Emerging Technologies: Law, Policy and Governance

Established technologies like the internet and social and emerging ones like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robotics, are transforming how we live, work, and interact. These changes raise a host of complex law, policy, ethical, and governance challenges in a range of domestic and global contexts, including internet censorship, the role and regulation of social media platforms, disinformation and online abuse, legal automation, algorithmic discrimination, privacy, surveillance, fintech, and cyber-warfare. Among the kinds of questions pursued in this course: Who is responsible when technology causes harms? Do we have to forego privacy for either technological innovation or security? How best to regulate social media, if at all? What can we do to prevent algorithmic discrimination and other forms of technology-enabled human rights abuse? What is “ethical” AI and how can we incentivize it?

These issues and other significant challenges and controversies in the law, policy, and governance of emerging technologies will be contextualized and brought to life via case-studies and real world scenarios involving issues that are often currently in the news and unfolding in real time outside the classroom in government, industry, and civil society. The course aims to introduce and provide a foundation in law and technology issues — to identify them, understand and think critically about them, and manage them in practice.

Securities Regulation

This is a four hour course in which we will deliver an overview of securities regulation in Canada from a practitioner’s perspective. We will review the Ontario Securities Act, regulations and policies, and will reference certain securities laws in other jurisdictions as well. We will study certain key securities regulatory concepts and how they intersect with today’s corporate finance markets. Our review will include: the meaning of terms such as “security”, “trade” and “distribution”; primary and secondary distribution of securities; prospectus offerings; private placement exemptions and resale rules; regulation of the trading markets including various stock exchange rules; capital pool companies and SPACs; continuous and timely disclosure; takeover bid legislation; mergers and acquisitions; primary and secondary market civil liability; and regulatory enforcement issues. Our goal is to have our students leave the course with a solid grounding in Canadian securities law as well as a good understanding of how these laws impact corporate finance in Canada.

Legal Engineering: Tech & Innovation in Legal Service Delivery

The course will require a laptop but does not require any technical, coding or engineering knowledge at all. This course will: (a) introduce students to how client needs have pushed the boundaries of legal service delivery to include elements of information/data, computer technology and artificial intelligence as both inputs to work product and components of the work product itself; (b) give students the practical skills in breaking down contracts and legislation into decision trees, develop markups and workflows for contract development and negotiations, attain basic experience with common legal technology applications, apply design thinking methodology to legal problems; and (c) give students an opportunity for reflection on the theoretical and practical implications of these changes to the practice of law. Various topics will be discussed, including:
1. Business and technological developments leading to new avenues in the practice of law
2. Design thinking: theory and practice
3. Decision tree development through legislative interpretation
4. Contract model development and markup
5. Contract automation and smart contracts
6. Artificial intelligence and its influence on:
a. Data extraction
b. Due diligence
c. E-Discovery
d. Judicial predictions
e. Legal self-serve chatbots
7. LegalTech startups and alternative career paths
8. Advancing access to justice through automated tools
9. No-Code application building for legal
10.Theoretical topics including:
a. Rules-based legislative drafting
b. The interaction between rules and legal reasoning
c. Ethical implications of A.I. and automation tools

Copyright

Covering a broad domain of creative works, this copyright law course deals with the theoretical justifications for the protection of the creative works such as literary, artistic, musical and dramatic works, the criteria for their legal protection, the exclusive economic and moral rights attached to the creative works, authorship/ownership of the works, exploitation of the exclusive rights, enforcement of the rights, and limitations/exceptions to the rights under the Canadian copyright regime. In particular, the subject matters protected under the copyright law such as literary, artistic, dramatic and musical works are central to the knowledge produced and consumed for the purposes of education, creative innovation, entertainment and several other activities. Given their importance for utilization and dissemination of the creative works in the creative and entertainment industries, the course will also deal with neighbouring rights: the rights of performers, makers of sound recordings and broadcasters.

Granting authors/owners of the creative works a set of time-bound exclusive statutory rights, the copyright law regime seeks to reward the authors for the their creative efforts and promote public interests through the creation and dissemination of the works to the public at large. In this expanding digital era, the rapid developments of digital technologies including generative artificial intelligence implicate complex, critical and controversial legal and policy questions on the roles of copyright law, theoretical foundations, roles and effective protection of copyright.

Keeping in view the ongoing technological developments such as AI-related works and their implications, the course will thus explore the theoretical frameworks of copyright, its subject matter, criteria for protection, authorship/ownership, exclusive rights, limitations/exceptions, exploitation of the rights (assignment/licenses), and enforcement (infringement and defences) of copyright under Canadian legal regime from national and international perspectives. In so doing, the course will take both national and international perspectives to examine the fundamental public and private interests that underpin the existing copyright system while emphasizing the need to strike an appropriate balance between the interests. Exploring the Copyright Act, cases and relevant international copyright treaties, the course aims to acquaint students with the substantive copyright law, its policy objectives and theoretical justifications, basic principles and doctrines applicable for copyright protection as well as critical and controversial issues related to the justifications, roles and enforcement of copyright law.

Criminal Law II: Cybercrime

Today, cybercrime is on the rise. It is everywhere. It dominates the news. Ransomware attacks. Data breaches. Online sexual violence offences. Digital hate speech. Even our social media is now flooded with conduct that is arguably criminal.
The law is playing catch up in this area, as judges, practitioners, and policymakers struggle to come to grips with how to best deal with this emerging problem. As a result, some of the most challenging and interesting developments in our legal system now arise in the context of crimes committed via the Internet and computers.
This course will explore the legal and policy challenges presented by our online digital world. No prior knowledge of the subject matter is required. We will start with the basics and then move toward an advanced study of cyber-related law and procedure, focusing on how it ought to apply in the digital world. We’ll ask: “What is cybercrime?” What types of conduct ought to be criminalized? We’ll explore some of the key variants of cyber offences that come up time and again, such as hacking and phishing, ransomware, and data theft. We’ll do a deep dive on cryptocurrency. We’ll look at the jurisdictional challenges created by crimes that occur in digital worlds. We’ll look at the ways in which cybercrime differs from traditional crimes and the challenges it poses for law enforcement. And perhaps most importantly, we will devote a significant amount of time to exploring how the criminal law and policy concepts that you learned about in first year might be adapted to apply in the cyber context. Examples of our study will include: considering our expectations of privacy in the digital age; the application of traditional search and seizure concepts to online police work such as taking over Gmail accounts or acquiring a target’s Facebook messages; the right against self-incrimination and right to counsel when it comes to compelling passwords or forced biometric scans; regulating online speech;
prohibiting ransom payments; allowing officers to pose online as sex trafficking victims to capture would-be online predators; monitoring and criminalizing the online distribution of intimate images; etc.

We’ll have a broad, discussion-based course in which we explore the unique problems posed by this emerging area of the law and how society might choose to deal with them.