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Yale "Regulating Search?" Symposium - Dec. 3

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  • Eddan Katz
    CONFERENCE ANNOUNCEMENT Regulating Search? A Symposium on Search Engines, Law, and Public Policy December 3, 2005 Yale Law School New Haven, CT
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 10 11:04 PM
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      Regulating Search?
      A Symposium on Search Engines, Law, and Public Policy
      December 3, 2005
      Yale Law School
      New Haven, CT

      Search is big business, and search functionality increasingly shapes
      the information society. Yet how the law treats search is still up
      for grabs, and with it, the power to dominate the next generation of
      the online world. How will this potential to wield control affect
      search engine companies, their advertisers, their users, or the
      information they index? What will search engines look like in the
      future, and what is the role of regulators in this emerging market?

      The Information Society Project at Yale Law School is proud to
      present "Regulating Search?: A Symposium on Search Engines, Law, and
      Public Policy," the first academic conference devoted to search
      engines and the law. "Regulating Search?" will take place on
      December 3, 2005 at Yale Law School in New Haven, CT.

      This event will bring together representatives from the search
      industry, government, civil society, and academia to discuss the
      emerging intersection of search engines and various forms of
      regulation. It is made possible by the generous support of the
      Microsoft Corporation, Google, Inc., and the Knight Foundation.

      A distinguished group of experts will map out the terrain of search
      engine law & policy in four panels: (1) The Search Space; (2) Search
      Engines and Public Regulation; (3) Search Engines and Intellectual
      Property; and (4) Search Engines and Individual Rights. A detailed
      description of these four panels is included below and the current
      list of confirmed speakers will be available on the conference

      Registration for the conference and further information are available
      at http://islandia.law.yale.edu/isp/regulatingsearch.html. Early Bird
      registration is $35 for students, $75 for academic and nonprofit
      participants, and $165 for corporate and law firm participants. Early
      Bird registration ends on Nov. 15.

      Regulating Search?
      A Symposium on Search Engines, Law, and Public Policy

      Panel 1: The Search Space
      This panel will review the wide range of what search engines do and
      their importance in the information ecosystem. It will survey the
      pressures search engines face, the technologies they employ, and the
      constituencies they must serve. It will frame the question, to be
      explored throughout the day, of whether search is a matter that
      requires specific regulatory intervention and a special set of legal
      rules for its governing. In this panel, industry participants,
      computer scientists, and analysts will flag major trends in search
      engine technology and try to predict future developments, with the
      goal of pointing out those trends that will create new conflicts and
      new litigation.

      Some questions the panelists may ask include:
      How competitive will the search engine market be in five years?
      Who will be creating the next generation of search innovations: large
      corporate entities or judgment-proof individuals?
      Will the rise of geography-based search change our assumptions about
      such questions as privacy, jurisdiction, and censorship?
      What's next in personalized search?
      What's next in decentralized peer-to-peer search?
      Will vertical search upend our intuitions about what a search engine does?
      Do search companies think of legal risks when they make development decisions?
      What kinds of services will search merge with?

      Panel 2: Search Engines and Public Regulation
      This panel will discuss the possibility of direct government
      regulation of search functionality. Such regulation might proceed
      under several jurisdictional heads (e.g. antitrust, consumer
      protection, or telecommunications) with any of a number of possible
      policy goals. Where one or a few search engines achieve dominance
      over a particular aspect of search, the possibility of such
      regulation seems more imminent. This panel will discuss who might
      regulate search, why, and how.

      Some questions the panelists may ask include:
      Do search engines have First Amendment or Takings Clause rights that
      would preclude certain forms of regulation?
      Should government regulators intervene to make sure that the search
      market stays competitive?
      Should search engines be subjected to an informational equivalent of
      common-carrier rules?
      Is there an obligation to provide evenhanded listing of sites?
      Evenhanded listing of results?
      Should search engines be required to disclose their commercial
      sponsors? Their algorithms?
      Should consumers be protected from bad search results? From having
      their search results malevolently altered?
      Does the recent spate of security breaches at database companies
      portend similar trouble for search companies?
      Should search engines be afraid of anti-spyware legislation? Of
      anti-spam legislation?

      Panel 3: Search Engines and Intellectual Property
      This panel will review past and present litigation involving search
      engines and claims framed in the legal doctrines of copyright,
      trademark, patent, and right of publicity. Whether search engines are
      innocent intermediaries, heroic crusaders for open access, or
      villainous agents of infringement depends on who you ask--as does the
      appropriate legal response. The panel will discuss the ways in which
      IP law shapes the landscape of permissible and impermissible searches.

      Some questions the panelists may ask include:
      What does the Grokster decision mean for makers of search engines?
      What are the obligations of search engines when responding to
      searches on trademarked terms?
      What IP rights do and should search engines have available to protect
      their algorithms and databases?
      What are the obligations of search engines vis-a-vis the copyright
      claims of the makers of the content they index?
      Do search engines' activities implicate the right of publicity?
      Should search engines be liable for their activities in exposing
      security holes and spreading data that may include trade secrets?
      What are the possibilities for using search engines to promote
      authorized use of IP protected content?

      Panel 4: Search Engines and Individual Rights
      Some say that search engines are engines of free expression; others
      see them as vehicles for hate speech. Some think that search enables
      large-scale intrusion into the privacy of others; others think that
      the search companies themselves are the new surveillers, spying on
      their users; still others see anonymous search as a moral necessity
      and a real possibility. This panel will look at the role of search
      engines in reshaping our experience of basic rights and at the
      pressures the desire to protect those rights place on search.

      Some questions the panelists may ask include:
      Should search engines remove content that some find objectionable?
      What kinds of data do search engines collect on the individuals who
      use them? What kinds should they be allowed to collect?
      Do search engines facilitate stalking and other dangerous activities?
      If so, what can be done about it?
      How can search engines facilitate the free flow of valuable political
      and expressive speech?
      In an age when search engines create rankings based on mass opinion
      and links, what does this technique mean for individual dissent and
      personal liberty?
      Do search engines empower individuals by promoting accessibility to
      their words and thoughts online, or do they only help today's strong
      media players get stronger?
      Is there a right to search anonymously?
      Is access to search technology a basic human right of access to knowledge?

      Eddan Katz
      Lecturer in Law, Yale Law School
      Executive Director, Information Society Project
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