A true sign of the times, the Law Society of Ireland has created a new technology course that encompasses the convoluted realm of social media.
The law industry is not unlike government, in that it has been forced to play catch-up in the online world. The digital revolution has been so quick and all-encompassing that policing, legislating and representing those online has not been easy.
None of this is more apparent than in social media, where injunctions are broken, leaked documents are shared and traditional attitudes to licensing are often flouted.
The Law Society of Ireland is looking to address that, with a new diploma in technology and IP law. Its five modules are: intellectual property, data protection, technology contracts, social media, and the law and technology.
The reason the organisation is dipping its toe into the Twitterverse and beyond is because the whole area “is one of the most and dynamic and innovative” ones around, according to Freda Grealy, head of its diploma centre.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner earlier this week, Grealy said: “We look at what’s happening in law firms. There are constant developments in copyright and data protection; there are developments all the time in social media, e-commerce, cybersecurity and financial technology.
“It is one area that the law will have to adapt and change, so on the course, participants will be looking at what principles might apply now.”
One key area of the course looks at “applicable torts such as defamation, and the rights and duties attaching to social media, blogging and internet usage”, according to the organisation.
The Law Society of Ireland is hardly the first institution to look at social media; indeed, this course comes on the back of successful variants in recent years, with human rights and general law in the digital age at the forefront. Dublin City University, for example, is already hosting an MA in the area.
However, from a legal standpoint, social media is perhaps the most interesting communication field around at the moment.