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Third Law Law & Information Society Symposium

March 27, 2009

Intermediaries in the Information Society

This symposium explored the legal issues faced by internet intermediaries and their impact on society.

Panel 1: Content and CDA Immunity

When do – and when should – intermediaries receive immunity for user content under the Communications Decency Act. Panelists discussed the status of CDA immunity, the standard for when an intermediary can be deemed a content provider after the and Craigslist cases, and whether the CDA immunity should be modified.

Olivier Sylvain, Visiting Assistant Professor, Fordham Law School


  • Eric Goldman, Associate Professor of Law & Director of the High Tech Law Institute, Santa Clara University School of Law
  • Samir Jain, Partner, WilmerHale
  • Nancy Kim, Associate Professor of Law, California Western School of Law & Visiting Associate Professor, Rady School of Management, University of California, San Diego
  • Rebecca Tushnet, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center

Panel 2: Why is Tiffany Blue? 3rd-Party Liability and the eBay Cases

Should online auction house or other third parties be responsible for the sale of counterfeit goods? Panelists addressed the ongoing series of attempts in the United States and Europe to extend the scope of vicarious liability and contributory infringement, as well as related issues.

Susan Scafidi, Visiting Professor of Law, Fordham School of Law

  • William R. Engles, Jr., Chief Financial Officer, Portero, Inc.
  • Frederick Felman, Chief Marketing Officer, MarkMonitor
  • Joseph C. Gioconda, Partner, DLA Piper USA LLP
  • Randi W. Singer, Partner, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
  • James B. Swire, Partner, Arnold & Porter LLP

Panel 3: The Social Impact of Intermediaries

What impact do intermediaries have on society and culture? Panelist discussed the ways intermediaries have changed how information is created and communicated and the ways that intermediaries may impact the future of the information society.

Joel R. Reidenberg, Associate Chief Academic Officer & Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Fordham University; Professor of Law and Director of CLIP, Fordham Law School


  • Jack M. Balkin, Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment & Director of The Information Society Project, Yale Law School
  • Dan L. Burk, Founding Faculty, University of California - Irvine School of Law
  • Helen Nissenbaum, Professor of Media, Culture & Communication & Senior Fellow of the Information Law Institute, New York University
  • Mike Yang, Managing Product Counsel, Google, Inc.

Panel 4: Intermediaries as Legal Filters

Should intermediaries be used to filter information? What impact will filtering methods such as deep packet inspection have on immunity and liability for intermediaries? Panelists examined requirements for ISPs to block access to sites containing material deemed illegal, explored filtering done for business reasons, and considered a range of filtering purposes – from censoring speech to combating child pornography to ranking search results.

Rob Frieden, Pioneers Chair and Professor of Telecommunications and Law, Penn State University

  • Dr. Ian Brown, Senior Research Fellow, Oxford Internet Institute & Honorary Senior Lecturer, University College London
  • Wendy Gordon, Visiting Professor of Law, Fordham Law School; Philip S. Beck Professor of Law & Paul J. Liacos School in Law, Boston University School of Law
  • Dawn C. Nunziato, Associate Professor of Law, George Washington University Law School
  • James Grimmelmann, Associate Professor of Law, New York Law School

Panel 5: Practical Tips for Advising Intermediaries

Practitioners provided guidance about things to be aware of when advising intermediaries.

Thomas D. Halket, Attorney and Chartered Arbitrator, Halket & Weitz LLP


  • Ian C. Ballon, Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig
  • Paul Gupta, Partner, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
  • Jay Westermeier, Of Counsel, Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP