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Roundtable Weighs In on Legal Blogs

The National Law Journal and the Association of American Law Schools co-sponsored a roundtable discussion, titled "Blogging, Scholarship and the Bench and Bar" on Sept. 17 at Santa Clara University School of Law. The co-moderators were AALS President Nancy Rogers and NLJ staff reporter Leigh Jones. Panelists were Paul Butler, Cindy Cohn, Eric Goldman, Judge Michael Daly Hawkins and Lawrence Solum. Check out the excerpts from the discussion on Law.com. [JH]

October 12, 2007 in Law Professor Blogging | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Regulating Your Second Life: Defamation in Virtual Worlds

Bettina Chin, Editor-in-Chief of the Brooklyn Law Review has deposited Regulating Your Second Life: Defamation in Virtual Worlds in SSRN. Her note is published at 72 Brooklyn Law Review 1303 (2007). Here's the abstract: 

Although the issue of virtual harm has never been raised in real-world courts, virtual worlds like Second Life have become increasingly significant in terms of both time and money for their users. As such, it is important to develop theories of how the law may apply to and resolve disputes that originate in these worlds. This Note will therefore argue that because users have imported real-world concepts, specifically currency and economy, into the metaverse, it would behoove brick and mortar societies to provide for redress if a user suffers pecuniary loss in these worlds. This Note will also explore certain ambiguities inherent and unique to the virtual environment when traditional elements of defamation law are applied to it. Moreover, this Note will argue that real-world courts should be the proper forum in which to litigate defamation actions, where victims suffer pecuniary loss due to the fall of their reputations.


October 11, 2007 in Second Life, Virtual Communities | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Policing Diversity in the Digital Age: Maintaining Order in Virtual Communities

David Wall (University of Leeds, Law) and Matthew Williams (University of Wales System, Cardiff School of Social Sciences) have published Policing Diversity in the Digital Age: Maintaining Order in Virtual Communities, 7 Criminology & Criminal Justice 391 (2007). A copy of their paper is also available as an SSRN download. Here's the abstract: 

Members of 'terrestrial' communities are increasingly migrating to a new 'Third Space' that manifests outside traditional geographical physical boundaries. This online space consists of purely social relations where interaction and community are performed at-a-distance. The diverse populations of these virtual villages, towns and cities now constitute very real communities. Online non-gaming spaces such as Ebay, Active Worlds and Secondlife, for example, deliberately utilize the discourse of community in an attempt to instil a sense of communal space and shared responsibility among their members. While the majority subscribe to the rhetoric of 'netizenship' others find alternative means to participate online. The avocations of these few have resulted in the endemic deviance/crime problem that exits online. As a result, online communities have developed their own distinct history of control and regulation.

This article explores the ways that online social spaces maintain orderly 'communities'. It contrasts 'proximal' (online) forms of governing online behaviour, such as online reputation management systems, 'virtual' police services and vigilante groups that employ 'online shaming', with 'distal' (offline) forms such as offline policing and criminal justice processes. The central theme of the article is a critical account of how these, often contradicting, nodes of governance interact.


October 10, 2007 in Virtual Communities | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Intel Launches Cool Software

Intel has launched a new Web 2.0-inspired Web site to solicit information and feedback from the public on software companies and technologies. Check out CoolSW. [JH]

October 10, 2007 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Senate Judiciary Committee Backs "Reporter's Privilege" for Bloggers

From CNet News:

"Anyone regularly engaged in "journalism," which would seem to include some bloggers, wouldn't generally be forced to divulge confidential sources in federal cases under a bill approved by a U.S. Senate committee.

By a 15-2 vote, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee backed an amended version of the so-called Free Flow of Information Act. Sens. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) cast the "no" votes.

Some form of "reporter's privilege," either through laws or court decisions, already exists in 49 states and the District of Columbia. This bill would extend that protection to federal cases, shielding anyone engaged in the practice of "journalism"--with a number of exceptions, naturally--from being forced to give up confidential information or provide testimony.

The term "journalism" clearly would sweep up at least some bloggers because the bill defines it thusly: "the regular gathering, preparing, collecting, photographing, recording, writing, editing, reporting, or publishing of news or information that concerns local, national, or international events or other matters of public interest for dissemination to the public."  [RJ]

October 9, 2007 in Blog Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

SIMS Lectures on Search

The following guest lectures were presented at UC Berkeley's School of Information in the Fall of 2005 for a course titled Search Engines: Technology, Society, and Business.

Google Co-Founder Sergey Brin's views on search, Google, and life.

Yahoo's Dr. Jan Pederson & Dr. Daniel Rose on user experience issues in web searching.

Stanford linguistics professor and NPR commentator Dr. Geoffrey Nunberg on how search engines shape users' perception of the web.

EFF IP attorney Jason Schultz on intellectual property and search.

To view all lectures for this course that have been made available on YouTube, check out the play list.

Last week, UC-Berkeley announced it was distributing class lectures like the above on YouTube. Read more about it. [JH]

October 8, 2007 in Search | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack