Course Unit Page


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

Quality education Decent work and economic growth Peace, justice and strong institutions

Academic Year 2020/2021

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student acquires the theoretical and operational tools to understand the legal discipline applicable to the digital markets.

Course contents

 Lesson plan

  1. Introduction to the law of digital markets
  2. The protection of software and algorithms from the copyright perspective
  3. [Case studies] Software functionality and reverse engineering (CJEU, case C – 406/10 - SAS Institute). GUI (CJEU, case C-393/09 – Bezpečnostní softwarová asociace)
  4. The protection of software and algorithms in the context of patent law and trade secret
  5. The protection of (non-personal) data: copyright, sui generis right and trade secret
  6. [Case studies] Meta search engines (CJEU, case C-202/12 –Innoweb). Screen Scraping (CJEU, case C-249/17 – Ryanair)
    The EU regulatory plan for the data economy
  7. The protection of personal data in the context of commercial activity in the light of the EU Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (2016/679): user profiling for marketing purposes. Analysis of Facebook's privacy policy.
  8. Trademarks, company domain names and other distinctive signs of the company operating online
  9. [Case studies] Keyword advertising (CJEU, case C-323/09 –Interflora). Online advertising (CJEU, case C‑684/19 – MK Advokaten)
  10. Electronic commerce and the conclusion of contracts by electronic means
  11. [Case studies] Approval by click (CJEU, case C-322/14 – El Majdoub). Analysis of the terms and conditions of the Amazon marketplace
  12. Sale of goods and supply of online services: an overview of Directive (EU) 2019/770 (on certain aspects concerning contracts for the supply of digital content and digital services) and of Directive (EU) 2019/771 (on certain aspects concerning contracts for the sale of goods)
  13. Technology platforms: an overview of the (EU) Regulation on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services (2019/1150)
  14. Technology platforms: the role and obligations of gatekeepers in the new proposal for a Digital Markets Act (2020)
  15. [Case studies] Selective distribution systems and prohibition of internet sales (CJEU, case C-230/16 – Coty). Secondary markets (CJEU, case C-128/11 – Usedsoft)
  16. [Case studies] Platforms and competition (CJEU, case C-320/16 – Uber). Platforms and competition (CJEU, case C ‑ 390/18 – Airbnb)
  17. The general regime on the liability of Internet Service Providers provided for by the Directive (EC) on electronic commerce (2000/31/EC) and the possible reform deriving from the new proposal for a Digital Services Act (2020)
  18. [Case studies] Filtering systems (CJEU, case C‑360/10 –SABAM). "Active" role of the provider (CJEU, case C‑682/18 –YouTube)
  19. The special regulation on the non-contractual liability of online content sharing service providers provided for by the Directive on copyright in the digital single market (790/2019/EU). The terms of service and the notice-and-take-down procedure adopted by Google for YouTube


For attending students, the relevant materials will be indicated from time to time by the teacher in class, and subsequently uploaded on Virtuale, the e-learning platform of the Unibo (https://virtuale.unibo.it/).

For non-attending students, the study of the following text is mandatory:

G. Smorto, A. Quarta, Diritto privato dei mercati digitali, Firenze, Le Monnier Università, 2020, pp. 1 - 317.

Teaching methods

The topics covered by the program will be analyzed in depth and discussed in the classroom, moving from the reading - under the guidance of the teacher - of the relevant norms and through the illustration of the relevant case law and contracts.

Students attending classes will be actively involved in the discussion to develop the hermeneutical and critical skills necessary for a correct approach to the subject-matters of positive law. This will be particularly evident when case studies will be exposed and treated in class, with respect to which students will be asked to examine the way in which the rules are used to support the opposing arguments of the parties involved and to extract the legal principles, and their implications, from the legal decisions.

During the course, students will be asked to carry out, under the guidance of the teacher, also practical activities, such as the extraction of legal principles from the judgements of the CJEU.

ATTENTION: Given the current situation due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and considering that the program has been published in July 2020 (while the course will take place in the II semester of the a.y 2020-2021) changes to the teaching methods will be possible. Students are advised to periodically check this web page and the institutional communication channels of the Degree course, in order to be informed of any changes.

Assessment methods

For students attending classes, the exam will consists of two parts, the first of which is preliminary to the second:

(1) a 15-questions multiple choice test, with three possible answers, one of which is correct. One point will be given for each correct answer. The exam is passed with at least 9 correct answers out of 15 questions;

(2) in the event of passing the multiple choice test as indicated above, a written paper of 10-15 pages to be discussed during the examination. Up to a maximum of 15 points are given for the paper. The paper is considered sufficient with a minimum score of 9 points.

The final mark is made up of the sum of the points achieved during the test and the points obtained with the paper.

For non-attending students, the exam takes place exclusively in oral form (4 open questions) on the above textbook.

For the purposes of the exam, students attending not less than 75% of the total lesson hours will be considered attending students.

The evaluation of the test will be carried out taking into consideration the knowledge of the legal principles, the ability to analyze the case law and legal scholarship, the ability to make connections between the different parts of the program, the ability to develop critical arguments, the articulation of exposure, the exposure accuracy.

Students can take the exam only after passing the Private Law exam.

To register for the appeals you need to use the AlmaEsami system. Registrations that are late compared to the terms indicated on AlmaEsami and / or off-list are not allowed.

Teaching tools

Students who, due to disability or specific learning disorders (DSA), need compensatory tools shall communicate to the teacher their needs so as to be directed to the relevant persons and agree on the adoption of the most appropriate measures.

Office hours

See the website of Giorgio Spedicato