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CyberLaw Course Teaches Virtual Justice

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By Erika Finnimore

With the Internet becoming such an important part of their daily lives, University of Central Florida students can learn about their virtual rights and how to protect themselves online with a class on CyberLaw.

Current Issues in CyberLaw is a graduate course that examines free speech, copyright, patent and privacy issues through discussions, case study reviews and legal research projects.

Bob Cherry, an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Legal Studies, teaches the online course from North Carolina, where he leads his own private practice. The 15-year veteran of the law industry began his career as a law clerk for a Circuit Court judge while he studied Legal Studies at UCF in 1992.

"CyberLaw is becoming so prevalent now because the idea of anonymity on the Internet develops a sense of unrestricted freedom," Cherry said.

The course explores emerging issues such as workplace privacy, Internet piracy and intellectual property as new laws are built on precedent-setting cases.

"Today, judges are taking laws that were created for old technology and figuring out how to apply them to the latest technology," said Pamela Kirby, associate dean of undergraduate studies in the College of Health and Public Affairs.

Near the end of the course, students will participate in an independent research project about a topic of their choice. 

"We did this so students can study what interests them specifically while still gaining a broad range of knowledge on CyberLaw," Cherry said.

Because so much commerce is done online, CyberLaw is becoming more applicable in all areas of the professional world. Students in other graduate programs can take the course to learn how CyberLaw applies to their profession. Qualified undergraduate seniors also can enroll in the course with approval from an adviser.

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