FEB 23, 2009
4:30 PM - 5:30 PM
In recent years, the law has been asked to respond to a variety of disputes involving accessibility of information and related technical standards and practices. These disputes cover the waterfront from the design of proprietary media players to network neutrality to privacy protection for search queries. So far, the law has been unable to generate compelling discourses and principles for evaluating them.
Prof. Cohen will offer another way of thinking about issues of accessibility and unauthorized access. The reference point for this exercise will not be innovation, competition or expressive freedom, but rather the concept of “everyday practice,” a term intended to encompass all of the ways in which situated users experience and interact with networked information technologies and the purposes for which they do so.
Attention to the demands of everyday practice suggests that the law should shelter hacking and tinkering in many instances, and explains why those activities are valuable both intrinsically and instrumentally. But altering the law to privilege technical self-help is not a panacea. Prof. Cohen will argue that the law also should pay closer attention to the design of network standards and related “expert” processes.
Julie E. Cohen
Professor of Law
Georgetown University Law Center
Julie E. Cohen teaches and writes about intellectual property law and privacy law, with particular focus on copyright and on the intersection of copyright and privacy rights in the networked information society. She is a co-author of Copyright in a Global Information Economy (Aspen Law & Business, 2d ed. 2006), and is a member of the Advisory Boards of the Electronic Privacy Information Center and Public Knowledge. From 1995 to 1999, Professor Cohen taught at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. From 1992 to 1995, she practiced with the San Francisco firm of McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen, where she specialized in intellectual property litigation. Professor Cohen received her A.B. from Harvard University and her J.D. from the Harvard Law School, where she was a Supervising Editor of the Harvard Law Review. She is a former law clerk to Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.