Wednesday, November 2, 2005

YLS to Host First Conference on Search Engine Law, Dec. 3

"Regulating Search?" will include speakers from Google and the Authors Guild

The Yale Law School Information Society Project will host "Regulating Search?," the first academic conference devoted to the developing law of search engines, on December 3, 2005. The conference will feature two of the protagonists in a key legal controversy: the Author's Guild suit to enjoin Google's plans to create a searchable online library of copyrighted books.

"Search engines are indispensable gatekeepers to the information society; they make it possible to navigate the vast seas of information available on the Internet, and they increasingly structure our online experience. But how law treats them is still unclear. These issues promise to be among the most important in cyberlaw in the next decade," says Jack Balkin, the Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment and director of the ISP. "Regulating Search?" will explore the key issues that litigation involving search engines will raise, identify the interests that are implicated by legal control of search engines, and discuss appropriate public policy responses.

The most talked about development in search engine law is Google's effort to scan the holdings of major research libraries and make all the books searchable online. Groups including the Authors Guild are challenging Google in court; they claim that Google is violating authors' copyrights. Paul Aiken, the executive director of the Author's Guild, will speak on a panel titled "Search Engines and Intellectual Property," along with an attorney from Google. Alan Davidson, Google's new Washington lobbyist, will speak on the "Search Engines and Public Regulation" panel.

Other panels at the conference will cover "The Search Space," and "Search Engines and Individual Rights."

The speakers at the conference will include technologists, policymakers, entrepreneurs, executives, lawyers, computer scientists, and activists, such as: Renata Hesse, a lawyer in the antitrust division of the Justice Department who was one of the lawyers on the Microsoft trial; William Kovacic, a professor at George Washington University Law School and former general counsel for the U.S. Federal Trade Commission; Chris Hoofnagle, senior counsel to the Electronic Privacy Information Center and director of the organization's West Coast Office; and Jeff Weiner, the senior vice president for search and marketplace at Yahoo!.

"Regulating Search?" will begin at 9:00 a.m. and run until 5:15 p.m.

Registration for the conference and further information are available on the ISP website at Registration is free for Yale students and faculty, $35 for other students, $75 for academic and nonprofit participants, and $165 for corporate and law firm participants.