'Law in the Information Age 2.0'
GENL 0231 / LAWS 3431 - Summer 2012-13
David Vaile - OMB 150
This 6 unit course was run for the first time in Summer 2010-11, as a replacement for the old 3 unit GENL0230 'Law in the Information Age' (which is not a prerequisite for this new course).
News and updates:
- Course Outline has been revised.
- Check Timetable for new and additional links to materials shown in class.
- Essay questions: are available here. See below. (11/12/12) NEW
Where: to submit the diaries and essays?
In the student counter or late box chute at the Law Faculty student centre, Level 2, Law Building F8.
- Course Outline [PDF - revised.]
- Detailed class Timetable [this site] - subject to change
- Handbook timetable: 0231 [UNSW]
- Handbook pages:
- Law cover sheet for assignments [PDF] - A cover sheet must be signed and attached to front of submissions.
There are also copies of this Cover Sheet available in paper at the law office counter, or you can download and print one from the link above.
(Please submit in hard copy to the law school student office on level 2. NB: If written permission has been given to submit electronically to confirm date of submission, say because you will not be able to be at the uni on submission date, an electronic signature is OK on a copy of this PDF, either a scanned real signature or a notation indicating intention for this to be a valid signature, such as "(signed) your name". Please also send a paper copy by later mail unless you have written permission to submit only by email.)
The printed materials for this course contain most of the required reading and details about the assessment.
This page has references to presentations, and some cases.
Media Diary - see Course Outline, above, for details (30%).
Tips: You don’t need to research the law or dig up legal rules, or attempt to apply them or give advice. It is a bare summary of the article itself, very simple. Only mention details of the law if the story itself covers them, and only summarise the issues it mentions. This is NOT an invitation to go away and do more research!
Don't beat about the bush with an intro, often you can start with what the story says: “Dr XXX, head of security at XXX Pty Ltd , recently raised concerns about disclosure of confidential info...”.
NB: Like a journalist, be specific, be concrete: make sure you use as much as possible the actual names, dates and places, document titles, product names, countries, case names etc. which are anchor the story in a specific incident or event, not just broad concepts, anonymous characters and generalities.
The Essay questions require one essay of 4,000 words (60%).
They will be available here and handed out in class.
Word count: the major essay now includes the bibliography, not excludes it, in the word count. However, make sure the bibliography is proportionate to the text, not excessively long.
Alternative: Online contribution
Contribution to online resource or similar ‘user generated’ service – Recent developments in communications and information law (60%) (60%)
This is a research project requiring students to consider recent events and developments since those documented in the course materials. The nature of the item is a contribution describing for instance a particular case, piece of legislation or specific policy debate in narrow terms, submitted to an online resource such as Wikipedia, or similar UGC host.
Students must propose a topic provided and submit in writing for approval by the course convenor by middle of first week of class, or in any case before you complete the final writing and research.
Your short proposal must identify the case, law or policy topic, and the relevant materials below. Submit the request with:
- a short title specifying the precise and narrow scope of the proposed topic (the narrower the better, not a broad summary; also check it is not already done!)
- a one sentence description explaining the scope of the proposed topic
- a reference, with URL, for the full text of the case, law or law reform report (or similar) you will be creating the item about,
- a reference to a short commentary article from a suitable expert, to demonstrate you have looked for an overview already the online service you propose to submit to (Name, jurisdiction and URL)
- confirmation you have searched already and there is either no entry on your topic; or there is one identical or very similar - if so, give title - but it is minimalist, incomplete and would benefit from thorough upgrade.
- A summary of the requirements for the highest standard of entry, such as Wikipedia’s Feature Article status, including the criteria for inclusion in that status. (Include a link to the policy of the service setting out the requirements for this highest quality submission.)
The obvious service is Wikipedia, and its Featured Article model (not just an ordinary article), but there may be others which are suitable.
Maximum length for the proposal: 1500 words on paper - note you must cite sources and summarise in your own words to demonstrate you understand what is being asked of you in relation to 6., not just copy the text from WikiPedia, without attribution!
The actual content of the online item should be the appropriate length for the highest, most complete standard of entry. There is no fixed length. You do not need to be excessive.
Deadline: Wed 21 December Friday 13 January 2012 - online submission (subject to confirmation in class).
You will be assessed on:
- your understanding of the law
- understanding of the policy or practical context
- quality and originality of ideas
- evidence of understanding of the significance of the topic
- quality of writing and presentation – organisation, argument, economy
- the basics including grammar, punctuation, spelling and clear expression.
As they become available, Powerpoint presentations for certain classes will be posted here.
- Introduction [PPT] - Wiki hoax - TED
- Media and Communications regulation (John Corker) [PPT]
- Telcos and NBN (Raiche) [PPT]
- Introduction to e-Commerce [PPT]
- Broadband (Raiche) [PPT]
- Consumer Protection (ACCC) [PPT]
- Privacy (Vaile) [HTML] based on paper materials
- Defamation - see below for suggested cases
- Content Regulation (David Vaile) [PPT]
- Copyright and 'Intellectual Property' (David Vaile) [RTF]
See also the detailed timetable for extra links to supplementary material and topics.
Some of the cases listed in the Defamation Law Guide may be hard
to track down, too old or generic. Some interesting additional cases:
Using the Wrong Term
Lenox Hewitt v Queensland Newspapers Pty Limited No. SC283 of 1993  ACTSC 54
Tarring with the same brush
Chakravarti v Advertiser Newspapers Limited  HCA 37
Thompson v Australian Capital Television Pty Ltd & Ors  HCA 38 (10 December 1996)
Other cases which are either legally important or about real life
people and events students may have some familiarity with:
Dow Jones & Company Inc v Gutnick  HCA 56
Nationwide News Pty Ltd v Sleeman  NSWCA 349
John Fairfax Publications Pty Ltd v O'Shane  NSWCA 164
Costello and Abbott v Random House Pty ltd  ACTSC 13 (5 March 1999)
Vincenzo Bellino vAustralian Broadcasting Corporation F.C. 96/008  HCA 34 (20 June 1995)
For more information contact David Vaile d.vaile [at] unsw.edu.au