Information for Prospective Students

Harvard Law School students may register for the Cyberlaw Clinic during the fall or spring for two, three, or four credits or the winter for two credits.  The Clinic strongly encourages students to enroll for three credits during the fall and spring to ensure the fullest experience, but two credits are acceptable if that is all a student’s schedule will allow.  Students must work an average of five hours per week, per credit for which they are enrolled.  Please contact Cyberlaw Clinic staff if you have any questions about credits and expected time commitments.

Enrollment for the 2013-2014 academic year took place during the spring of 2013. For updated information on registration and clinical policies for all Harvard Law School clinics, please visit the HLS Office of Clinical and Pro Bono Programs website.

The Cyberlaw Clinic usually accepts a small number of summer interns. Application information for summer 2014 internships will be available on the Berkman Center website in late-2013 or early-2014.

Students enrolled during fall 2013, winter 2014, or spring 2014 must have previously completed or concurrently take at least one of the following classes:

Communications & Internet Law & Policy (Benkler)

The course will provide an introduction and overview to questions of communications and Internet law and policy. The first half of the semester will be dedicated to lecture and in-class discussion to provide background and overview of major issues. The second half of the course will involve a workshop experience; students will work in groups to develop a policy paper each week, on a different subject, and share their findings and paper with the other students through in-class presentations. The topics are selected so that by following their own, and other student’s presentations, students will receive an overview of the major topics currently at stake in communications and Internet law and policy, and will also develop an in-depth familiarity with a subset of the issues through intensive high-intensity research, discussion, and presentation.  [details]

Controlling Cyberspace (Zittrain)

Why does the Internet environment exist in the form it does today? What does its future, and the future of online life in general, look like? To what extent is this future malleable? Governments, corporate intermediaries, and hackers are empowered to different degrees by the space, and their interests and strengths are often in tension. This class uses academic as well as non-traditional texts to engender a broader understanding of Internet culture and technology, with an eye towards mapping informed choices about the future. [details]

Copyright (Fisher)

This course will explore copyright law in depth. Approximately two thirds of the class time and readings will be devoted to the American copyright system; the remainder will be devoted to the major relevant multilateral treaties and to the laws pertaining to copyright and “neighboring rights” in other countries. Substantial attention will be paid to the efforts by philosophers and economists to justify, reform, or abolish the copyright system. Students will be expected to participate in an online discussion of the issues raised by the course. Materials will consist of a set of cases and secondary materials available through the course home page. [details]

Cybercrime (Malone)

As smartphones, the internet and an array of personal computing devices have become increasingly ubiquitous in our society, so have such technologies also become either the means or the object of a wide range of criminal activity. Many of the most challenging developments in criminal law and procedure now arise in the context of crimes that involve the internet or computers. This seminar will explore how technology, and the social and cultural changes it has brought about, challenge our traditional approaches to criminal law and procedure, in particular core concepts such as knowledge and intent, causation, justification or excuse, and jurisdiction. We will approach the subject of cybercrime from both doctrinal and policy standpoints. We begin by analyzing the nature of cybercrime and the ways in which it may or may not be different from “”regular”” crimes, and may or may not require specialized statutes or enforcement. We will then review relevant statutes including the federa l Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Wiretap Act, and state and foreign equivalents. We will consider conduct such as hacking, DDoS attacks and extortion, data and identity theft, phishing and other online fraud, economic espionage, threats, harassment, cyberbullying, and cyberstalking. We will devote substantial attention to procedural issues such as electronic surveillance, search and seizure, and evidentiary questions, with an emphasis on differing expectations of privacy in an online world, on notions of self-incrimination through compelled disclosure of passwords or access controls, on the difficulties of balancing privacy interests against valid law enforcement interests and on unique authentication and admissibility challenges posed by digital and online evidence. [details]

Cyberlaw & IP: Adv Prob Solv Wkshp (Zittrain / Palfrey)

Students in this course will work in teams to solve a series of hard problems related to cyberlaw and intellectual property, leveraging the problem-solving methodology of teaching used in the first-year winter Problem Solving Workshop. The course is offered as a capstone to the core Internet & Society program. As this is the first year of the workshop, students are advised that this problems-based course is still experimental; students in the course will be working with a new set of problems-based cases, which will be further developed based on their experience and feedback in this initial course offering. [details]

Ideas for a Better Internet (Zittrain)

This joint Harvard/Stanford interdisciplinary seminar will continue a year-long arc of developing and building ideas for a better internet. During the fall, students will incorporate ideas identified by a public call for proposals from the previous spring, and work through the process of building out these ideas. The course will meet on alternate Mondays in the fall term. By the end of the fall session, students will have proposed a tangible means of implementing at least one idea and will have made significant progress on conceptualizing and building at least one solution. Students will interact with entrepreneurs, organizations, and policy makers with a significant stake in shaping the future of digital technology and the Internet to solicit advice, guidance, and feedback. During the winter term students will finalize the projects that they have developed throughout the fall semester, engage in visits to companies and organizations, and prepare a working demo or proposal to be presented at a culminating event with leaders of Silicon Valley and beyond. By the end of the course, students will have launched their solution-based projects to the world in conjunction with those proposing the ideas. The fall portion of the course will meet concurrently at both Harvard and Stanford. The two courses will keep in contact throughout the semester and will have a common mailing list, among other things. The winter term portion of the course will take place at Stanford University. Harvard participants will have subsidized travel and lodging for the period. Students will be selected via an application process. [details]

IP in the Digital Environment (Benkler)

The course will consider the changes to the organization of information, knowledge, and cultural production in the networked environment, and how they have affected, and been affected by, intellectual property law. The course will be built around a series of specific case studies in specific industries, such as music, software, and journalism. [details]

Music & Digital Media (Bavitz)

This course explores a variety of legal issues relating to the creation, exploitation, and protection of music and other content. The seminar focuses on traditional legal regimes and business models and the ways in which new technologies (particularly the evolution of digital media and the Internet) have affected legal and business strategies involved in the making and distribution of content. The course’s primary emphases are music and the ways in which legal principles manifest themselves in practice in the music industry. The seminar builds off a discussion of music rights to address issues surrounding content rights in other contexts (e.g., news media), and it reviews the ways in which traditional concepts and practices in this area are challenged by and evolving in the digital world. The course balances discussions of big-picture doctrinal, policy, and theoretical considerations with a focus on day-to-day legal and business practices and specific skills (transactional, client counseling, and litigation) that are relevant to practitioners in this area. A prior course or other background in copyright law would be useful but is not required. [details]

Practical Lawyering in Cyberspace (Bavitz / Topelson)

This course will explore the complex challenges of effectively representing clients in a wide variety of intellectual property, technology and internet-related disputes. Using a rich set of cyberlaw-related case studies drawn from recent legal controversies, including targeted case readings, court filings, real-life testimony, deposition videotapes and other demonstrative materials, we will condense and weave together a broad range of experiences lawyers encounter in the actual practice of law in these dynamic fields with the core doctrinal and theoretical principles of the relevant areas of law, including IP, online speech, anonymity, privacy, cybercrime, antitrust and others. We will focus particularly closely on critical and strategic thinking and analysis, complex legal-practical problem solving and decision-making; and clear and persuasive writing and drafting. At appropriate points, we will bring in outside specialists to enhance our understanding of the interplay between substantive and practical issues. (Previous guests have included Microsoft’s head of global IP strategy, Twitter’s general counsel, Facebook’s chief privacy officer, Google’s chief competition counsel, a top Justice Department official responsible for cybercrime, a senior Assistant U.S. Attorney who prosecutes major high-tech cases, and noted computer scientists who have testified as experts in antitrust and patent cases). [details]

Trademark (Fisher)

This course will examine trademark law and the law of unfair competition in the United States and in other countries. Substantial attention will be paid to efforts by economic and cultural theorists to justify, reform, or abolish the trademark system. Students will be expected to participate in an online discussion of the issues raised by the course. Materials will consist of cases and secondary materials available at the Distribution Center and through the course homepage. [details]