Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
On-Line Content Regulation
Academic Year
Distance Learning

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Module Assessment  Written Assignment of 5000 words  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Explain the nature of the problems encountered in pursuing an action for defamation in the US and the UK.
2. Provide a critique of the liability of ISPs in the US and UK and its effect on potential litigants.
3. Explain the nature and use of CyberSLAPP cases.
4. Demonstrate an understanding of the legal problems of controlling obscene speech on the internet.
5. Critically assess the difference in approach between the legal regimes for regulating obscenity on the internet in the US and the UK.
6. Evaluate the potential utility and efficacy of the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime.

Brief description

This module will consider two types of potentially unacceptable content; content that is defamatory and which is usually the subject of private law remedies, and obscenity and hate speech which is usually controlled by public law. The way in which the regulation of these types of content and its impact on the protection of fundamental human rights, notably freedom of expression, has developed and been applied will be studied and assessed with reference to a number of jurisdictions.


1. The nature of defamatory words in cyberspace
2. The approach in the US: Communications Decency Act s230, the liability of ISPs and the pros and cons of CyberSLAPP cases.
3. The approach in the UK: the Defamation Act 1996 and Directive 200/31/EC.
B Obscenity and hate speech:
4. Specific characteristics of the internet and world wide web which give rise to difficulties in the control of obscene and other undesirable content.
5. A comparison of the US approach in the Communications Decency Act and the Child-online Protection Act with that of the legal regime in the UK under the Protection of Children Act 1978 and the Obscene Publications Act 1959.
6. Cultural issues, community standards, obscenity and hate speech: the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime and its ratification.


This module is at CQFW Level 7