Law Schedule of Classes

NOTE: Course offerings change. Classes offered this semester may not be offered in future semesters.

Apart from their assigned mod courses, 1L students may only enroll in courses offered as 1L electives. A complete list of these courses can be found on the 1L Elective Listings page. 1L students must use the 1L class number listed on the course description when enrolling.

276.33 sec. 001 - Regulating Internet Platforms (Spring 2021)

Instructor: Pamela Samuelson  (view instructor's teaching evaluations - degree students only | profile)
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Units: 1
Grading Designation: Credit Only
Mode of Instruction: Remote Instruction


M 08:00 AM - 09:50 AM
Location: Internet/Online
From January 25, 2021
To March 15, 2021

Course Start: January 25, 2021
Course End: March 15, 2021
Class Number (1Ls): 33215
Class Number: 33215

Enrollment info:
Enrolled: 12
Waitlisted: 0
Enroll Limit: 12
As of: 05/08 05:45 AM

In the mid-1990s, Congress passed a law that limits the liability of online service providers (OPSs) for unlawful acts of their users. In enacting what is widely known as § 230 of the Communications Decency Act, Congress hoped to encourage OSPs to engage in content moderation by immunizing them from liability for wrongful acts by users (such as defamation, hate speech, and privacy violations). This law has fostered incredible growth of the Internet economy. Courts have interpreted that law very liberally, and some platforms have abused the immunity. As a consequence, this law is under siege now because of the proliferation of online wrongdoing. Proposed legislation would significantly alter this law.

In addition to reviewing key cases and legislative options, the course will consider the challenges of engaging in content moderation at scale and discuss the private governance mechanisms that online platforms use (and sometimes fail to use) to stop the proliferation of harmful content.

This course will consider, among other things, First Amendment limits on what the government can do to regulate speech that takes place on online platforms. Can the government require Facebook to stop disinformation campaigns? Can President Trump order other government agencies to require platforms to be neutral or stop censoring some critics? Will private initiatives such as the Facebook Oversight Board mitigate content moderation problems? These are examples of the questions we will have a chance to address in this course.

This course meets every week for 7 sessions beginning Monday, January 25, 2021.

This class is designed to give students an extra opportunity to engage despite our remote form of interaction. In light of that goal, this class will expect real-time attendance and may not be recorded. The total written work requirement will be no more than 8 double-spaced pages.

Exam Notes: (None) Class requires a series of papers, assignments, or presentations throughout the semester
Course Category: Intellectual Property and Technology Law
This course is listed in the following sub-categories:
Public Law and Policy

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