Prof. Dr. Karl Morasch, Prof. Dr. Stefan Koos 


150 hours; Contact hours: 24h; Self-study: 126 hours



Module no. (Course no.):

2461 (24611)

Recommended prerequisites:

Basic knowledge of economics and private law, as is usually acquired in a Bachelor's program with a business or economics major.


The course deals with the economic and legal issues arising from the increasing importance of electronic marketplaces, markets for information goods (e.g. music, films or news) and social networks. The formation of social networks, particularities of information goods and markets with network effects as well as suitable corporate strategies for competition in such markets will be discussed. Subsequently, electronic marketplaces for consumers (e.g. ebay) and the use of e-commerce in trade between companies will be dealt with in the context of intermediation and auction theory. From a legal perspective, in addition to the intellectual property regulations relevant to information goods (copyright, software patents), the legal issues of electronic commerce under contract law and competition law as well as the particular legal problems of cross-border electronic commerce and domain law are dealt with. Further themes are the legal and economic implications of interactions on social networks (e.g. facebook) and the related problems of data protection and privacy policy.

Learning objectives

Students acquire knowledge of national and international legal norms for electronic commerce, intellectual property and social networks. From an economic perspective they gain an understanding of the concept and implications of information goods, the specifics of electronic marketplaces and the incentives to form social networks. By discussing both legal and economic aspects, students become aware of the complex interaction of the institutional framework and economic incentives.  

Proof of performance:

Written examination of 60 minutes or grade certification (“Notenschein”). If the proof of performance is provided in the form of a grade certification, this will be announced at the latest at the beginning of the course, together with the specific modalities for obtaining the grade certificate (which could for example comprise a combination of term paper and a class presentation).


  • Goyal, S. (2007), Connections: An Introduction to the Economics and Networks, Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press.

  • Shapiro, C., Varian H. R. (1999), Information Rules. A Strategic Guide to the NetworkEconomy, Boston (MA): Harvard Business School Press.

  • Shy, O., (2001), The Economics of Network Industries, Cambridge (UK): CambridgeUniversity Press.

  • Vulkan, N. (2003), The Economics of E-Commerce. A Strategic Guide to Understanding and Designing the Online Market Place, Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press.