It is possible to write a dissertation in the area of IT Law during your doctoral studies in Law.
PhD candidates will be enrolled in the PhD Programme at the School of Law. Upon completion of their studies and defence of their dissertations, the candidates will be awarded a PhD degree in Law.
We expect the applicants to have a deep interest in undertaking research on a specific problem in the area of IT Law and the ambition as well as ability to explore it on the highest academic level. The fellows will work as part of a team at the IT Law Programme of the University of Tartu, in collaboration with an interdisciplinary group of scholars from other universities and organizations.
Candidates are expected to work IT law topics, for example on legal aspects of Big Data, Internet of Things, AI and robotics, blockchain, legal tech or other new technologies. Candidates will also benefit from a wide range of research and academic activities and collaboration in with other research projects in the field of AI, robotics and platform regulation.
If you wish to discuss about a potential topic in the field, please contact Associate Professor in IT Law, Ms Marta Cantero Gamito marta.cantero.gamito [ät] ut.ee or Associate Professor in IT Law, Mr Martin Ebers martin.ebers [ät] ut.ee.
While conducting their research, PhD Fellows will work in cooperation with their supervisor and co-supervisors. In the beginning of the first academic year of studies, PhD candidates and their supervisors draw up an individual study plan covering the entire period of the PhD studies. They also sign the PhD study agreement, which lays down the basic framework for the studies.
For further details please take a look at the PhD curriculum in Law and the main principles and regulations governing all PhD studies at the University of Tartu.
The University of Tartu is Estonia's leading research and development institution with more than 1400 Doctoral candidates conducting research at the university each year. More than 100 doctoral degrees are defended annually (more than half of the total number in Estonia). The University of Tartu belongs to the top 1% of the world's most-cited universities and research institutions in the fields of Clinical Medicine, Chemistry, Environment/Ecology, Plant and Animal Science, Geosciences, Social Sciences (general), Biology and Biochemistry and Engineering (ISI Web of Science 2013). A total of 20 of our scientist belong to the top 1% of most quoted scientists in the world. For general information on PhD studies at the University of Tartu please look here.
Author: Taivo Liivak
Dissertation defended: 11.01.2021
Self-driving vehicles can be divided into six levels, where Level 0 means no automation and Level 5 means full automation – whereby the vehicle copes with all of the conditions of the traffic environment and a human does not participate in the driving in any way. No Level 5 vehicles have yet been put into circulation, but full automation is expected to be achieved in the near future. Self-driving vehicles should help, among other things, in making traffic safer and increasing mobility, but it cannot be precluded that a self-driving vehicle will harm someone. This leads to the question of who is required to remedy the damage caused by a self-driving vehicle. Unlawfully caused damage is regulated by the Law of Obligations Act, which provides for general fault-based tortious liability, liability for damage caused by a source of greater danger (strict liability) and liability for damage caused by a defective product (product liability). Although there are currently no self-driving vehicles in circulation, they can hypothetically be placed in the existing legal space in order to assess what problems this raises in the field of liability for unlawful damage. This dissertation examines, inter alia, whether, on what grounds and against whom an injured person can bring a claim for damages under fault-based tortious liability, strict liability and product liability in a situation where the damage is caused by a self-driving vehicle. It analyses the situations in which an error in the software of a self-driving vehicle or in the digital services used by it could be deemed a defect of the vehicle and whether and to what an extent it is justified to discharge manufacturers of self-driving vehicles from liability based on the development risk defence. The dissertation also discusses how to assess the size of the risk of operation of self-driving vehicles and how to divide liability in a situation where mutual damage has been caused with the involvement of a self-driving vehicle, given that in the case of the latter, the driver’s conduct cannot be taken into account.
Author: Liliia Oprysk
Dissertation defended: 9.03.2020
Copyright protection ought to serve the public interest by incentivising artistic labour and facilitating dissemination of creative works. Inevitably, the grant of exclusive rights under copyright comes at the cost of reduced public access to protected works and distorted competition. Therefore, control conferred by exclusive rights is not absolute but must be confined to what is necessary to achieve the rationales of protection. Development of technology has challenged the established approaches to defining the appropriate scope of exclusive rights. Not least, the emergence of the digital environment as a new dissemination channel has contested the traditional distinction between the rights of material and immaterial dissemination enshrined under the EU copyright acquis. Secondary EU law seemingly denies any general limit to the right holder’s control over any primary or secondary acts of communication while exempting secondary distribution. The recent development under the CJEU jurisprudence, on the other hand, suggests that the variable circumstances of exploitation of a work call for a more nuanced approach. This thesis explores the development of the key economic rights under the EU copyright acquis against technological advancements and the distinction drawn between material and immaterial dissemination rights under secondary EU law. It advances the idea that the assumption enshrined under the EU copyright framework at the very outset of harmonisation is outdated and suggests reconciling of the approaches to regulating dissemination-related rights in the light of the developments under the acquis. To this end, a normative framework for evaluating the justifiability of extending the reach of exclusive rights beyond authorising every initial dissemination of a work is offered. Unlike the current approach to the scope of control, the outlined criteria take into account the changing circumstances of a work’s exploitation and the diverse interests involved.
Author: Kärt Pormeister
Dissertation defended: 13.01.2020
According to the principle of transparency arising from the General Data Protection Regulation of the EU, personal data must be processed in a manner transparent to the individual. As a general rule, the individual must be informed of the fact and purposes of the processing of their data, and the identity of the data controller. Accordingly, individuals must be provided this information prior to giving consent to the processing of their data. If the processing is undertaken without the consent of the individual (i.e. based on law), the general obligation to provide information applies. In addition, another measure of facilitating transparency of personal data processing is the purpose limitation, according to which personal data may only be processed for purposes for which it was collected. The first two described rules apply as well when personal data is processed for research purposes. However, the purpose limitation does not apply in the research context. Regardless of whether personal data was obtained based on informed consent or law, it can later be used for (different) research purposes. Thus, if personal data is processed for research purposes, transparency in relation to the individual should be facilitated via the provision of information regarding at least the fact and purposes of processing, and the identity of the controller. The aim of this dissertation is to determine, if and how transparency in relation to the individual is facilitated in scenarios where genetic data is being processed for research purposes. In order to do so, the author analyses problems related to the provision of information prior to obtaining consent for genetic research, and the shortcomings of the general obligation to provide information where genetic data is used in research without consent. The author concludes that current regulatory frameworks do not adequately facilitate transparency in relation to individuals in regard to the use of their genetic data if the genetic data is processed for research purposes.