Join the Cyberspace Law Committee at the ABA 2004 Annual Meeting

Saturday, July 31, 2004

New Sci Fi Book Plays out Cyberspace Law Issues

The following is an excerpt from a recent book by Cory Doctorow. He's an up and coming (some would say "already here") science fiction author. Several of us in the Cyberspace Law Committee read his works. Besides being a great author, he also is notable for the fact that he publishes most of his work under the Creative Commons license. He also sells his books the more traditional way. Amazon currently has a great deal on the hardcopy version of his book (~$14 off).

The passage below is from Cory's latest book, Eastern Standard Tribe. It's a fun romp. In an early part of the book, the protagonist has a car accident, and he finds himself in need of a lawyer. So, where does he turn? The chat room for his Tribe. (You'll have to read the book to understand the Tribal references). The exchange below highlights many of the issues under discussin by the Cyberspace Law Committee, and that's why I'm including this passage here. As you'll see, he not only finds a lawyer, and forms an attorney client relationship, but he also gets certification of the lawyer's credentials, reviews his standard representation agreement in "smartcontract" form, and executes it. All without leaving the chat room.

For those of you not familiar with chat rooms, you may initially be confused by the syntax. It's probably easiest to treat this as if it were a script. Each line starts with the "handle" of the person who's talking in the Chat Room. "Trepan" is the client/protagonist. "Junta" is the lawyer. I've edited the passage somewhat to focus your attention on the cyberspace law issues.

You can read the full story in HTML here. To find out more about Cory Doctorow, and his book, Eastern Standard Tribe, visit his Website, Craphound. You can also download the book for free in many standard formats at this same Web site.


Trepan: Any UK solicitors on the channel?

[material deleted for Blog posting]

##Junta (private) (file transfer)

##Received credential from Junta. Verifying. Credential identified: "Solicitor, registered with the Law Society to practice in England and Wales, also registered in Australia."

Trepan: /private Junta I just hit a woman while driving the Kensington High Street. Her fault. She's hurt. Wants me to admit culpability in exchange for half the insurance. Advice?

##Junta (private): I beg your pardon?

Trepan: /private Junta She's crazy. She just got off the phone with some kinda lawyer in the States. Says she can get $5*10^5 at least, and will split with me if I don't dispute.

##Junta (private): [Silly] Americans. No offense. What kind of instrumentation recorded it?

Trepan: /private Junta My GPS. Maybe some secams. Eyewitnesses, maybe.

##Junta (private): And you'll say what, exactly? That you were distracted? Fiddling with something?

Trepan: /private Junta I guess.

##Junta (private): You're looking at three points off your licence. Statutory increase in premiums totalling EU 2*10^5 over five years. How's your record?

##Transferring credential "Driving record" to Junta. Receipt confirmed.

##Junta (private): Hmmm.

##Junta (private): Nothing outrageous. _Were_ you distracted?

Trepan: /private Junta I guess. Maybe.

##Junta (private): You guess. Well, who would know better than you, right? My fee's 10 percent. Stop guessing. You _were_ distracted. Overtired. It's late. Regrettable. Sincerely sorry. Have her solicitor contact me directly. I'll meet you here at 1000h GMT/0400h EDT and go over it with you, yes? Agreeable?

Trepan: /private Junta Agreed. Thanks.

##Junta (private) (file transfer)

##Received smartcontract from Junta. Verifying. Smartcontract "Representation agreement" verified.

Trepan: /join #autocounsel
counselbot: Welcome, Trepan! How can I help you?

##Transferring smartcontract "Representation agreement" to counselbot. Receipt confirmed.

Trepan: /private counselbot What is the legal standing of this contract?

##counselbot (private): Smartcontract "Representation agreement" is an ISO standard representation agreement between a client and a solicitor for purposes of litigation in the UK.

##autocounsel (private) (file transfer)

##Received "representation agreement faq uk 2.3.2 2JAN22" from autocounsel.

Trepan: /join #EST.chatter

Trepan: /private Junta It's a deal

##Transferring key-signed smartcontract "Representation agreement" to Junta. Receipt confirmed.

Trepan: /quit Gotta go, thanks!

##Trepan has left channel #EST.chatter "Gotta go, thanks!"

Friday, July 30, 2004

CIPerati--a Cyberspace and IP Law Newsletter

On August 2, the IP subcommittee published it's third edition of CIPerati. Give it a read!

The Changing of the Programming Committee Guard

When you are in Atlanta, be sure to congratulate the new Programs Chair John Lunseth (r), and start your dialogues now on the programs for the future. And, be sure to thank his predecessor Hank Judy for his wonderful work including the great slate of programs for this year's ABA Annual. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Latest Issue of Crypto-Gram--A Great Read on the Plane

For those of you who aren't on Schneier's mailing list, you're missing a great read. Every so often, Bruce Schneier publishes his newsletter called Crypto-Gram. It's a great read for anyone with an interest in security issues.

You can read the July 15 version here and find out how to subscribe.

Bring your Wi-Fi Cards

From the ABA: "We will provide Wi-Fi network throughout the Second Floor of the Atlanta Hilton which will provide you with wireless internet access. If you have a laptop with Wi-Fi built in, you'll want to bring it to the meeting. If you have a laptop without Wi-Fi, you might want to purchase a Wi-Fi card or USB adapter for your laptop for about $50 at any computer store."

According to the Hilton: I talked to someone at the front desk at the Hilton. According to him, the hotel provides wireless internet access throughout the entire hotel, including the rooms. The cost for access is $9.95 for 24 hours. They now measure use from when you log on, rather than the old 12 Noon to 12 Noon standard. The Hotel will also loan you a wireless card or a wireless USB adapter for your laptop for $5 for the entire length of your stay. However, he cautioned me that service is better in some areas (lobby) than in others and that some wireless cards work better than others and some won't work at all. So, it looks like we may all have to do a little bit of fiddling to get it to work in our rooms. But, that's what makes it fun, right?

Cybersecurity "Summit" meeting - Saturday, 8/7 at 16:00

On Saturday, August 7, at 4:00 pm, we'll be holding an off-the-schedule informal meeting just outside the Grand Ballroom A (second floor -- where out program titled "Getting Paid in the 21st Century" will be finishing up) to begin planning a Cybersecurity "Summit" symposium for early next year. The Summit is the brainchild of Marc Pearl and Ray Gustini (co-chairs of the subcommittee on Cybersecurity and Electronic Privacy), and would bring together industry and government IT/Privacy leaders to target areas and processes for better industry-government co-operation in areas of electronic privacy and information sharing.

The LawHub has background information on this project (including a working draft of the Summit concept) at

If you're interested in this subject, please come!


Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Schedules for the Meeting

The ABA Business Law Section Web Site has schedules to help you plan your time at the meeting.

You can also find details about the Cyberspace Law Committee's meeting schedule in the advance mailing to Committee members.

Check out Past Blogs

The blogs from our past two meetings are available online too. Check them out for a bit of history on our projects.

2004 Annual Winter Working Meeting

2004 Spring Business Law Section Meeting

    Try Some Tapas for the Annual Cyberspace Dinner

    The Cyberspace Dinner this year is at a wonderful tapas bar called Pura Vida. Dinner is Saturday night and is by ticket only ($68). Once again, Cyberspace will have the best dinner at the best price of the entire ABA. Capactity is limited, and if you haven't gotten your ticket yet, email Jackie Scheib at jscheib <@>


    Visit By New ABA President

    The new ABA President-Elect (and Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Partner), Mike Greco, will be visiting the Cyberspace Law Committee Dinner  just after 7:00 pm and will have to leave around 7:30 pm.  He will be making brief comments.  Hope to see you there

    Just a reminder: the Dinner starts at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 7, 2004, at Pura Vida Tapas and Wine Bar, located a short cab ride from the Hilton at 656 North Highland Avenue, Atlanta.  Check out their website at

    If you haven't made a reservation for this dinner, you may still be able to attend IF YOU CONTACT JACKIE SCHEIB BEFORE AUGUST 3 -- see earlier posting to the Committee's listserve here

    Monday, July 26, 2004

    Headquarters: Atlanta Hilton

    Most (if not all) of the Cyberspace meetings will take place at the Atlanta Hilton Hotel.

    Welcome to the Cyberspace Blog for the 2004 ABA Annual Meeting

    Welcome to Atlanta.  The leadership of the Cyberspace Law Committee will use this space to keep you updated on events at the annual meeting.  Several of us will update it regularly throughout the meeting with pictures, summaries of meetings, and last minute updates on meeting times, schedule changes, and the like.

    If you'd like permission to post, please email michael-mcguire <@> comcast [dot] net (email address intentionally buggered to prevent SPAM harvesting).

    Privacy Policy *UPDATED 7/28/2004*

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