Geoffrey Sampson


Law for Computing Students

by Geoffrey Sampson


The days when computing graduates took jobs which involved sitting in a back room hacking code all day vanished with the twentieth century. (“The IT Crowd” may work fine as a TV sitcom, but real life is a different matter!) Nowadays, employers are looking for recruits who combine technical knowledge with business savvy, so that they can actively find ways of exploiting information technology to advance their organization’s goals.

One important part of understanding how a business works is a broad general awareness of the legal environment within which the business (and its partners and competitors) are operating.

This brief (50,000-word) textbook aims to introduce computing students in a painless, readable fashion to the basics of law as it applies to information technology. It is published online, free for readers to download and print off anonymously (under a novel publishing model, financed through advertising by companies looking to recruit graduates).

After surveying the fundamentals of how English law works, the book looks in turn at the areas of law which are most significant for IT-related aspects of (private- or public-sector) business. The book certainly won’t substitute for taking professional advice when a specific problem arises (that is not its purpose) – but it should show what IT issues are liable to throw up legal problems, and help the reader understand a lawyer’s advice.

IT law is changing rapidly as the technology itself develops. A student needs not only to learn something about the law as it stands, but also to gain a feeling for the trends and pressures that are influencing the development of law as it relates to our profession. That is part of what this book offers. The legal rules discussed are illustrated via concrete details of real cases, which adds human interest to the consideration of dry abstract principles.

Chapter titles:

  1. Introduction
  2. The nature of English law
  3. Faulty supplies
  4. Intellectual property
  5. Law and rapid technical change: a case study
  6. Personal data rights
  7. Web law
  8. Regulatory compliance

131 pp.

Published online and free to readers by Ventus Publishing ApS of Frederiksberg, Denmark, under the “BookBoon” imprint.

ISBN 978-87-7681-471-7

For third-party comments on Bookboon’s novel model of textbook publishing, see e.g. write-ups on the sites of Campus Technology, Kansas State University, and Education Times.

Geoffrey Sampson

last changed 30 Aug 2010