Regulation of Internet Commerce

Course Information – January Term 2021


This seminar will analyze the legal challenges posed by the Internet to the traditional commercial legal framework. Topics include intellectual property issues, online contracts, digital signatures, taxation, privacy and the provision of online legal services.

This course examines the legal and policy issues relating to e-commerce from a comparative, global perspective with an emphasis on Canadian developments. It covers wide range of issues involving how national governments regulate the technology of internet and how private citizens’ rights relating to internet are protected. Issues to be canvassed include privacy and personal data, internet jurisdiction, regulation of internet marketing, issues in electronic transactions, internet governance, domain name business models and disputes, intellectual property challenges for new business models, legal issues raised by cloud computing, as well as net neutrality and telecom regulation.

Course Format

The course was originally scheduled as an in-person seminar. Given the current situation, it is being delivered in an online format. This will necessitate some changes from the original plan but also provides some exciting new opportunities. The typical format for classes will take the following approach:

The class will meet online daily from 13:00 – 15:00.  In advance of the class, students will be expected to spend approximately one hour on prepared audio or video materials. This will usually involve watching a pre-recorded video lecture and listening to a podcast related to the day’s subject matter. In addition, there will be readings to prepare for the video lecture and class discussion. All readings are online and posted on this course website.

In the first hour of the online class, students will go into breakout rooms to discuss a short hypothetical distributed at the start of class. We will reconvene as a full group to discuss the scenario, add some additional lecturing, and engage in a broader discussion.

The second hour will feature a guest discussant. The syllabus posted below lists the guests. Students will be asked to provide advance questions for the guest, who will open with brief remarks, followed by a moderated discussion.

Please consult the University’s Brightspace course website for links to the course lectures and the password and links for the Zoom classes.

Course Evaluation

The course evaluation features three components.

  1. Class participation (20%). All students will be asked to present their breakout group discussion to the full class at least once during the course. In addition, students will be asked to provide advance questions to be posed to the course guests.
  2. Short policy memo (30%). Students will prepare a 1,000 word short policy memo. Details on the subject matter will be forthcoming. The memo will be assigned during the second week of the course and will be due one week after assignment.
  3. Final paper (50%). Students will write a final paper of approximately 2,500 words on any subject matter related to the course. Topics should be discussed in advance with the professor. The final papers will be due on January 22, 2021.

Course Schedule (subject to change)

January 5, 2021 – Introduction to Internet Law and Policy


Guest: Jacob Glick, Vice-President, Public Policy, Telus

January 6, 2021 – Jurisdiction – Which Law Applies Online?



Episode 22, Navigating Intermediary Liability for the Internet: A Conversation with Daphne Keller

Guest: Steve De Eyre, Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs, Canada, TikTok

January 7, 2021 – E-commerce Regulation – What Does It Mean When You Click I Agree 

Guest: Vivek Narayanadas, Associate General Counsel, Privacy & IP; Data Protection Officer, Shopify

January 11, 2021 – Internet Governance



Guest: Byron Holland, CEO, Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA)

Guest: Ann Cavoukian, Ryerson University, Former Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner

January 13, 2021 – Internet Platform Liability


Facebook Materials


Guest: Kevin Chan, Global Director and Head of Public Policy, Facebook

January 14, 2021 – Copyright


YouTube Resources

Fighting Piracy microsite


Guest: Jason Kee, Public Policy and Government Relations Counsel, Google

January 15, 2021 – “Web Giant” Regulation


Guest: Michele Austin, Head, Government Public Policy, Twitter


January 18, 2021 – Communications Regulation



Guest: Laura Tribe, Executive Director, Open Media

January 19, 2021 – Digital Trade Regulation


Guest: Jamie D. Greenberg, General Counsel, WattPad

January 20, 2021 – Digital Taxation


Geist, Making Sense of the Digital Tax Debate




January 21, 2021 – STUDY DAY

January 22, 2021 – FINAL PAPER DUE