Computer Law Seminar Readings

This list of readings will grow as the quarter progresses. We'll mark new additions conspicuously.

Many of these materials were written for lawyers, which means they presume some familiarity with legal terms and concepts. Of course I encourage you to note unfamiliar terms and bring them to class so I can (try to) clarify them.

Most of these references are available on-line, but some will be available only on paper. Access instructions for paper materials appear below.

Access to some of the electronic references may be restricted to the UCI community (which is an example of intellectual property law in practice). The URLs to those references will work from computers at UCI. If you (as a UCI student) want access from off campus, you'll need to set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) using free software available from UCI's NACS (for Windows, Linux, or MacOS X). NACS has a page describing how to download and install the VPN software: .

The readings come from a variety of sources, such as:

  1. Sources of Law [This section is for reference; it's not an assignment]
    1. Federal
      1. U.S. Constitution:
      2. Legislation and Statutes
        1. U. S. Code: or or
        2. Legislation in progress:
      3. Courts
        1. U. S. Supreme Court opinions:
        2. U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal:
    2. California
      1. Legislation and Statutes:
      2. Court opinions:
        1. Filed in the last 60 days:
        2. Older opinions (fee-based):
    3. International
      1. The World Intellectual Property Organization (
      2. European Community, Directive on privacy and electronic communications, 12 July 2002.
    4. Lexis access: The Lexis system was one of the first full-text-searchable databases, first available about 30 years ago. Access is available to the UCI community at . You can search here for cases and statutes.
    5. The meaning of legal terms goes beyond the plain English meaning of the words. Even a law dictionary won't give you all the nuances and applications of a legal term, but law dictionaries are a place to start. Two on-line law dictionaries are at and

  2. Computer Law—General [for reference; not an assignment]
    1. There are good, short, reasonably current overviews of many legal topics at , which also provides access to statutes and reported cases (i.e., appellate court opinions).

    2. NGOs (non-governmental organizations) often follow legislation and pending cases in their areas of interest.
      1. The ACM has a public policy office and web site:
      2. The Electronic Frontier Foundation ( addresses a wide range of computing-related legal and policy issues.
      3. The Recording Industry Association of America ( and the Motion Picture Association of America ( take an industry perspective.
      4. The Electronic Privacy Information Center ( covers privacy issues, as does the American Civil Liberties Union (

    3. Three notable law professors who address cyberlaw issues:
      1. Larry Lessig at Stanford (
      2. Pamela Samuelson at Berkeley (
      3. Eugene Volokh at UCLA (

  3. Intellectual Property—General [for reference]
    1. Patent
      1. U. S. Patent and Trademark Office:
      2. Patent Act:
      3. USPTO Patent Database:
      4. Delphion Intellectual Property Network Patent Database:
      5. USPTO examiners' guidelines for computer-related inventions:
    2. Copyright
      1. U.S. Copyright Office:
      2. Copyright Act:
      3. Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 summary:
    3. Trade Secret
      1. Trade Secret Home Page:
    4. Trademark
      1. U. S. Patent and Trademark Office trademark database:

  4. Additional Readings

    1. [Patent] The one-click patent (No. 5,960,411). This link shows an HTML-friendly version of the patent. From that page, click the "Images" link to see what the real patent application looks like. Don't feel obligated to read through the entire patent application, but look it over (especially the front page and the claims).

    2. [Patent] In re Bilski addresses the statutory subject matter of patents, particularly what kinds of "business methods" can be patented. An opinion from the Supreme Court is expected this term.

    3. [Copyright] U.S. Copyright Office Circular 61 on registration for computer programs:

    4. [Copyright] Rowling vs. RDR Books involves the author of the Harry Potter books, J.K. Rowling, and the publisher of an unauthorized Harry Potter encyclopedia that appeared first on the Internet. To give you an idea of what the documents in a lawsuit look like, Rowling's original complaint, Rowling's brief for an injunction, RDR's brief in opposition, Rowling's reply, and transcripts of the trial (day 2, day 3) are available.

    5. [Copyright] Christina J. Hayes, Changing the Rules of the Game: How Video Game Publishers Are Embracing User-Generated Derivative Works, 21 Harvard J. Law Tech. 567 (2008).

    6. [Jurisdiction] Yvonne A. Tamayo, Catch Me If You Can: Serving United States Process On An Elusive Defendant Abroad, 17 Harvard J. Law Tech. 211 (2003)

    7. [Contracts] Pro CD, Inc. v. Zeidenberg, 86 F.3d 1447 (7th Cir. 1996). An actual appellate opinion, mercifully short, holding that "[s]hrinkwrap licenses are enforceable unless their terms are objectionable on grounds applicable to contracts in general (for example, if they violate a rule of positive law, or if they are unconscionable)."

    8. [Liability for Malfunction] Meiring de Villiers, Virus Ex Machina: Res Ipsa Loquitur, 2003 Stan Tech. L. Rev. 1

    9. [Evidence] California Evidence Code sec. 1552 (the authenticity of computer-based information)

    10. [Evidence] Zubulake v. UBS Warburg LLC, 217 F.R.D. 309 (S.D.N.Y. 2003) (Electronic discovery of e-mail). You can find this in Google Scholar or via LEXIS through the UCI Library.

    11. [Computer Crime] California Penal Code sec. 502 and 502.01 (the California computer crime law). You'll have to scroll down the page to find these sections.

    12. [Computer Crime] Jay Becker, "Rifkin: A Documentary History," Computer/Law Journal (Summer 1980). This includes the full paper record of the multi-million-dollar electronic theft from Security Pacific National Bank, including the defendant's gulity-plea interview with the judge. This is only available on paper; the packet looks large, but the print is not dense. You can find this packet on the table in the Technology Garden, room 5054 Donald Bren Hall. There's a nice couch there where you can read it; if you must take it away to read elsewhere, leave a note so a classmate won't look in vain and bring it back promptly. (The packet is bound with a large black metal clip.)

    13. [Computer Crime] Chris Jay Hoofnagle, Identity Theft: Making the Known Unknowns Known, 21 Harvard J. Law Tech. 97 (2007).

    David G. Kay,