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Anyone hoping for an IT career needs to know something of how the IT industry is affected by the law.
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About the book
Anyone hoping for an IT career needs to know something of how the IT industry is affected by the law. This textbook gives computing students the basic essentials. In a fast-moving field, it shows not only what the law now is but which directions it is evolving in. After a brief survey of how English law works, chapter topics include IT contracts, copyright and patents, data protection and freedom of information, web law, and others. Frequent reference to real-life law cases creates a level of human interest which helps readers assimilate the underlying principles.
So why do computing students need to know anything about law, beyond – just like anyone else – how to keep themselves out of trouble with the police?
Well, most students who take a degree in computing (computer science, information systems, “informatics”, or similar) aim to find a computing-related job in a company or a public-sector organization. And that job will not involve just sitting in a back room hacking code. Jobs like that mostly disappeared with the twentieth century, and those that remain have largely been offshored to countries like India. Jobs for British computing graduates in the 21st century involve using technical knowledge to help a business to flourish; they are about business savvy as much as about bits and bytes. (This includes public-sector jobs; public-sector organizations do not make profits, but they run “businesses” as commercial companies do.) A crucial factor for successful business is an understanding of the broad legal framework within which business operates; computing graduates need to be aware in particular of how law impinges on information technology.
1.1 The purpose of this book
1.2 Geographical perspective
1.3 Further reading
2. The nature of English law
2.1 Different jurisdictions
2.2 Is IT law special?
2.3 The nature of the adversaries
2.4 Sources of law
2.5 Bases of legal authority
3. Faulty supplies
3.1 Breach of contract v. tort
3.2 IT contracts
3.3 Letters of intent
3.4 Interpretation of contracts
4. Intellectual property
4.1 The growing importance of intangible assets
4.2 Copyright and patent
4.3 Do we need intellectual-property laws?
4.4 Copyright for software
4.5 Two software-copyright cases
4.7 The focus shifts from copyright to patent
4.8 The nature of patent law
4.9 Is software patentable?
4.10 Some software-patent cases
4.11 The American position
4.12 An unstable situation
5. Law and rapid technical change: a case study
5.1 Film versus video
5.2 The Attorney General seeks a ruling
5.3 Pornography meets the internet
5.4 Are downloads publications?
5.5 Censoring videos
5.6 The difficulty of amending the law
5.7 R. v. Fellows and Arnold
5.8 Allowing downloads is “showing”
5.9 What is a copy of a photograph?
5.10 Uncertainties remain
5.11 The wider implications
6. Personal data rights
6.1 Data protection and freedom of information
6.2 The Freedom of Information Act
6.3 Limiting the burden
6.4 Implications for the private sector
6.5 Government recalcitrance
6.6 Attitudes to privacy
6.7 Is there a right to privacy in Britain?
6.8 The history of data protection
6.9 The Data Protection Act in outline
6.10 The Bodil Lindqvist case
6.11 The Data Protection Act in more detail
6.12 Is the law already outdated?
7. Web law
7.1 The internet and contract
7.2 Ownership of domain names
7.3 Web 2.0 and defamation
8. Regulatory compliance
8.1 Sarbanes–Oxley and after
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