email. Any student who has not already done so should obtain an email account. I will attempt to establish a course email list for class announcements. Your contributions to the list will be welcome.

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

7.         Professor Contact Information.

Eric Goldman (formerly Eric Schlachter)
Cooley Godward LLP
5 Palo Alto Square
3000 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, CA 94306
(650) 843-5154 (direct)
(650) 857-0663 (fax)


The only required book is this course reader. You may opt to procure one of the many cyberspace law books that are available on the market. In previous years, I have recommended Lance Rose’s bookNetLaw, but this book is out of date. Last year I also recommended Thomas Smedinghoff, Ed., Online Law: The SPA’s Legal Guide to Doing Business on the Internet, which is more current than Lance’s book but still out of date.

1.         Introduction to Cyberspace (2½ weeks).

ACLU v. Reno (district court) facts (page 14)

ACLU v. Miller (page 33)

2.                  Forming Contracts Online (½ week).

Memo on forming clickthrough agreements (page 40)

ProCD v. Zeidenberg (page 42)

Hill v. Gateway 2000 (page 49)

3.                  Trespass (½ week).

CompuServe v. Cyber Promotions (page 53)

4.                  Commerce Clause (½ week).

American Library Association v. Pataki (page 65)

5.                  Jurisdiction and Venue (1 week).

Zippo Manufacturing v. Zippo Dot Com (page 90)

Weber v. Jolly Hotels (page 99)

CyberSell v. CyberSell (page 105)

6.                  Online Information Torts (1 week) (including defamation, rights of publicity/privacy, dissemination of inaccurate information, harassment and gambling).

Missouri v. Interactive Gaming & Communications (page 113)

7.                  Obscenity, Pornography and Child Pornography (1 week).

ACLU v. Reno (page 120)

US v. Thomas (page 146)

8.                  Trademarks and Domain Names(1 week).

Intermatic v. Toeppen (page 158)

Panavision v. Toeppen (3rd case) (page 176)

Lockheed Martin v. NSI (page 181)

9.                  Copyright, Trade Secrets, Patents and Hot News (2 weeks).

Eric Goldman (formerly Eric Schlachter), The Intellectual Property Renaissance in Cyberspace: Why Copyright Law Could Be Unimportant on the Internet, 12 Berkeley Technology Law Journal 15 (1997) (page 198)

10.              Sysop Liability and Access (2 weeks).

RTC v. Netcom (page 223)

CDA Section 509 (page 243)

Zeran v. America Online (page 246)

Cyber Promotions v. America Online (page 255)

11.              ECPA and Computer Crimes (½ week).

12.              Other Resources.

Spring 1996 Exam with Sample Answer (page 265)

Spring 1997 Exam with Sample Answer and High Scoring Answer (page 275)

Cyberspace Legal Topics (page 299)