Upcoming Events

Thomson Reuters Speaker Series: Patrick Burkart

Tuesday, September 9, 2014 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm

"Pirate Politics"

ABSTRACT: The Swedish Pirate Party emerged as a political force in 2006 when a group of software programmers and file-sharing geeks protested the police takedown of The Pirate Bay, a Swedish file-sharing search engine. The Swedish Pirate Party, and later the German Pirate Party, came to be identified with a “free culture" message that came into conflict with the European Union’s legal system. In this book, Patrick Burkart examines the emergence of Pirate politics as an umbrella cyberlibertarian movement that views file sharing as a form of free expression and advocates for the preservation of the Internet as a commons. He links the Pirate movement to the Green movement, arguing that they share a moral consciousness and an explicit ecological agenda based on the notion of a commons, or public domain. The Pirate parties, like the Green Party, must weigh ideological purity against pragmatism as they move into practical national and regional politics.

Burkart uses second-generation critical theory and new social movement theory as theoretical perspectives for his analysis of the democratic potential of Pirate politics. After setting the Pirate parties in conceptual and political contexts, Burkart examines European antipiracy initiatives, the influence of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and the pressure exerted on European governance by American software and digital exporters. He argues that pirate politics can be seen as “cultural environmentalism," a defense of Internet culture against both corporate and state colonization.

Thomson Reuters Speaker Series: Emily Parker

Tuesday, September 16, 2014 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm

The Internet Underground and the Limits of Surveillance

Co-hosted by the Thompson Reuters Speaker Series at the Information Society Project, the National Security Group at Yale Law School, and the Yale World Fellows Program.

Emily Parker is the author of "Now I Know Who My Comrades Are: Voices From the Internet Underground" (Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus & Giroux). The book tells the stories of dissident bloggers in China, Cuba and Russia. Mario Vargas Llosa, winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature, wrote the book is "a rigorously researched and reported account that reads like a thriller. It's been a while since I have read a book that is so entertaining, not to mention so encouraging for the culture of liberty." 

Abrams: Erwin Chemerinsky

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 - 12:00pm

The Case Against the Supreme Court 

Co-hosted by the Floyd Abrams Institute for Freedom of Expression, the Knight Law and Media Program at the Information Society Project, and the American Constitution Society (Yale Chapter). 

Edwin Chemerinsky, Dean and Distinguished Professor of Law, and Raymond Pryke Professor of First Amendment Law, University of California, Irvine School of Law

In this talk, Dean Chemerinsky argues that the Supreme Court has largely failed through American history.  One aspect has been the failure to enforce the Constitution, and especially the First Amendment, in times of crisis.  During World War I, the McCarthy Era, and the current war on terrorism, the Court has allowed government restrictions of speech that pose no apparent danger.  This is part of a larger pattern of the Court's failure to enforce the Constitution when it has been needed most.

Public Health in the Shadow of the First Amendment

Friday, October 17, 2014 - 1:30pm to Saturday, October 18, 2014 - 5:00pm

A Conference Hosted by Yale Law School, Yale Medical School, and the Yale School of Public Health

Sponsored by the Information Society Project (ISP), the Yale Global Health Justice Partnership (GHJP), and the Yale Health Law and Policy Society (YHeLPS), with generous support from the Samuel and Liselotte Herman Fund for the Social and Behavioral Sciences at The Yale School of Public Health, and the Oscar M. Reubhausen Fund.

Public Health in the Shadow of the First Amendment will bring together leading scholars, key policy makers, and top experts in law, public health and medicine. This conference, the first of its kind, will investigate a broad range of complex constitutional issues raised at the intersection of medicine, public health, and the First Amendment. 

The regulation of food, medicines, and tobacco all rely crucially today on the regulation of speech, for example through behavioral marketing, disclosures, and restrictions on certain modes of commercial promotion.  First Amendment doctrine has recently changed in significant ways, bringing it into potentially deep tension with such measures.  For example, commercial speech doctrine has been used to invalidate FDA restrictions on off-label marketing of drugs, to prevent graphic warnings on cigarette packages, and to challenge calorie disclosures in restaurants.

In addition, new and important questions about the limits of a legislature’s ability to mandate or forbid certain physician speech are emerging.  For example, should the First Amendment protect doctors from requirements that they provide patients with ultrasounds or medically unproven “information” in the abortion context, or mental health providers from restrictions on conducting reparative therapy for gay teens?  In cases such as these, courts and legislatures are also increasingly required to adjudicate questions of scientific merit.  Many recent examples suggest reason for concern about the results. 

Neither courts nor scholars have developed a consistent and coherent approach to these different areas. Experts in First Amendment law are rarely in a position to fully articulate the health consequences of these cases, and health experts rarely have the literacy in free speech law required to navigate these issues.

This conference will investigate these enormously important issues, with panels on food and drug regulation, behavioral marketing in the context of obesity, tobacco, and food policy, the regulation of professional conduct, First Amendment theory, and the intersection between science and democracy.

Eventbrite - Public Health in the Shadow of the 1st Amendment

Net Neutrality: From Debate to Policy Decisions

Monday, November 3, 2014 - 7:30am

Net Neutrality: From Debate to Policy Decisions

After several years of discussions in academia, industry, and policymaking circles, the issue of net neutrality has taken center stage in debates on U.S. media and telecommunications. In February, cable providers Comcast and Time-Warner announced their intent to merge into a single company. And this spring, the FCC solicited public input on its proposed Open Internet Rules, and FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has stated that he expects to have enforceable rules in place by the end of 2014. Under the new rules, "behavior harmful to consumers or competition by limiting the openness to the Internet will not be permitted." With these events as backdrop, the Abrams Institute at Yale Law School will host a panel discussion at the Century Club in New York, on the topic of net neutrality.