Syllabus (Formerly INFOSEC 690L)

  • Summer 2024 
    5/20/24 - 7/24/24 with a break from 6/23/24-7/6/24
    Monday & Wednesday 6:00 - 8:00 P.M. Fully remote, required online synchronous meetings
  • Fall 2024.  September 3, 2024 - December 10, 2024
    Tuesday & Thursday, 10:00 A.M.-11:15 A.M. 
  • Instructor:  Marvin Cable, J.D., Esquire 

  • Email:

Summer Course Layout
The course is a 3-credit, semester-length course and is divided into 11 units. Each unit has reading material(s) and/or multimedia. Also, each unit will have assignments to complete. There will be weekly lectures on Monday & Wednesday 6:00 - 8:00 P.M.  Course will be synchronous online via Zoom.  

Fall Course Layout

The course is a 3-credit, semester-length course and is divided into 11 units. Each unit has reading material(s) and/or multimedia. Also, each unit will have assignments to complete. There will be bi-weekly lectures, Tuesday and Thursday, 10:00 A.M.-11:15 A.M.  Undergrad section in-person.  Grad sections in-person and fully remote with required online synchronous meeings via Zoom.

Office hours.  TBA

Communication policy.

Per the University Email Policy, students are expected to check their email regularly. Instructor will use student's UMass email address as  point of contact in all online tools (notably, Blackboard) and as the primary means to contact students individually outside of class.

  • When sending the course staff email, please include "COMPSCI 563" in the subject line to make sure staff answers them in a timely fashion.
  • Please check the syllabus and course web site before emailing the course staff.
  • Course staff typically respond to emails within about one business day, but I (Marvin) do not typically respond to communications after about 5 P.M. or on weekends. There may be other times during the course where response time may be longer, due the nature of Instructor being a working attorney. Course staff tend to get a high volume of email when a deadline is approaching. If students contact us at least two full business day before a deadline, you should get a reply before the exam or deadline. Otherwise we'll do our best, but no guarantees. 

For more info. on University Email Policy, see:

Summary: This course is meant for those looking for legal knowledge for use in computing- and Internet-related endeavors. The course will include topics related to security, policy, and the use of machine learning and related technologies. Course material provides practical information for use by computer professionals. Some of the topics covered include: infrastructure of the Internet, basic legal principles, contract law, substantive laws, intellectual property law, ethics, dealing with third parties, policy issues, and implications of applying machine learning technology. 

This course is pre-approved to count as an outside elective for the MS in Computer Science degree. 

Course open to:

UNIV LECT 01 COMPSCI undergrad majors only with C or better in COMPSCI 311, 383, or 360 (or 460).

UNIV LECT 02 COMPSCI and ECE graduate students

UNIV+  LECT 01 (UWW) COMPSCI graduate students; as well as any other student at the grad level with instructor permission (including non-matriculated/non-CS students).



All deadlines will be posted in Blackboard. 

Assessment and Grading.

The relative value of the various course components is approximately as follows:

  • 50% Assignments - this includes case briefs, reading and questions, law review responses, discussion board posts, and projects.
  • 30% Exams - this includes mid-term(s) and final.
  • 20% Attendance and Participation - this includes attendance and participation in class. 

Students are responsible for monitoring their grades. Grades will be available through Blackboard and students should check them regularly and review any provided feedback. If students encounter issues with grades, students will have one week past the first posting of a particular assignment's grade to Blackboard to contact the course staff so that staff can investigate. We will not generally accept questions about an individual assignment's grade beyond this one week, so students must be prompt. 

The numerical cutoff for final course letter grade assignment will be made after all grading is completed. Expect to require at least a 93 to get an A, a 90 to get an A-, an 87 to get a B+, an 83 to get a B, an 80 to get a B-, and so on.


Students are expected to attend all lectures and exams. More than 3 missed absences, without an approved excuse, may result in failure of the course.

For online students via Zoom, students must leave their webcam on and be able to participate using a microphone. In other words, online students should be able to communicate audio and visually to other students online and in-person.  Cameras must be on at all times to recieve credit for participation, unless otherwise stated during class or unreasonable. 

If a student will be absent (either from class, or from an exam) due to religious reasons, student must provide instructor with a written list of such dates within one week of enrollment in the course. If student will be absent for a University-related event, such as an athletic event, field trip, or performance, student must notify instructor as soon as possible. If student is absent for health reasons, notify instructor as soon as possible and provide written documentation. If student is absent for other extenuating non-academic reasons, such as a military obligation, family illness, jury duty, automobile collision, etc., notify instructor as soon as possible and provide written documentation. If student must miss an exam for an excusable reason, instructor will work with student to find an acceptable time to take a makeup. If student misses an exam without prior notice, instructor will require an explanation and clear written documentation in order to judge whether the absence is excusable. Exams must be made up within a week unless there are documented exceptional circumstances (such as a hospitalization or extended jury duty). Similarly, if a student misses a class without prior notice, instructor will require an explanation and written documentation in order to judge whether the absence is excusable.

About Grading.

  • All assignments are mandatory. 
  • Late assignments require excuse from instructor. For every day late - 10% drop in grade.
  • Goals of grading - to assess or challenge. 
  • Each student should attend and participate in lectures.
  • Blackboard grading may not be ready for viewing until later in the course.  
  • Final letter grades may be norm-referenced, influenced strongly by the performance of students this term, with the distribution of grades of previous students as a foundation.
  • There may be opportunities for extra credit in this course, at the discretion of the instructor, but only to make up for unexpected and unforeseen matters that have caused undue difficulties.
  • Incompletes: Incompletes will be granted only in exceptional cases, and only if students have completed at least half the course with a passing grade. Prior to that, withdrawal is the recommended course of action.

Late Work.

Late work will not be accepted. If a student needs an extension for an assignment, student should contact Instructor within a reasonable amount of time -- generally, at least, a full business day -- before the assignment is due. If student is incapacitated for one or more days up to and including the due date, there must be written documentation explaining student's inability to work on course material in order to consider granting a retroactive extension at instructor's discretion. All graded materials for this course will be retained until the end of next semester. If students wish to review them, please contact instructor during office hours (or make an appointment).


  • Internet Law: Cases and Problems, 12 Ed. 

Time management and what to expect.

As a general guideline, the university suggests that students spend an additional two to three hours outside of class time per credit hour. This is a three (3) credit course, therefore students should plan to spend six (6) to nine (9) hours a week on this course  outside of class. In a typical week, students will attend two class  and complete the assigned reading, case briefs, or questions before each lecture.


This Course is facilitated using an online technology platform, called Blackboard. To access Blackboard using a web-browser, use the URL: To access Blackboard using a mobile device, please visit the following URL to setup device:

This course also features remote access to lectures in real-time. To access lectures in real-time, we will be using Zoom. You may download a client for your computer or mobile device,; or, you may use a web-browser:


  • Unit 1:  Introduction & Orientation to Course
    • Introduction to Course
    • Class mechanics
  • Unit 2:  Basics of the law
    • Laws, statutes, regulations, common law, stare decisis, treaties, and the interactions between them
    • Issues of local, state, federal, and international laws
    • Jurisdiction related issues
  • Unit 3:  Basic Legal Skills
    • IRAC
    • Case Briefing
    • Critical Thinking
    • Critical Reading
    • Citation 
  • Unit 4:  Basics of the Internet
    • History of the Internet
    • Physical structure of the Internet
    • Governance of the Internet
  • Unit 5:  Contracts
    • Basics of contract law
    • Common examples of contracts, e.g., employment agreements, work for hire.
  • Unit 6:  Policy issues
    • Freedom of speech
    • Privacy
    • Open internet / Net neutrality
  • Unit 7:  Intellectual property law
    • Copyright
    • Trademark and unfair business
    • Patent
  • Unit 8:  Substantive laws
    • Criminal laws, and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA)
    • Stored Communications Act, Wiretap Act, Pen Register Act, Cyber Security Act.
    • Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)
  • Unit 9:  Ethics
    • Basic ethical dilemmas
    • Whitehat versus blackhat
    • Whistle blowing
  • Unit 10:  Dealing with employees and internal business relations
    • Employee privacy
    • Intellectual property issues with employees and organizations
  • Unit 11:  Dealing with third parties
    • Litigation basics, e.g., subpoenas, National Security Letters, requirements for safeguarding data for, and from, third parties.

Note: these topics are subject to change. 

Technical Support.

In the first days of the course, students should independently become familiar with the available technical support resources. Instructors are not expected to know about or how to fix technical issues.

If you need assistance with technical support to participate in this course, please review the Student Orientation & Resource Area or Contact 24/7 Support. You will have the option of email, live chat, or phone. Students may also use the Help Desk for technical support issues: (from this link, students will be able to chat, email and call technical support).

More technical support information is located on the login page, and should have been provided to students when they received their login credentials. Further technical support information is located in our course, under the Resources menu, on the left side-bar.

Academic Honesty.

All students and participants of courses at UMass Amherst are expected to read and abide by guidelines for academic honesty detailed in the Undergraduate Rights and Responsibilities and the Student Code of Conduct. The link to the Code of Conduct can be found here:

No form of cheating, plagiarism, fabrication, or facilitating of dishonesty will be condoned in the University community. Students will be expected to read and to act in accordance with the University Student Code of Conduct.

Underlying every action of this course, the Academic Honesty Policy. Students should know and understand Academic Honesty policy. The complete Academic Honesty Policy and forms are available at:

Accommodation Policy Statement.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst is committed to providing an equal educational opportunity for all students. If you have a documented physical, psychological, or learning disability on file with Disability Services (DS), Learning Disabilities Support Services (DSS), or Psychological Disabilities Services (PDS), you may be eligible for reasonable academic accommodations to help you succeed in your courses. If you have a documented disability that requires an accommodation, please notify your instructor within the first two weeks of the semester so that they can make appropriate arrangements.

Online Course Expectations & Netiquette.

The interactions between students and teachers for online classes are much different from traditional classroom classes. Many times, in online environments, there will be much more interaction between students than traditional classrooms. And, online interactions are not face-to-face.

A few weeks into this course, I predict that everyone in this class will interacted with everyone else in this class. I'm hoping that we can create a robust learning community that inspires and supports everyone's learning growth.

In support of maintaining a robust learning community, I ask that everyone follow a few simple guidelines:

  • Be a good person. Be respectful and responsible. Do unto others, as you would have others do unto you.
  • Respect people's time and bandwidth. Written communication should be meaningful and to the point. People are busy. Don't include large files, unless absolutely necessary.
  • Be formal. As to how formal communications should be, error on the side of being more formal. When possible, please use formal sentence structure. But, be clear and concise. And, use courteous language.
  • Respect copyrights. Do not violate copyright laws.
  • Cite clearly. Citations may, many times, be necessary. When a specific citation format is required, students will be notified. Otherwise, when providing citations please provide citations to authorities so that readers may identify and find those authorities for future research.
  • Be careful about outside materials. Please, be judicious with the use of outside materials. Use of outside materials in this course may be taken down by the instructor at any time.

Legal Statements.

While the instructor of this course is an attorney, no statements made by the instructor as a result of being engaged to teach this course should be construed as legal advice nor relied upon for any legal matter. Furthermore, no statement made by instructor as a result of teaching this course should be construed as having created of an attorney-client relationship.

In order to comply with Massachusetts's wiretapping statute, all students should be aware and understand that all communications for this class may be recorded. By participating in this course, a student consents to any rec.ordings made as a result of student's activity in the course. 

Wellness and Success

You are not alone at UMass - many people care about your well-being and many resources are available to help you thrive and succeed. Coursework is challenging and classes are not the only demand in your life.

You have resilience and are already using effective strategies to help you achieve your educational goals. Take stock of these and consider what new steps or resources could be helpful. Getting enough sleep, exercising, eating well, and connecting with others are all antidotes to stress. If you are struggling academically, reach out to your instructors and advisors prior to deadlines and before the demands of exams, papers, and projects reach their peak.

Students experiencing challenges including stress, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, loneliness, and trauma, or who feel down or alienated, can find it helpful to connect with one or more of the many supportive resources on campus that stand ready to assist you. You matter at UMass.

Title IX.

It is important that everyone on our campus is familiar with reporting procedures for sexual harassment and violence at UMass. Please visit the Title IX webpage at and the Sexual & Relationship Violence Resource Guide at to find more information about resources and reporting options. If you want to file a complaint, make a report, or find out about resources, you can contact a Title IX coordinator at or (413) 545-3464.

Name and Pronouns.

Everyone has the right to be addressed by the name and pronouns that they use for themselves. Students can indicate their preferred/chosen first name and pronouns on SPIRE, which appear on class rosters. Please let instructor know what name and pronouns instructor should use, especially if they are not on the roster. A student's chosen name and pronouns are to be respected at all times in the classroom.  

 Note: Syllabus may be changed at any time, for any reason.


Monday, May 24, 2021 to Wednesday, July 28, 2021
Wednesday, September 1, 2021 to Wednesday, December 8, 2021
Monday, August 24, 2020 to Friday, November 20, 2020
Tuesday, September 6, 2022 to Monday, December 12, 2022
Monday, May 23, 2022 to Wednesday, July 27, 2022
Tuesday, September 5, 2023 to Friday, December 8, 2023
Wednesday, May 31, 2023 to Wednesday, July 26, 2023
Monday, May 20, 2024 to Wednesday, July 24, 2024
Tuesday, September 3, 2024 to Tuesday, December 10, 2024
Class meets on: 
Remote participation
6:00–8:00 P.M.
Marvin Cable, Esquire
May, 2024