Federal judge expounds on real issues in virtual world

Summary:While many members of the federal judiciary would be hard pressed to de-activate their caps lock key, Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner held forth last night in Second Life on issues of Constitutional law and national security.

Watch this space (a Technorati search for "Posner Second Life," which at the moment unfortunately is devoid of coverage of the actual event):  Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, held forth last night in Second Life, courtesy of Creative Commons.  If that doesn't turn your brain inside out, I'm not sure what will.  For more about the good Judge's work, Project Posner is a great starting point; it yields 60 results for copyright, for example.

Though my first life thus far has put Second Life right up there with India, Japan, South Korea, Nepal, and Thailand as far-off places I merely long to someday visit, I suspect I'm in the minority of legally minded online denizens.  Demand for event access was understandably "fervent," and a positively giddy Colette Vogele emailed as she was giving her new avatar a spin in order to participate.  (Hey, CIS has a whole new look; so does ZDNet, for that matter!)  Professor Patry has been gearing up for the proceedings as well, and I trust James Au (who conducted the interview in-world) will check in soon.  

Hurray to Creative Commons for continuing to exploit Second Life's mind-expanding potential.

Updated, December 9, 12:40 a.m.:  Amber has comments, pics and a transcript; and from James Au:

The conversation ranged from coercive interrogation of terror suspects to intellectual property in online worlds; the audience included several aliens, mutants, babes in 6 inch stilleto heels, and Judge Richard Posner's favorite audience member of all, a human-sized raccoon.  And despite a couple griefer attacks with fireballs and a giant flying block of wood, the Judge pressed on unfazed with agile wit, as if he always gave lectures in the metaverse.

Next Monday, I'll post the transcript of what must be Judge Posner's strangest public conversation on law in the 21st century. . . .

Topics: Legal


Denise Howell is an appellate, intellectual property and technology lawyer who enjoys broad industry recognition for her expertise on the intersection of emerging technologies and law. For further details please see her professional background and speaking schedule. Denise's career is characterized by her passionate engagement in intell... Full Bio

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