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Sessions at SXSW Interactive 2012 about Law

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Saturday 10th March 2012

  • Can You Tweet That? Social Media and the Law

    by Dara Quackenbush

    A resident tweets about a moldy apartment; the apartment company sues her for libel. An employee is fired because of a photo on Facebook. A monkey takes a self portrait on a digital camera accidently left in the forest by a photographer. Who owns the copyright – the monkey or the photographer? A month after the court verdict, there are more than 40 Facebook pages entitled F*ck Casey Anthony.

    In today’s digital age, technology is advancing faster than the law. Do old-school laws apply to new-school technology? Don’t we have 1st Amendment rights online or should we be scared about what we post? In this thought-provoking session, we’ll look at legal issues, such as defamation, copyright, the 1st Amendment and hate speech, and how these issues apply to social media. We’ll discuss the definitions of these issues and examine recent court cases around social media and let the audience decide if these cases have merit.

    At 9:30am to 10:30am, Saturday 10th March

    In Capital Ballroom, Omni Downtown

  • SOPA/PIPA: Why the Open Internet Needs Us

    by Elizabeth Stark, Andrew McLaughlin and Gary Kovacs

    This January, 15 million people came out and had their voice heard in opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP act. Major technology organizations and startups, such as Mozilla, Wordpress, and Wikipedia, took their first ever leap into engaging into technology policy issues. The Internet spoke, and for a single day was virtually unified in its opposition to these bills.

    So SOPA and PIPA are dead, right? Well, not actually.

    In this session, we'll discuss how we're just at the beginning of a much longer battle. We'll examine what's at stake for the future of the open internet. What could change if things turn out differently? Why should entrepreneurs, technologists, creators, and members of the internet community care? What are the real issues that could effect each and every one of us if we don't continue in the direction of a free and open internet? And why does the internet need us now?

    At 11:00am to 12:00pm, Saturday 10th March

    In Salon C, AT&T Conference Center

Sunday 11th March 2012

  • How Is Internet Helping People Make Their Own Laws

    by Ronaldo Lemos and Sergio Branco

    Brazil's Marco Civil da Internet is a proposed new national law regulating the rights and responsibilities of Internet users and service providers. Crafted through an open, participatory process, it sets a new standard for national laws governing privacy, freedom of expression, online liability, net neutrality and open government. It is also a real example of "wiki government" in action. After the inovative Marco Civil da Internet, that is now being debated at Brazilian Congress, a huge reform in the Brazilian Copyright Law, a Personal Data Law and even the Code of Civil Procedure are being discussed on open plataforms on the internet, which allows a whole new model of direct democracy. Come learn about what has been accomplished in Brazil and might come to a government near you.

    At 5:00pm to 6:00pm, Sunday 11th March

    In Room 5ABC, Austin Convention Center

    Coverage audio clip

Monday 12th March 2012

  • The Systematic Undoing of Copyright Trolls

    by Robert Spanner

    Lawyers who file mass copyright suits against defenseless persons who copied from copyrighted text for the most innocent of reasons, such as to disclose an illicit practice, or to criticize or endorse an idea, are called copyright trolls. It is purely a profit-making venture. They count on the considerable cost of a legal defense, and the statutory maximum of $150,000, to extort thousands of dollars in settlement from each of their victims. Their aggregate demands in some cases have exceeded a billion dollars.
    The most effective means of dealing with copyright trolls is to treat them like vermin. For example, because these cases are filed in volume, there is little attention to detail, and misstatements are frequent. These misstatements may occur in statutory representations under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or in sworn affidavits. They are perjurious, and the troll and/or his client can accurately be characterized as a perjuror to the Federal District Court. Attorney.
    This program will discuss tactics for dealing with copyright trolls, and available defenses to their attacks.

    At 9:30am to 10:30am, Monday 12th March

    In Room 12AB, Austin Convention Center

Tuesday 13th March 2012