About this Course
4.9
515 ratings
101 reviews
This seven-week course will explore the relationship between law and technology with a strong focus on the law of the United States with some comparisons to laws around the world, especially in Europe. Tech progress is an important source of economic growth and raises broader questions about the human condition, including how culture evolves and who controls that evolution. Technology also matters in countless other ways as it often establishes the framework in which governments interact with their citizens, both in allowing speech and blocking it and in establishing exactly what the boundaries are between private life and the government. And technology itself is powerfully shaped by the laws that apply in areas as diverse as copyright, antitrust, patents, privacy, speech law and the regulation of networks. The course will explore seven topics: 1. Microsoft: The Desktop vs. The Internet. We will start with a look at the technology path that led to the first personal computer in early 1975, the Altair 8800. That path starts with the vacuum tube, moves to transistors, then to integrated circuits and finally to the microprocessor. We will look at the early days of software on the personal computer and the competition between selling software and open-source approaches as well as the problem of software piracy. We will discus the public good nature of software. The 1981 launch of the IBM PC revolutionized the personal computer market and started the path to Microsoft's powerful position and eventual monopoly in that market with the selection of MS-DOS. We then turn to four antitrust cases against Microsoft: (1) the 1994 U.S. case relating to MS-DOS licensing practices; (2) the U.S. antitrust middleware case over Microsoft’s response to Netscape Navigator; (3) the European Union case regarding Windows Media Player; and (4) the EU browser case over Internet Explorer. These disputes arose at the point of maximal competition between the free-standing personal computer and the Internet world that would come after it and we may know enough now to assess how these cases influenced that competition. 2. Google Emerges (and the World Responds). Google has emerged as one of the dominant platforms of the Internet era and that has led to corresponding scrutiny by regulators throughout the world. Decisions that Google makes about its algorithm can be life altering. Individuals are finding it more difficult to put away past mistakes, as Google never forgets, and businesses can find that their sales plummet if Google moves them from the first page of search results to a later page. With great power comes scrutiny and we will look at how government regulators have evaluated how Google has exercised its power. Both the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the European Union have undertaken substantial investigations of Google’s practices and we will look at both of those. 3. Smartphones. The Internet started on the desktop but the Internet is increasingly mobile and people are seemingly tethered to their smartphones and tablets. And we have seen an interesting shift in that market away from Nokia handsets and the Blackberry to Apple's iPhone and its iOS platform and to the Android platform. The legal infrastructure of smartphones and tablets is extraordinarily complex. We will start by looking at U.S. spectrum policy and the effort to free up 500 megahertz of spectrum. We will look at the activities of standard setting organizations, including the IEEE and the creation of the 802.11 standard and Wi-Fi (or, if you prefer, wifi), the creation of patent pools and the regulation of standard essential patents. We will look at the FTC action against Google/Motorola Mobility and Apple's lawsuit against Samsung over utility and design patents relating to the iPhone. Finally, we will take a brief look at the European Commission's investigation into the Android platform. 4. Nondiscrimination and Network Neutrality. Facebook has more than 1 billion users and measure that against a world population of roughly 7 billion and a total number of Internet users of roughly 2.5 billion. A course on law and technology simply has to grapple with the basic framework for regulating the Internet and a key idea there is the notion of network neutrality. Nondiscrimination obligations are frequent in regulated network industries, but at the same, discrimination can be an important tool of design for communication networks. We will start our look at the Internet by looking at the great first communications network of the United States, the post office and will look in particular at the Post Office Act of 1845. We will then move to modern times and will consider efforts by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to produce sensible and sustainable nondiscrimination conditions for the Internet and will touch briefly on comparisons from around the world. 5. The Day the Music Died? In many ways, the Internet came first to music with the rise of peer-to-peer (p2p) music sharing through Napster and its successors. We start with a look into music platform history and the devices that brought recorded music into the home: the phonograph and the player piano. We turn to radio and the legal regime that puts music on the airwaves, the performing rights organizations like ASCAP and BMI. We look at the antitrust issues associated with the blanket license. We consider a failed music platform, digital audio tape, and the complicated legal regime associated with it, the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992. We will consider the copyright issues raised by the creation and distribution of music and the litigation over the p2p technologies such as Napster and Grokster. The music industry responded to p2p technology by adding digital rights management tools to CDs. As music distribution switched from physical media to digital distribution, we entered the world of Apple and the iPod and iTunes. We consider the DRM issues associated with Apple's music platform as seen by Steve Jobs. We conclude by looking at emerging subscription services like Spotify and the service that Apple is building based on its purchase of Beats. 6. Video: Listening and Watching. Images are some of the most powerful ways in which ideas and speech are communicated and video has long been regulated by the state. That starts as a communications law issue with government regulation of the radio spectrum, but also leads to the design of the television system with the assignment of channels and eventually the definition of digital television. And with the emergence first of cable TV and subsequently the VCR critical copyright roadblocks had to be overcome for new distribution technologies to emerge. We will consider the legal engineering that led to the DVD platform, which was an exercise in patent pools and trademark creation. We will sort through the creation of the digital TV platform and will also look at the copyright underpinnings for Netflix. And we will consider the question of technology neutrality in the content of the copyright fight over a new video distribution entrant, Aereo. Finally, we close the week with a brief look at the incentive spectrum auctions and the possible end of broadcast television. 7. The Mediated Book. Gutenberg revolutionized books with his printing press and for academics, books are sacred objects. But the printed book is on the run and with the rise of the ebook, we are entering a new era, the era of the mediated book. This is more than just a change in technology. We will look at the issues created by the rise of the ebook, issues about control over content and licensing and of the privacy of thought itself. We will also look at the legal skirmishes over this space, including the copyright fair use litigation over Google Books, the Apple e-book antitrust case. And we will look at the Amazon Kindle platform....
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Clock

Suggested: About 23 hours of videos and assessments

Approx. 26 hours to complete
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English

Skills you will gain

Competition LawMarket (Economics)LawIntellectual Property Law
Globe

100% online courses

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Calendar

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.
Clock

Suggested: About 23 hours of videos and assessments

Approx. 26 hours to complete
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

1

Section
Clock
21 minutes to complete

Introduction to the Course

This is a course on the law and economics of media platforms. Media delivery is frequently organized around a set of tools that bring together different parties to interact. Edison’s phonograph and wax cylinders did that, bringing together music producers and consumers wanting to listen to music at home, but so does Microsoft Windows, which sits between software developers and computer users....
Reading
2 videos (Total 11 min), 1 reading
Video2 videos
Course Overview8m
Reading1 reading
Welcome to the Course!10m

2

Section
Clock
6 hours to complete

Microsoft: The Desktop v. The Internet

In this module, we will focus on Microsoft and its arc from start up to dominance and repeated antitrust target. We will look at the technology leading to the personal computer and the release of the IBM PC in August, 1981 and then the rise of Microsoft from there. We will turn to antitrust actions against Microsoft, first in the United States in 1994 for its MS-DOS licensing practices and then again in the United States in 1998 for its response to the Internet and Netscape Navigator. We will then turn to two competition policy actions against Microsoft in Europe....
Reading
18 videos (Total 137 min), 16 readings, 7 quizzes
Video18 videos
The 1956 AT&T Settlement5m
The Path to the CPU5m
Building BASIC6m
Selling Software?7m
The Rise of Microsoft and the Personal Computer Era6m
The 1994 Licensing Case: Microsoft's Monopoly8m
The 1994 Licensing Case: Anticompetitive Licenses8m
The 1994 Licensing Case: Anticompetitive Licenses: Analytics6m
The Rise of the Internet and Netscape Part One5m
The Rise of the Internet and Netscape Part Two9m
The U.S. Sues Microsoft (Again) Part One5m
The U.S. Sues Microsoft (Again) Part Two9m
Resolution in the U.S.6m
Remedies: How Do You Solve a Problem Like Microsoft?8m
Windows Media Player in Europe11m
Europe Looks at Internet Explorer7m
Wrap Up: What Have We Learned?7m
Reading16 readings
Top Readings10m
Slides for Module10m
Lesson Overview10m
Extra-Depth Readings10m
Lesson Overview10m
Extra-Depth Readings10m
Lesson Overview10m
Extra-Depth Readings10m
Lesson Overview10m
Extra-Depth Readings10m
Lesson Overview10m
Extra-Depth Readings10m
Lesson Overview10m
Extra-Depth Readings10m
Updates and Corrections10m
Sources and Copyright Statement10m
Quiz7 practice exercises
Brief Practice Quiz6m
Brief Practice Quiz6m
Brief Practice Quiz6m
Brief Practice Quiz6m
Brief Practice Quiz6m
Brief Practice Quiz6m
Graded Quiz24m

3

Section
Clock
8 hours to complete

Google Emerges (and the World Responds)

In this module, we will focus on Google and its arc from 1998 start up to dominance and repeated antitrust target. We will look at the underlying tech, two-sided markets and auctions and then at antitrust investigations in the U.S. and the EU....
Reading
26 videos (Total 260 min), 16 readings, 7 quizzes
Video26 videos
The State of the Internet Circa 20008m
A Brief Tour of the Federal Trade Commission6m
Regulating Search Engines 1.0 Part One7m
Regulating Search Engines 1.0 Part Two4m
Inventing Google? Part One9m
Inventing Google? Part Two5m
Building Google7m
Monetizing Google9m
The PageRank Algorithm Part One10m
The PageRank Algorithm Part Two10m
Two-Sided Markets Part One9m
Two-Sided Markets Part Two7m
Auctions and Monopoly Power8m
Google Evolves7m
Competition and Google12m
The European Competition Investigation of Google6m
The FTC and Google Part One7m
The FTC and Google Part Two9m
Back to Europe8m
Shopping on Google8m
Google Shopping: A New Data Model6m
15 April 2015: The EU Statement of Objections7m
15 April 2015: Google's Response6m
Wrap Up: What Have We Learned?11m
Video Chat, Friday, 31 July 201559m
Reading16 readings
Top Readings10m
Slides for Module10m
Lesson Overview10m
Extra-Depth Readings10m
Lesson Overview10m
Extra-Depth Readings10m
Lesson Overview10m
Extra-Depth Readings10m
Lesson Overview10m
Extra-Depth Readings10m
Lesson Overview10m
Extra Depth Readings10m
Lesson Overview10m
Extra Depth Readings10m
Updates and Corrections10m
Sources and Copyright Statement10m
Quiz7 practice exercises
Brief Practice Quiz6m
Brief Practice Quiz6m
Brief Practice Quiz6m
Brief Practice Quiz6m
Brief Practice Quiz6m
Brief Practice Quiz6m
Graded Quiz24m

4

Section
Clock
6 hours to complete

Smartphones

In this module, we will focus on the emergence of the smartphones platform. That is an interesting mix of government policy (especially regarding spectrum), collective private activity (standard setting, such as that for the 802.11 standard and for Wi-Fi), and individual private actions (such as that leading to the Apple iPhone and the Android platform)....
Reading
22 videos (Total 161 min), 14 readings, 6 quizzes
Video22 videos
Controlling the Spectrum6m
Finding More Spectrum9m
The Smartphone Platform Shifts9m
Standard Setting Externalities Part One11m
Standard Setting Externalities Part Two7m
Winner-Take-All Markets I Part One5m
Winner-Take-All Markets I Part Two5m
Winner-Take-All Markets II6m
Patent Royalty Stacking7m
Defining Standards8m
Standard Essential Patents5m
SSOs and Market Power6m
Standard Setting v. Cartelization7m
The Other FTC Action against Google Part One4m
The Other FTC Action against Google Part Two6m
The IEEE Updates its Patent Policy7m
The iOS Platform9m
Apple v Samsung8m
The Android Platform6m
The EU Investigation of Android6m
Wrap Up: What Have We Learned?11m
Reading14 readings
Top Readings10m
Slides for Module10m
Lesson Overview10m
Extra-Depth Readings10m
Lesson Overview10m
Extra-Depth Readings10m
Lesson Overview10m
Extra-Depth Readings10m
Lesson Overview10m
Extra-Depth Readings10m
Lesson Overview10m
Extra-Depth Readings10m
Updates and Corrections (Last Update: 11 July 2015)10m
Sources and Copyright Statement10m
Quiz6 practice exercises
Brief Practice Quiz6m
Brief Practice Quiz6m
Brief Practice Quiz6m
Brief Practice Quiz6m
Brief Practice Quiz6m
Graded Quiz20m
4.9
Direction Signs

17%

started a new career after completing these courses
Briefcase

83%

got a tangible career benefit from this course
Money

20%

got a pay increase or promotion

Top Reviews

By MMNov 9th 2015

Excelent course and very up to date material.\n\nVery interesting topics and documents presented along with the material.\n\nGreat teacher with outstanding knowledge of the material

By MBSep 9th 2015

Very informative course. Mr. Picker also responds quickly to questions posted/asked. I would love for a special edition, to focus on law in the EU/UK

Instructor

Randal C. Picker

James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ludwig & Hilde Wolf Teaching Scholar
The University of Chicago Law School

About The University of Chicago

One of the world's premier academic and research institutions, the University of Chicago has driven new ways of thinking since our 1890 founding. Today, UChicago is an intellectual destination that draws inspired scholars to our Hyde Park and international campuses, keeping UChicago at the nexus of ideas that challenge and change the world....

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