Algorithms and Accountability at Yale

Call for Abstracts: Unlocking the Black Box
Sunday, August 23, 2015 – 12:00pm
Yale Law School See map
127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06520
Unlocking the Black Box

The Promise and Limits of Algorithmic Accountability in the Professions

The Yale Law School Information Society Project is seeking abstracts of papers for a conference on big data and algorithmic accountability to be held on April 1-2, 2016. The abstract submission deadline is August 23, 2015, by 11:59PM.

The increasing power of big data and algorithmic decision-making—in commercial, government, and even non-profit contexts—has raised concerns among academics, activists, journalists and legal experts. Three characteristics of algorithmic ordering have made the problem particularly difficult to address. The data used may be inaccurate or inappropriate. Algorithmic modeling may be biased or limited. And the uses of algorithms are still opaque in many critical sectors.

No single academic field can address all the new problems created by algorithmic decision-making. Collaboration among experts in different fields is starting to yield important responses. For example, digital ethicists have offered new frameworks for assessing algorithmic manipulation of content and persons, grounding their interventions in empirical social science—and, in turn, influencing regulation of firms and governments deploying algorithms. Empiricists may be frustrated by the “black box” nature of algorithmic decision making; they can work with legal scholars and activists to open up certain aspects of it (via FOIA and fair data practices laws). Journalists, too, have been teaming up with computer programmers and social scientists to expose new privacy-violating technologies of data collection, analysis, and use—and to push regulators to crack down on the worst offenders.

Researchers are going beyond the analysis of extant data, and joining coalitions of watchdogs, archivists, open data activists, and public interest attorneys, to assure a more balanced set of “raw materials” for analysis, synthesis, and critique. As an ongoing, intergenerational project, social science must commit to assuring the representativeness and relevance of what is documented—lest the most powerful “pull the strings” in comfortable obscurity, while scholars’ agendas are dictated by the information that, by happenstance or design, is readily available. What would similar directions for legal scholars and journalists look like? This conference will aim to answer that question, setting forth algorithmic accountability as a paradigm of what Kenneth Gergen has called “future-forming” research.

Algorithmic accountability calls for the development of a legal-academic community, developed inter-disciplinarily among theorists and empiricists, practitioners and scholars, journalists and activists. This conference will explore early achievements among those working for algorithmic accountability, and will help chart the future development of an academic community devoted to accountability as a principle of research, investigation, and action.

The conference seeks abstracts on topics including:

The law and ethics of artificial intelligence
Algorithmic accountability in medicine, finance, journalism, law, and education
Algorithms and transparency
How can law enable “innovative” journalism and research?
The effect of socio-technological environment on professional practices and norms
What are the black boxes lawyers and policymakers most want exposed?
500-700 word abstracts may be submitted by August 23 to Heather Branch at (link sends e-mail). Notifications of selection will be made by September 10. Full first draft papers are expected on December 15, 2015.

Conference Organizers

Frank Pasquale (Professor of Law, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law), Caitlin Petre (Resident Fellow, Yale Information Society Project), and Valerie Belair-Gagnon (Executive Director and Research Scholar, Yale Information Society Project)

Empirical Research in Copyright at Chicago-Kent

2015 Conference on Empirical Research on Copyright Issues (CERCI)
IIT Chicago-Kent’s Center for Empirical Studies of Intellectual Property
Friday, November 20, 2015

Call for Empirical Research Projects: In her recent testimony before Congress, U.S. Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante identified four important copyright policy areas in need of further study and analysis:

(1) DMCA safe harbors,
(2) DMCA anti-circumvention provision,
(3) Mass digitization, and
(4) Moral rights.

“In the view of the Copyright Office, it is time to study these issues to document technological and business developments, analyze court opinions, review stakeholder perspectives, and provide a sufficient foundation for Congress,” the Register stated.

In June 2015, the Copyright Office commenced a public comment period on the specific scope and framework of an extended collective licensing “pilot program” for mass digitization of certain works. The Office will be commencing studies on the other three areas noted above.

Chicago-Kent’s Center for Empirical Studies of Intellectual Property is sponsoring a Conference on Empirical Research on Copyright Issues (CERCI). The Conference is meant for scholars and researchers to propose and to present an empirical research project at an early stage of research on one of these four topics, outlined further below. Accepted speakers will present the ideas for their empirical project to the Copyright Office and other participants.

Conference: Chicago-Kent College of Law will host CERCI on November 20, 2015.

How to apply to be a speaker: Speakers are expected to pay for their own travel expenses (except food will be provided during the conference). To apply to be a speaker, please email the following information to Patricia O’Neal at (1) your name, (2) institution, and (3) one page abstract of the empirical research project describing both the problem and the method(s) by which you propose to conduct empirical research related to the problem. Deadline: Sept. 4, 2015, 5 p.m. PDT.

Research grants: Participants who are selected to present their paper at the Conference may also apply for a research grant from the Chicago-Kent Center for Empirical Studies of Intellectual Property (CESIP). CESIP plans on awarding one to three research grants of up to $10,000 to fund research during the year. In order to be eligible for a grant, attendance and presentation of your research idea at CERCI is required. A recipient of a grant will also be required to prepare a paper with results of the empirical research at a conference in the fall 2016. The final papers will submitted to the U.S. Copyright Office. Further details on how to apply for a research grant will be announced soon.

Research Topics for
2015 Conference on Empirical Research on Copyright Issues (CERCI)

1. DMCA safe harbors (Section 512)

How well are the DMCA safe harbors working? Suggested general research topics include, but are not limited to: (i) the application and efficacy of the DMCA safe harbors; (ii) the costs of notice and takedown on copyright holders and ISPs; and (iii) application of voluntary measures by ISPs and copyright industries (e.g., ContentID, graduated response policies).

2. DMCA anti-circumvention provision and exemptions (Section 1201)

How well is the anti-circumvention provision working? Suggested general research topics include, but are not limited to: (i) Section 1201 rulemaking process for temporary exemptions; (ii) use of anti-circumvention measures in different sectors and a growing range of consumer goods; (iii) effect of anti-circumvention measures on repairs and replacement parts; and (iv) the application of exemptions for reverse engineering, encryption research, and security testing.

3. Mass Digitization

“[T]he Copyright Office will recommend a voluntary ‘pilot program’ in the form
of extended collective licensing (‘ECL’) that would enable full-text access to certain works for research and education purposes under a specific framework set forth by the Copyright Office, with further conditions to be developed through additional stakeholder dialogue and discussion.” Suggested general research topics include, but are not limited to: (i) what a model extended collective license for full-text access to works should entail; and (ii) current practices in analogous areas involving open-access, Creative Commons, and other licenses.

4. Moral rights

How are moral rights protected in the United States? Suggested general research topics include, but are not limited to: (i) practices and protection for attribution to authors; (ii) practices and protection for authors’ ability to say no to specific uses of their works (integrity); and (iii) authors’ views on much they how value moral rights.

The examples within each of the four general topics are not exhaustive. Researchers are encouraged to think broadly and creatively within the four general topics. For more information about these topics, consult the Register’s testimony.

For more information about the CERCI conference, email Patricia O’Neal at

IP Colloquia at Indiana University – Bloomington

Center for Intellectual Property Research
Indiana University Maurer School of Law
211 South Indiana Avenue
Bloomington, Indiana 47405

Our upcoming Fall 2015 IP Colloquium for your calendar – the current schedule is:

Jerome Reichman (Duke University School of Law) – 9/10
Peter DiCola (Northwestern Law) – 9/17
Pamela Samuelson (Berkeley Law) – 10/1
Aaron Perzanowski (Case Western Reserve University School of Law) – 10/22
Anna Lakmann (Lewis & Clark Law School) – 10/29

CyberSecurity Symposium at Northern Kentucky

NKU CyberSecurity Symposium
Hosted by
NKU College of Informatics and NKU Chase College of Law
W. Bruce Lunsford Academy for Law, Business + Technology
Northern Kentucky University Law Review

Friday, October 9
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Register Now

Includes industry and legal presentations in:
Information Security Governance and Compliance | Software Security
Mobile & Computer Forensics | Emerging Topics in Security
Legal Issues in Privacy and Security
4-7 CLE credit hours will be requested for Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana
Early Bird Registration $99
Recent alumni $49
(Class of 2014 and 2015 NKU College of Informatics and NKU Chase College of Law alumni)
More Information
Jeannine Abukhater Lambert
Asst. Dir. of Advancement/Centers & Institutes | (859) 572-6403

Notice in IP, at Boston University

On September 25-26, 2015, Boston University School of Law will host a conference, “Notice and Notice Failure in Intellectual Property Law,” and we would love to have you join us.

The conference pursues some of the themes explored in the landmark book, Patent Failure, by Michael Meurer and James Bessen. Patent Failure contended that “notice failure” lies at the heart of the current crisis in patent law. Without sufficient and timely notice of the existence and scope of patent entitlements, innovators face risk and uncertainty, which can hobble investment, transactions, and economic growth. Notice issues, moreover, are not limited to patent law: problems with notice—from the opaque nature of complex statutes to the fuzzy boundaries of many intellectual property doctrines—can lead to public frustration, litigation, inefficiencies, and chilling effects. This conference explores some of the challenges associated with notice and notice failure in patent, copyright, design patent, publicity, trade secret, and trademark law.

Papers from the conference will be published in the Boston University Law Review.

If you are interested in attending, you can register through the conference website: The tentative schedule is below; updates to the program will be posted on the website.

Gikii 2015, Berlin

Gikii 2015 Call for Papers

Welcome to the future…

The future doesn’t look exactly as we imagined, only a handful of us get to live in space, there are no hoverboards and flying cars, and no jetpack in sight. Disappointment abounds.

But look closely and the future is more interesting than we imagined. You can talk to your computer, and there is a good chance that it will understand you and act on it. A modern pocket calculator has more power than the Apollo 11 computer system. You can talk to your family on video anywhere in the world. Phones are ubiquitous; moreover, they have become true multimedia mini-computers that allow you to make your content available to anyone instantaneously. There are robots in our houses and skies. You can have reasonably affordable portable tablet devices that put to shame anything depicted in Star Trek. You can affordably print designs downloaded from the Internet. And things are just starting to get interesting. We are about to get true virtual and augmented reality, and holograms!

But not everything is nice, with the advances we have fears of Artificial Intelligence wiping out humanity, serious privacy concerns, the fear of economic meltdown and environmental disaster.

Information is where the future lives, and Gikii is the annual conference that thrives in the information world. Since the first edition in 2006, Gikii has been at the forefront of thinking about legal issues well ahead of the curve. We tackled 3D printing before the mainstream. We dissected augmented reality, robots and drones before they were cool. We are the geek lawyers who mash-up popular culture, technology and law.

If you have a paper that is just too ahead of its time, send it to us. Perhaps you are thinking about bio-hacking, synthetic biology, cyborg implants, or robot uprisings. All you need is imagination, an innovative abstract, a unique angle, and a bit of geekiness.

Gikii 2015 will take place in Berlin, September 24 and 25, at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center.

Send your abstracts to:

Lilian Edwards, Judith Rauhofer or Andres Guadamuz

Updated Deadline JULY 31st 2015.

Trademark Law Conversation at Boston University

IP Conversations: Trademark Law’s Fundamental Purposes

November 20th, 2015
9:00am – 1:00pm
Boston University School of Law

On November 20, 2015, the BU School of Law is hosting a conversation on trademark law’s purposes. Participants will read and discuss historical and policy materials. The discussions will be led by Robert Bone, Stacey Dogan, Wendy Gordon, Mark McKenna, and Rebecca Tushnet, each of whose scholarship will be among the materials of focus.
Participation in the Conversation is open to all faculty and law students, inside or outside BU, who will be expected to do the reading. In addition, we welcome non-participating audience members to listen to the morning discussion. Non-participants need not complete the advance reading.
The Conversation commences at 9 AM on November 20. Faculty participants are invited to lunch at its conclusion.
Students and faculty interested in joining us for the Conversation should contact Stacey Dogan ( or Wendy Gordon ( at least one week prior, so we can send you the reading list.
This is the first of an occasional series of IP Conversations to be hosted by BU Law.

Values and Methods in IP, at St. John’s

The St. John’s Intellectual Property Law Center, in conjunction with the St. John’s Law Review, is planning a symposium for Friday, April 22, 2016. The working title for the Symposium is: “Values, Questions, and Methods in Intellectual Property.” A CFP will be forthcoming in the coming weeks.

St. John’s University School of Law
New York, NY