This module is a resource for lecturers


This section contains material that is meant to support lecturers and provide ideas for interactive discussions and case-based analysis of the topic under consideration.

Exercise # 1 - The case of Megaupload

In 2012, the United States charged Kim Dotcom, and his affiliates, with conspiracy to commit copyright infringement and profit from copyright infringement committed via Megaupload, and sought his extradition to the United States pursuant to the existing bilateral extradition treaty between the United States and New Zealand (i.e., Extradition (United States of America) Order 1970).

Please review the following:

Discussion questions

  • What are your initial reactions to this case?
  • How would you characterize the criminal justice response to Kim Dotcom? Why?
  • What is the status of the case?
  • Was Kim Dotcom extradited?
  • What theory (or theories) can be used to explain Kim Dotcom's actions and/or the actions of those who used his platform to engage in digital piracy?

Exercise # 2 - Innovative technological solutions to intellectual property theft

The use of blockchain has been promoted as a way to protect intellectual property.

Review the following:

Discussion questions:

  • Is blockchain a viable way to protect intellectual property? Why or why not?
  • Are there any drawbacks to its use?

Exercise # 3 - Learning from literature and TV: The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks

Human rights, medical ethics and intellectual property have been featured in literature and film. In 2010, Rebecca Skloot, wrote a non-fiction book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which was adapted into a TV movie.

Please read the book or watch the TV movie. Answer the following questions:

  • What were the intellectual property issues discussed in the work?
  • How would you characterize the manner in which they were handled?
  • What circumstances influenced the handling of the intellectual property?

Exercise # 4 - Intellectual Property Rights Debate

Before class, have students review the following documents, which offer a counter-perspective on intellectual property rights:

  • Silbey, Jessica M. (2018). The Mythical Beginnings of Intellectual Property. George Mason Law Review, Vol. 15, 319-379.
  • Wall, David S. (2017). The Theft of Ideas as a Cybercrime: Downloading and Changes in the Business Model of Creative Arts. In M. McGuire and T. Holt (eds). The Handbook of Technology, Crime & Justice (pp. 161-177) , Routledge.

Divide the class into groups. In these groups, have the students argue either for the maintenance of intellectual property rights or against the maintenance of intellectual property right.

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