91424 - Information, Technology And Law

Academic Year 2021/2022

  • Moduli: Giuseppe Contissa (Modulo 1) Francesca Lagioia (Modulo 2)
  • Teaching Mode: Traditional lectures (Modulo 1) Traditional lectures (Modulo 2)
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Legal Studies (cod. 9062)

    Also valid for Single cycle degree programme (LMCU) in Law (cod. 9232)

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course unit, students: - know the fundamental principles governing information technology as well as how they can be applied in the legal field, and are capable to gain further knowledge in this sector even where technology and law evolve; - are aware of the ways information technologies are applied in the fields of economy, public administrations, companies and, in particular, legal activities, and are also capable to assess social and legal impact of these dynamics; - know the regulatory frameworks applicable to information technology and are capable to analyze technology and information systems against the background of the national and international legal evolutions in the field of law.

Course contents

For students attending the course (frequentanti), the detailed course content corresponds to the list of readings and materials with the possibility of replacing some contents with new topics discussed during the lectures.

For students not attending the course (non frequentanti) the detailed course content corresponds to the list of readings and materials.

Erasmus students follow the same programme of regular students.

For students coming from other degree courses, that have already passed an exam of Legal Informatics, the course contents for possible integration shall be agreed with the professor.

The course is divided into two parts: Legal informatics and IT law.

Legal informatics:

  • Law in the information society – introduction to the legal informatics: basic concept, evolution of the discipline, applications and perspectives;

  • Computer system and Information system: the evolution and the impact of informatics, its application to the legal information systems;

  • Computer and elaboration of information: hardware, digital era, from algorithm to software, software life cycle, and modelling formalisms (UML);

  • Text and data structuring and archiving: archives, databases and information retrieval, database management system and document management (HTML, XML);

  • Distributed knowledge society: telematics, information networks, the Internet, Web, Semantic Web, Web 2.0, online legal documents;

  • Dematerialization society: legal rules and Internet rules, the governance of the Internet, domain names, cryptography and digital signature;

  • Artificial intelligence and law: artificial intelligence, rule-based systems and legal reasoning.

IT law:

  • Protection of technological goods between the patent and copyright: software, digital contents, databases and domain names;

  • IT contracts: hardware contracts, software user licence and development license, other IT contracts;

  • New legal regimes for digital contents: open source and creative commons;

  • Protection of personal data:: privacy and individual rights, information and freedom, data security;

  • E-document and digital signature: cryptography, legal validity, evidentiary value.

  • E-commerce: on-line contracts, advertising on the web, liability of service providers, consumer protection.



G. Contissa, Information Technology for the Law, Giappichelli 2017


  • Balkin, J. M. (2009). The future of free expression in a digital age. Pepperdine Law Review, 36:101–18.
  • Benkler, Y. (2011). Growth-oriented law for the networked information economy: Empha- sizing freedom to operate over power to appropriate. In Rules for Growth, pages 312–342. Kauffman.
  • Contissa, G., Romeo, F., and Sartor, G. (2017). Legal informatics.
  • Contissa, G., Lagioia, F., and Sartor, G. (2017b). The ethical knob. Artificial intelli-gence and Law.
  • Floridi, L. (2013). The onlife manifesto: The onlife initiative. In Floridi, L., editor, The Onlife Manifesto: Being Human in a Hyperconnected Era, pages 7–13. Springer.
  • Lessig, L. (2006). Code V2. Basic Books.
  • Russell, S., Dewey, D., and Tegmark, M. (2015). Research priorities for robust and beneficial artificial intelligence.
  • Russell, S. J. and Norvig, P. (2010). Artificial Intelligence. A Modern Approach. Prentice Hall, 3 edition.
  • Sartor, G. (2017). Human rights and information technologies. In Brownsword, R., Scotford, E., and Yeung, K., editors, The Oxford Handbook on the Law and Regulation of Technology, pages 424–450. Oxford University Press.

Teaching methods

Lectures are held by Prof. Contissa and Dr. Lagioia with the support of collaborators.

We warmly invite the students to actively participate in the lectures and discuss with teachers and other students the news and events, related to the topics of the course

During the course the students will have a chance to attend different conferences held by professors and professional lawyers on the topics of this course.

In accordance with the health emergency from Covid-19, teaching will be carried out following the traditional method of lectures. The possibility of taking online courses is always ensured.

Further information available at the following Internet address: https://dsg.unibo.it/en/teaching/projects-and-teaching-methodologies

The exam can only be taken after having passed the exams of Constitutional Law and Private Law.

Assessment methods

The exam, consists of a written test and an oral test, both of which are compulsory:

1) Written test: it consists of 20 multiple-choice quizzes covering the entire course content. The test will take place on the EOL – Online Exams platform with the support of the Zoom app for surveillance. The duration of the test is 20 minutes. Results will be published within 1 day.

The written test grade will be expressed in /30.

2) Oral test: students who have passed the written test (min 18/30) can take the oral test. The test will take place on Microsoft Teams.

The oral test consists of two or three questions that may cover the entire content of the course.
In the oral test, the student starts with the grade obtained in the written test, to which a maximum of 3 points may be added, and it may also lead to reducing the grade from the written test.

Office hours

See the website of Giuseppe Contissa

See the website of Francesca Lagioia


Quality education Reduced inequalities Sustainable cities Peace, justice and strong institutions

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.