Information Law Institute

Event Archive

Workshop: Public Design

Friday-Saturday, September 13-14, 2002

Snow Dining Room
Vanderbilt Hall
40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012

At the intellectual core of the workshop is the idea that values may be embodied in computer and information systems, which has surfaced in important recent work in several disciplines. With this as a starting point, the workshop focuses on pragmatic questions of whether active and systematic attention to public values can yield devices and systems better able to promote the public good, and if so, what forms such interventions could take.

In order to study the process of design and the potential loci of normatively informed intervention, we hope to use the workshop to explore the trajectory of a design process and the critical junctures at which public considerations can be brought to bear. We would invite the participants to chart the complex journey traveled from earliest ideas to the completion of a system or device, taking note not only of scientific and engineering steps but also social, political and economic ones. (Of course, we concede that the task of identifying public values in diverse societies is itself a thorny problem.)

We plan to give special attention to technologies of security and privacy, both to lend a focus to our discussions and to acknowledge their increased prominence in the wake the World Trade Center attacks and aftermath. This focus will, however, will not preclude attention to general theories of the shaping of technology, including historical discussion. The idea is to build on the relevant knowledge and know-how of diverse fields of study and practice.

Presentation: Niva Elkin Koren -- Virtual Gatekeepers and Legal Impediments: Reflections on Kelly v. Arriba

Friday, March 1, 2002

2:30-4:00 PM
Room 202
Vanderbilt Hall
40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012

The proliferation of information in cyberspace makes providers and users dependent on technical means that allow retrieval and selection of relevant information from the large amount of available data. The increasing importance of technical means of selection makes search engines a focal point for controlling access to information, which, in turn, gives them a key role in shaping the information environment. Recent cases mark an emerging trend towards creation of broad legal rights to control indexing, a trend that may create unnecessary impediments to competition and to the free flow of information on the Internet.

Dr. Niva Elkin Koren is one of the pioneers of cyberlaw and its relations to copyright and intellectual property more generally. Her work is broad gauged, ranging from path breaking analyses of copyright and democratic dialogue to more recent work on the effects of cyberspace on the economic analysis of law.

Conversation: Siva Vaidhyanathan -- Life in a Distributed Age

Wednesday, February 6, 2002

5:30 PM
Room 210
Vanderbilt Hall
40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012

The Information Law Institute presents a lecture by Siva Vaidhyanathan, author of Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How it Threatens Creativity. The talk will examine a series of conflicts between models of distributed information and centralized information regulation. The Napster battle serves as the first case study. It then considers a series of seemingly disparate examples of similar tensions and clashes, including encryption, secrecy, privacy, and security. The talk argues that we must take a systemic view of such conflicts and discuss ways to preserve democratic processes that depend on relatively open information systems. The presentation will be followed by a discussion with Helen Nissenbaum and members of the audience.

CAT Special Event: MAXIS/SimCity Presentation

January 2002

12:30-1:30 PM
Room 109
Warren Weaver Hall
251 Mercer Street
New York, NY 10012

You have probably played their games. Now you can see how they do it! The NYU Center for Advanced Technology cordially invites you to participate in an informal discussion with Lucy Bradshaw, General Manager of Maxis. She will be presenting a case study of the development of Sim projects, focusing on the use of research to drive content and format. Included will be a discussion of both the creative and business decisions that were made while originally developing the products and how the results of those decisions drive both continuing and new development. Game demos will be included.

Presentation: Peter Eckersley -- Virtual Markets for Virtual Goods: An Alternative Aproach to Digital Copyright

Tuesday, January 29, 2002

6:00 PM
Room 312
Vanderbilt Hall
40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012

The Internet and Copyright Law are particularly ill-suited to each other. One is designed to give as much information as possible to everyone who wants it; the other allows authors, artists and publishers to earn money by restricting the distribution of information.

The beneficiaries of copyright law are lobbying for the re-design of computers and the Internet to support "content control" and "digital rights management." These technologies are intended to make copyright workable again by re-imposing limits on access to information. They are understandably unpopular with the denizens of cyberspace.

In this talk, Peter Eckersley will argue that there is another, better, solution to the digital copyright problem -- the "virtual market." Virtual Markets are digital and economic institutions which allow the producers of valuable information -- such as writing and music -- to be payed, without controlling the distribution of their works. The talk will explore some of the requirements for and implications of these institutions.

Workshop: On the Street or Not

December 14, 2001

4:00-6:00 PM
NYU Center for Advanced Technology
719 Broadway
12th Floor

This workshop discusses material and media interventions in the current political situation. Artists and activists will discuss recent interventions and address the possibility of coordinating media strategies. This discussion will include Jordi Claramonte of Fiambrera Obrera - Las Agencias; a representative from RTMark; a Bureau specialist; an update from Chris Csikszentmihalyi's robots for Afghanistan and a brief survey of publications (perhaps even a preview of Laura Kurgan's map of the WTC site (tbc)), groups, and events. The workshop is focused towards planning a series of workshops and exhibition, called Street Weapons, scheduled for February, and will address the question: what is the immediate future of civil disobedience, the use of public space and public media in the US given the anti-terrorism strategies?

Workshop: The Commons Project

November 2001

Vanderbilt Hall
40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012

In November, 2001, the Information Law Institute, in collaboration with the Berkeley Technology Law Center, and funded by the Center for the Public Domain, held a two day workshop designed to foster collaboration and exchange of ideas about information commons. The purpose was to explore the possibilities of commons as institutional mechanisms for the organization of information production and exchange in the digitally networked environment.

Workshop: Developing a New Spectrum Policy

May 18, 2001

Vanderbilt Hall
40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012

In May 2001, The Information Law Institute, together with Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, organized a workshop on spectrum policy. Until the last decade, the universe of options for regulating spectrum was technologically limited. Given the relative crudeness of reception devices that could be made cheaply enough for consumer markets, the only way for a signal from a transmitter to be received by a receiver was for the transmitter to be louder than all other sources of radiation in a given frequency.

Conference: A Free Information Ecology in the Digital Environment

Friday-Sunday, March 31-April 2, 2000

Room 216
Vanderbilt Hall
40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012

The driving concern of Internet policy debates in the latter part of the 1990s has been how to help this plaything grow-up. The free, informal exchange of information that typified the Net's first quarter century was fine for childhood, so conventional wisdom went, but growing up meant going commercial. And the development of an e-commerce friendly environment has driven much of the debate on information policy more generally-intellectual property law for the digital environment, broadband policy on the telecommunications side of the debate, and privacy concerns, to name a few prominent examples.