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GENL 2032, LAWS3532
Cyberspace Law


Session 2, 2014 -- Tuesdays 10-1
UNSW Kensington, venue: Quad G032

Course home page - Course notes

Announcements & News

This page covers class timetable, resources, assessment, plagiarism etc.

  • Materials will be progressively available on Moodle.
  • There is a two week gap (the Law Faculty's Reading Week starting 22 September, and the UNSW mid session break the week after).
  • Timetable has Reading materials linked from the entry for the relevant week's class, so please check there for content and updates.
  • The course materials are available at from links in the Timetable at http://cyberlawcentre.org/genl2032/timetable_s2.htm
  • Case Summaries List (judgements for your briefing note) available Week 3, due COB Friday Week 8. See Assessment below, for a link to the cases list, and see also the Case tips page, for more details. Please use a Cover Sheet.
  • Essay Topics available end of week 5. Due COB Friday Week 12. See below for more details.
  • Course entry in the UNSW Virtual Handbook; Course outline.
  • Other UNSW Law General Education courses.
  • REMINDER: The summary of the judgment (case study/briefing note) is due on Week 9, close of business, in hard copy to student counter or chute at level 2 of law building.
  • The 'Notes' links in the Timetable can assist access to the materials.


The Cyberspace Law 2.0 course consists of 12 classes. The classes run with a short break. There is no class in Week 9.
Timetable (check the week of the class).

The venue is at UNSW Kensington Campus, in the room specified at top of this page.


The course is coordinated and taught by David Vaile, with guest lectures from time to time.

David Vaile

Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre
UNSW Law Faculty
Room 153, Centres Precinct, Law Building F8, lower campus
Ph: (02) 9385 3589
Ffax: (02) 9385 1778 (not preferred; confirm transmission before by email or phone)
Email: d.vaile [at] unsw.edu.au
(Email is the preferred communication channel; any other may require prior arrangement.)

Course Web site

This course Web home page is http://cyberlawcentre.org/genl2032/

It can be accessed from the Centre's home page. Content will be progressively avialable on Moodle.


Reading guides for most topics are available on line linked from the Cyberlaw course materials web site. (This is secured site for students only: username and password is provided in class, or by email.)

[Note that the materials are being transitioned to Moodle. Details will be provided in class if and when materials are available on that platform.]

There is no text book for the course.

A useful introduction to the legal system for those with no prior understanding: Understanding the Australian Legal System, John Carvan, 6th ed., LawBook Co, 2009. (University bookshop or library). We will not teach from this, but it, or something like it, is essential prerequisite knowledge about the legal system if you do not have it already.

You can always look at legal dictionary or legal encycylopedia. LexisNexis AU (find via Library My Databases search) has both (Dictionary and Halsbury's Laws of Australia), Thomson/WestLaw AU has The Laws of Australia encyclopedia.

For students wishing to consider additional materials, the following may be of interest, particularly the first:

  • Jay Forder and Dan Svantesson, Internet and e-commerce law, Oxford UP, 2008

  • Brian Fitzgerald, Anne Fitzgerald, E Clark, G Middleton, YF Lim, Internet and E-commerce Law, Business and Policy, LawbookCo. (Thomson Reuters), 2011. (1300 page reference work.)

Citation: You should cite any published documentary sources to which you refer, whether hard copy or online, using any consistent and accepted system with which you are familiar. In many instances you may need to refer to a particular page or paragraph, not just the document as a whole. A URL is not an adequate citation, it is an optional component after you have identified the critical bibliographic elements such as author, title of the particular item, date published or last substantially updated, publisher, larger publication within which it appears etc.

Strictly correct citation of legal case decisions or legislative Acts is preferred, but not obligatory in this introductory course. For those wishing to cite properly, the most commonly accepted Australian standard is the Melbourne University Law Review Association, Australian Guide to Legal Citation (AGLC), 3rd ed, Melbourne, MULRA (March 2010) <http://mulr.law.unimelb.edu.au/go/AGLC3/> [view-only PDF].

Expression and standards

Note that a high standard of basic spelling, punctuation, grammar and clear English expression will be expected, suitable for copy that might be submitted to a popular publication. If you have difficulties or limited skill in this area, please take extra care to review your material before submission, for instance by using all the available spelling and grammar checking aids in your editing software, as well as those available in hard copy. See Lynne Truss, Eats, Shoots and Leaves, Profile, 2005 for a painless (and humorous!) guide to good punctuation.


(This is based on the material in the course outline.) The assessment for this course consists of the components below: a briefing note and a short problem-style research essay. There is also an optional contribution to an online service, at the highest quality standard, with a reduction in essay length. Note that the configuration for assessment will be discussed and finalised in the first few classes to consider variations, including the online option.

10% participation – This is on the basis of attendance, preparation and well informed participation in discussions, and in particular engagement with the thinking and discussion required to plan the Web 2.0 service.

30% Case summary submission of a short (max 2-3 page, 1000 words) Briefing Note describing and explaining the decision or judgement in a relevant dispute or court case. Pick one from a Case studies list provided in class and posted here.

Each student will be allocated a case from a list and provided with some background information.

The List of possible cases is available [ here ] in week 3. The Briefing Note must be submitted by Wednesday of Week 8. The marked papers will be avialable several weeks later.

There is a page of tips explaining how to write such a case study, in addition to the notes on the List page.

You can choose your own case not on the List, but you must request to do this in writing, with the name and date of the case decision, the court and jurisdiction, and a working link the full text of the decision and reasons.

Cover sheet: So they can be properly identified, please attach to all submissions a standard Law Faculty Undergraduate Assignment Cover Sheet, available at the counter on level 2, via the law web site student page, or at this Cover Sheet link. If this is not attached, they may not be marked.
Submit to the student counter on level 2 of the Law Building, F8, lower campus off the main walkway near Anzac Parade. Go up escalators to level 1 and then around and up one set of stairs to level 2, or use lift. Counter is inside the glass reception area.

60% Research Essay - Hypothetical advice 3,000 words plus annotated bibliography.

The essay is an opportunity to provide hypothetical advice to someone about how to deal with a problem they have in the cyberlaw area, as if you are their legal advisor. You will need to refer to materials on a specific course topic, including cases or laws. A selection of [ Essay Topics ] is available from end of week 3, or you can select your own topic with prior approval from the course coordinator. The essay page also has notes about how to do the assignment.

Students must submit the essay by the end of Week 12 (before Close of Business, say 3pm on Friday).

Please submit it, in hard copy (paper), to the Law School office counter on Level 2 of the Law Building (F8). Make sure you keep a digital copy in case there is a problem with the paper version, and keep that backed up.

Cover sheet: Please attach a Law Faculty Undergraduate Assignment Cover Sheet to all submissions. Cover sheets are available from the law faculty counter on level 2, via Law web site's student page, or at this Cover Sheet link.

Please retain a soft copy (digital file) of your submissions, created and last modified on or before the submission date, for 2 months after the due date, as a backup in case of mishap.

Online contribution (optional) - Wikipedia Featured Article candidate - 60%

An alternative to the essay hypothetical requires two tasks:

(a) create a new Wikipedia page (but only if there is no identical existing page) on an aspect or case in Cyberspace law. It should be a viable candidate for Featured Article status based on its quality and compliance with the criteria. Discuss the potential topic with the teacher and get agreement on scope before commencing.

(b) in a short commentary essay, describe and analyse the Wikipedia 'Featured Article' standard <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Featured_article_criteria> compared to ordinary Wikipedia content (especially its unsuitability as a reference as to the truth of its contents). Remember to cite your sources fully and don't just paste the criteria, summarise and explain them.

Please discuss with the lecturer if you are interested. This is not an easier option! You will be required to iteratively develop and refine a content plan based on agreed topic and scope.


This course will take a very strict approach to un-attributed copying and plagiarism in both the essay and the briefing note. For this reason, and as a matter of good practice for law, academic or other document-centric writing, you should not hesitate to footnote or reference the source for all ideas, quotes or explanations you obtain from elsewhere, as well as legal documents like case judgments and laws.

Note also that unless specifically justified, only reputable published sources should be used as references. Anonymous online sources such as Wikipedia should be avoided as references to support the veracity of anything said there, though you may find they sometimes point to useful authoritative sources.

See other UNSW resources on how to avoid plagiarism.

Other law general courses

See the Law General Education page for links to other general education courses.


URL of this page: http://www.cyberlawcentre.org/genl2032/