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Legal Frontiers in Digital Media 2021



Annual conference on emerging legal issues at the intersection of digital media, freedom of speech, and law


Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, May 18-20, 2021
(via Zoom)


The Media Law Resource Center and the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology are proud to present the next in this series of conferences that explores emerging legal issues surrounding digital content in today's multi-platform world.  This year’s conference co-chairs are Lauriebeth Bugawan, Pandora, Ashley Kissinger, Ballard Spahr, and Kandi Parsons, ZwillGen.


UC Berkeley School of Law certifies that this activity has been approved by the State Bar of California for 6.25 General Hours of Continuing Legal Education credit. If you are seeking credit for another jurisdiction, please check with your state bar to determine if California CLE credits are recognized, through reciprocity, in your jurisdiction.


Biographies of Speakers and Co-Chairs

Schedule and Agenda

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

10:00 a.m. Pacific/ 1:00 p.m. Eastern (one hour)
Content Moderation in an Age of Disinformation
In the face of virus and vaccine misinformation, false political ads, election conspiracy theories, and online incitement culminating in the deadly attack on the Capitol, the capacity of social media companies’ content moderation toolkit has been tested. Platforms have tried content removal, user suspensions and bans, warning labels, links to authoritative information, and more, but are these problems that can be solved with such tools? This session will explore whether platforms can moderate their way to a satisfactory balance between free speech and countering threats to public safety and democracy, or whether external solutions are required.

Andrew Bridges, Partner, Fenwick & West LLP (Moderator)
Eric Goldman, Professor, Santa Clara University School of Law
Emma Llansó, Director, Free Expression Project, Center for Democracy & Technology
Neil Potts, Vice President, Public Policy, Facebook

One-Hour Break

Noon Pacific/ 3:00 p.m. Eastern (25 minutes)
The Bumpy Road to Section 230 Reform
Republicans and Democrats broadly agree that there is a problem with Section 230, but are diametrically opposed on what that problem is: Either there is not enough content moderation, or too much content moderation. Reform bills have thus varied wildly, including proposals that would mandate viewpoint-neutral moderation, create new exceptions to Section 230 to encourage removal of more content, require transparency in moderation decisions, and more. Section 230 reform has also been seen as leverage to compel changes in digital advertising and monetization practices. Will any of these proposals gain traction in a Congress that’s almost equally divided between Democrats and Republicans?  In this session, Google’s D.C.-based Public Policy Manager, Kate Sheerin, will provide us with an overview of S.230 reform proposals with a focus on leading bills in the 117th Congress, and offer an assessment of the politics at play.

Kate Sheerin, Public Policy Manager, Google

12:25 Pacific/ 3:25 p.m. Eastern (25 minutes)
News Payment Laws: Coming to a Country Near You

There is an emerging trend of governments around the world seeking to facilitate (or to force) payments to news organizations from big tech companies for the sharing of online links and news snippets, most prominently exemplified by the recent Australian News Media Bargaining Code, and also being legislated and debated in Canada, Europe and elsewhere. Professor Michael Geist from the University of Ottawa will present an overview of these proposals and provide an international perspective on how these laws interact with free speech principles and copyright law abroad. What companies are impacted and what steps will they be required to take when these laws are enacted? What is the political climate driving the debate? 

Dr. Michael Geist, Law Professor, University of Ottawa

12:50 Pacific/3:50 p.m. Eastern (25 minutes)
Portents and Auguries: Parsing Google v. Oracle America
On April 5th, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Google LLC v. Oracle America, Inc., ending an epic copyright battle with a ruling that Google's copying of approximately 11,500 lines of code from an Application Programming Interface (API) developed by Oracle was protected as fair use. But there is more to this case than a simple win for Google, with portents for the future in what the Court both did and did not say on issues such as the copyrightability of software, the transformative use doctrine, the nature of the software market, and more. Richard W. Miller, Practice Leader of the Intellectual Property Litigation Group at Ballard Spahr LLP, will read the signs and explore what the decision means for copyright law and beyond.

Richard W. Miller, Partner, Ballard Spahr LLP

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

10:00 a.m. Pacific/ 1:00 p.m. Eastern (one hour)
The Facebook Oversight Board at Six Months
Unique among social media companies, Facebook has recently organized its own independent tribunal to review some of the most controversial content moderation decisions made on the company’s Facebook and Instagram platforms. The Facebook Oversight Board has already issued decisions this year, and will soon decide whether Facebook’s indefinite suspension of former President Trump should be upheld.  The director of the Board, Thomas Hughes, will join us to discuss the Board’s “jurisdiction“ and procedures, what “law” Board members consider, and how parties and the public may advocate for a particular outcome.  This will be followed by a panel discussion about the Board’s recent decisions and how such a model can meet the needs of Facebook and social media companies more broadly, while at the same time, advance the public interest and serve as a check on the tech companies' power. 

Bob Latham, Partner, Jackson Walker LLP (Moderator)
Thomas Hughes, Director, Oversight Board Administration, Facebook/Instagram
Katy Glenn Bass, Research Director, Knight First Amendment Institute

One-Hour Break

Noon Pacific/ 3:00 p.m. Eastern (one hour)
Van Buren and the CFAA at the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court is expected soon to rule in Van Buren v. United States, an appeal in a criminal case that turns on the question of what it means to gain access to a computer system “without authorization” or to “exceed authorized access” for the purposes of the Computer Fraud & Abuse Act (CFAA). The answer could have a dramatic effect on the way in which information is collected and disseminated on the internet, as data scrapers face CFAA threats from public-facing websites that do not want their services mined for troves of user information.  This session will consider the implications of a Supreme Court ruling in this space, and what it means for the broader tension between antitrust and privacy concerns in the digital realm. 

Jonathan Blavin, Partner, Munger Tolles & Olson LLP (Moderator)
Victoria D. Baranetsky, General Counsel, The Center for Investigative Reporting (d/b/a Reveal)
Stacey Brandenburg, Shareholder, ZwillGen
Megan Iorio, Counsel, Electronic Privacy Information Center

Thursday, May 20, 2021

10:00 a.m. Pacific/ 1:00 p.m. Eastern (one hour)

EU Platform Regulation: Where Did the Digital Services Act Come From, Where Is It Going, And What Should You Be Doing About It?
The European Parliament is currently scrutinizing the European Commission’s proposed Digital Services Act, the first substantial overhaul and expansion of the EU’s rulebook for online services since 2000. Our panelists will explain the thinking and motivations behind this ambitious and far-reaching proposal, analyze the latest legislative developments and controversies, discuss how and where affected tech companies might advocate for changes, and consider how they might start to prepare for the DSA’s inevitable entry into force.

Remy Chavannes, Partner, Brinkhof (Moderator)
Chiara Garofoli, Senior Litigation Counsel, Google
Caroline Greer, Director of Public Policy & Government Relations, TikTok
Daphne Keller, Director, Program on Platform Regulation, Stanford Cyber Policy Center

One-Hour Break

Noon Pacific/ 3:00 p.m. Eastern (one hour)
Beyond CCPA: What to Expect from CPRA and the Next Wave of State Privacy Laws
Just as companies started to come to grips with their new obligations under the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) came along and expanded the privacy obligations of businesses. Virginia has passed a privacy law that will also go into effect in 2023 that imposes similar but not identical requirements.  Bills that mirror either GDPR or CCPA in states like Washington and New York are progressing as well.  With many moving parts and the future uncertain, are there steps you can take now to prepare?  Join a panel of experts who will help preview what’s to come and provide insight about how to ready your organization. 

Kandi Parsons, Partner, ZwillGen (Moderator)
Laura Bisesto, Head of Policy & Privacy, Nextdoor
Kaaren Shalom, Chief Privacy Officer, SiriusXM

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