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Legal Frontiers in Digital Media 2018


The eleventh annual conference on emerging legal issues surrounding digital publishing and content distribution

New Venue in 2018!

Mission Bay Conference Center
San Francisco, CA
May 17th & 18th, 2018

A Joint Conference of

  • Media Law Resource Center
  • The Berkeley Center for Law & Technology

The conference explores emerging legal issues surrounding digital content in today's multi-platform world. The Conference will feature six sessions running from 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 17, with an early evening reception, through 1:00 p.m. on Friday, May 18.

(discounted rates for a limited time)



This year's conference will include:

  • Keynote Speech by Kara Swisher
    Kara Swisher, influential technology journalist and co-founder of Recode, will kick off the conference with a keynote speech on the current social and political climate for digital companies. This will set the stage for the entire conference, where many of our agenda items stem from a shift in the attitudes of the public and public officials, who are increasingly expressing a desire that platforms take on more responsibility and serve as a filter to police objectional content, propaganda, and illegal activity. Are digital platform's responses meeting the challenges?
  • Under Pressure: Hosting and Unhosting Objectionable Content
    Increasingly, platforms (and payment processors) have been under pressure on a number of fronts to take down, moderate and/or stop hosting objectionable groups and content, such as content originating from white supremacists, alleged sex traffickers, terrorist groups and the like. The pressure is coming from political forces seeking legal reforms, such as the proposed Section 230 exception for sex trafficking (SESTA) and EU regulations demanding accelerated removals; as well social and public-relations pressures, e.g., public outrage over Neo-Nazi groups online after the violence in Charlottesville. As platforms shift to a more hands-on approach to editorial control, how should they refine their own values and community standards to balance a safe online environment with free speech?
  • Combatting Internet Disinformation Campaigns
    Beginning with a tech tutorial on how fake news is created and distributed in an artificially viral way, this session will cover how bots and fake users are employed to manipulate people, and how advertising tools are employed to target particular users. Whether by foreign governments like Russia, or by fraudsters and other individuals wishing to influence opinion and actions on the internet for their own ends, misinformation campaigns have become an acute problem that social media sites are facing calls to address. Virality online can be good or bad, but how do we distinguish between the good and something that malevolently manipulates and undermines democracy? And how do we respond to bad virality?
  • Women in Tech: Is Climate Change Coming?
    It has been approximately a year since the Uber scandal uncovered a culture of sexual harassment in the tech community. While it has become clear through the #MeToo movement that Silicon Valley is not alone, the tech community also faces a dearth of female founders and executives which may be contributing to the climate of sexual harassment. Tech lawyers are not immune from harassment and discrimination, but have they also contributed to the problem by negotiating NDAs to silence victims? At the same time, is there a danger of an overreaction to allegations that fails to allow the legal process run its course? This session will examine the current climate faced by women in tech, and will discuss how the law, and tech lawyers, may fit into this puzzle and help shape the future of women in tech.
  • How Algorithms & Machine Learning Work
    This session will begin with a tutorial on how algorithms and machine learning work in order to provide lawyers with a better understanding of how that technology applies to solving real world problems. For example: how does machine learning help a review site spot fake reviews, a social media platform identify misinformation campaigns, or sites identify a banned user trying to rejoin the site under a new identity? Our tutorial will explore the limits of what algorithms and machine learning can and cannot do. The demonstration will be followed by a broader policy discussion, which will explore some of the practical, legal and ethical challenges of using algorithms.
  • Scraping by with the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act
    The Computer Fraud & Abuse Act was enacted by Congress in 1986, primarily as a tool to criminally prosecute hackers, in an era before the birth of the web and online publishing, when the internet was mostly used by a small universe of academics, government and military staff. Although the CFAA has been updated by Congress several times, its meaning -- in the modern age of universal internet access and porous digital borders -- has eluded courts: i.e., what does it means to access a computer without authorization? This panel will attempt to make sense of the various, often contradictory, judicial rulings in this area, and debate a better way forward which balances platforms' private property right to its data with the right of public access to online information.

California CLE credits are pending (more information will be available in the spring)


Questions? Contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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