Cloud Computing Law: Transactions

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  • Understanding Cloud Computing
    • This week, we cover the basics of cloud computing. We look at how cloud computing technology works and how it differs from traditional, in-house IT. We explain that cloud is not 'one thing': instead, there are different service types and deployment models, as well as so-called 'layered' services. We then look at the legal implications of different cloud services. Finally, we consider the importance of data location and the relationship between cloud customers and providers. By the end of this week, you will be able to identify the legal and regulatory risks that a potential cloud customer should consider.
  • Standard Cloud Contracts
    • The relationship between the cloud customer and the provider is governed by contract. Cloud contracts set out the parties' rights and obligations. They also cover issues such as choice of law and forum, liability in case of breach of contract, how changes might be made, and what happens when a contract is terminated. This week, we look at the clauses typically found in standard cloud contracts and what these might mean in practice for both customers and providers. We highlight how these clauses can differ per provider - and how cloud contracts differ from other IT contracts, such as those for outsourcing and IP licensing. By the end of this week, you should describe the terms a cloud customer is likely to find in standard cloud contracts.
  • Negotiated Cloud Contracts
    • Standard cloud contracts typically favour the provider. However, large businesses or government departments can sometimes negotiate more favourable terms with cloud providers. This week, we look at the factors that influence whether cloud providers will negotiate terms with customers, as well as the terms customers want to negotiate - and how those negotiations typically develop. By the end of this week, you will be able to describe a cloud customer's prospects for negotiating contract terms with a cloud provider.
  • Intellectual Property in the Cloud
    • This week, we look at questions of 'ownership' of information stored, created, processed, and distributed in cloud environments. We examine the information flows between cloud providers and their customers and distinguish between content that is stored and processed by users, from information generated by cloud providers. We'll see that, although intellectual property law may determine ownership rights in relevant information, the law does not necessarily achieve what parties to cloud computing transactions expect or need. Moreover, in practice, ownership may be less important than control over, and access to, information. By the end of this week, you will be able to describe how a cloud customer can protect and control information in the cloud.