Information and Law

Takehiro OHYA Professor

Department: School of Law / Graduate School of Law

Class Time: 2005 Spring
Recommended for: Law School students

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Course Contents

Along with studying our present 'information society' and the various legal issues that arise from it, we will investigate the nature of our information-oriented society and the development of information technology means for us. In particular, we will look at these issues from a theoretical viewpoint, to see how they have affected the values and ideas in our society, as well as identifying their relation to existing legislation. This course will generally be lecture-based, although there will be classes to explain the technological knowledge required for the course, as well as assignments that allow students to practice what they have learnt.

Key Features

For this subject, it is important that students participate fully in the lectures. Because there is not a substantial amount of teaching materials available for students' self-study, and because this class requires a large amount of basic knowledge, this course puts importance on lectures. The main objective of this course is to provide students with the ability and perspective to grasp the problems concerning our information-oriented society, which typically involves a wide range of laws, including civil law, criminal law and constitutional law.

For this, I will not just be choosing problems that have been widely looked at, but will also explain basic sociological and philosophical theories for examination and understanding. Students should be able to then think about the future and legislation while constantly acquiring knowledge on the existing legal system.

The style in which the lessons are conducted limits evaluation methods to exams. To judge students' abilities to think logically and express their own opinions, I took care in choosing questions that require them to write long opinions on general problems.

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Course Outline

Along with studying our present 'information society' and the various legal issues that arise from it, we will investigate the nature of our information-oriented society and the development of information technology means for us. In particular, we will look at these issues from a theoretical viewpoint, to see how they have affected the values and ideas in our society, as well as identifying their relation to existing legislation. This course will generally be lecture-based, although there will be classes to explain the technological knowledge required for the course, as well as assignments that allow students to practice what they have learnt.

Course Aims

In this course, students will;

  1. acquire precise knowledge about the current legal issues surrounding our information-oriented society
  2. develop various ways of thinking about theories on our information-oriented society
  3. learn how to carry out a theoretical analysis on society
  4. acquire a certain amount of knowledge about information technology

Textbooks

None. Teaching materials will be distributed.

Course Requirements and Recommended Courses

This course does not involve the handling of any information or network devices, so it is not necessary to have learned how to use them.

Related Resources

Most of the books used in this course are in Japanese. However, there are also some articles from English-speaking countries, which are shown below:

Lessons 2-3

Michal Hauben and Ronda Hauben, Netizens: On the History and Impact of Usenet and the Internet, IEEE Computer Society Press, 1997

Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, trans. and eds., Harvey C. Mansfield and Delba Winthrop, University of Chicago Press, 2000

Lessons 4-6

Shelby Steele, The Content of Our Character: A New Vision of Race in America. Harper Perennial, 1991

Lessons 7-8

K.K.Campbell, "A Net Conspiracy So Immense.... Chatting with Martha Siegel of the Internet's Infamous Canter & Singel"

Lecture 9

Simon Singh, The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography. Anchor, 2000

Lessons 11-12

Lawrence Lessig, CODE: and Other Laws of Cyberspace, Basic Books, 1999

Theodor Holm Nelson, Literary Machines, 1981

Lessons 13-14

Fully Licensed GmbH, "Inside Windows Product Activation: A Fully Licensed Paper", 2001

Pamela Samuelson, Randall Davis, Mitchell D. Kapor and Jerome H. Raichman, "A Manifesto Concerning the Legal Protection of Computer Programs", Columbia Law Review, vol. 94, 1994, pp.76-91

Course Schedule

Session Topic Lecture Aims Homework
1 'Information-oriented society' and 'information' Understanding the meaning of the phrase 'information-oriented society', as well as the definition and properties of the word 'information' Study the following reference books- Yukihiro Furuse & Katsuya Hirose: A Society Transformed by the Internet and Jun Murai: Internet, Internet II
2 Information-oriented society and the state (1) Understanding principal theories such as the Information Democracy theory, the Digital Divide theory, and the Computerized World theory. Study the following reference books- Katsuya Hirose: 'Information Revolution' and Power: The Rivalry of Supremacy, Anarchy, and Democratization, Tadamasa Kimura: What is the Digital Divide: Towards a 'Consensus Community', Tohru Nishigaki: Sacred Virtual Reality: Theorizing Social Information Systems
3 Information-oriented society and the state (2) Critically discussing existing theories. Study the following reference books- Toshiki Sato: Neumann's Dream: Modern Greed: Dismantling our Information-Oriented Society, Takehiro Ohya: Networks and Multi-layered Communities
4 Networking and Discourse Space (1) Recognizing discourse problems created by the spreading and expansion of networks. Study these related (law) precedents before class: NIFTY-Serve Case (Tokyo High Court judgment H13.9.5) NIFTY-Serve Second Case (Tokyo District Court judgment H13.8.27)
5 Networking and Discourse Space (2) Understanding legal theory related to discourse, such as libel, privacy, 'more speech', and the chilling effect. Study the following reference books- Kazuyuki Takahashi: The Internet and Freedom of Speech, Takehiro Ohya: Privacy and Intent
6 Networking and Discourse Space (3) Understanding philosophical and sociological theory used to analyze discourse on the internet. Study the following reference books- Satoshi Ichikawa: 'Readiness and Pride': What did it Mean by the Fight in "Contemporary Idea Forum"? Masachi Ohsawa: Theories on Electronic Media: Media Transformation of Body
7 Networking and Governability (1) Recognizing security issues that arise from computerization, for example, security infringements and spam mail. Understanding the relation between security issues and state doctrine. Investigate issues with spam mail using examples and related documents.
8 Networking and Governability (2) Understanding the Power Theory using issues with security as subject material. Look into related discussions.
9 Information and Security Acquiring technical knowledge of security issues, such as codes and data mining. Understanding sociological and legal theories on the analysis of security issues.Supplementary materials: Security on the Internet Study the following reference books- Simon Singh: Reading Codes: From the Rosetta Stone to Quantum Coding, Hirotaka Fujiwara (ed.): Cyber Space and Legal Regulations: How free is the Internet?
10 Information and Intellectual Property Rights Understanding the framework and system of intellectual property rights and their justifications as incentive theory and natural rights theory. Study any related laws before the class
11 Transformation of Copyright Law (1) Understanding information transference technology that preceded copyright law, and its recent transformation with digital technology. Study the following reference books- Nobuhiro Nakayama: Multimedia and Copyright, M. McLuhan: The Gutenberg Galaxy
12 Transformation of Copyright Law (2) Understanding the information technology that deals with digitalization, as well as theoretical issues concerning the law. Look into related discussions.
13 Legal Protection of Software (1) Understanding the controversies and problems on the legal protection of software Study the following reference book- Naoki Koizumi: American Copyright Law
14 Legal Protection of Software (2) Understanding the theoretical precedents of intellectual property law and the legal theories that analyze its limits. Study the following reference book- Lawrence Lessig: CODE: and other laws of cyberspace
15 Summary / Final Examination

Grading

Students will be evaluated solely on the end of term examination; however the results from various assignments will be taken into account.

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Lecture Handouts

Note: The following files are in Japanese.

Session 1
Information society and information (PDF, 269KB)
Session 2,3
Information society and the State (PDF, 367KB)
Session 4,5,6
Networks and discourse space (PDF, 769KB)
Session 7,8
Networks and governability (PDF, 1030KB)
Session 9
Information and security (PDF, 301KB)
supplementary notes: 'Security on the Internet' (PDF, 285KB)
Session 10
Information and intellectual property rights (PDF, 197KB)
Session 11,12
Transformation of Copyright Law (PDF, 327KB)
Session 13,14
Legal protection of software (PDF, 552KB)

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Page last updated January 20, 2014

The class contents were most recently updated on the date indicated. Please be aware that there may be some changes between the most recent year and the current page.

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