News/Geek: David and Goliath Go Online: Geek Law and Internet Advocacy
Tuesday, November 17, 2009 from 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM (EST)
Is the internet changing the way we lobby? Who uses the internet for policy advocacy, and how?
Before the internet, disseminating your message to possible citizen activists was expensive and slow. Now, even a previously obscure group’s message can go viral, bringing thousands of citizens into a policy debate. The sharp drop in the cost of communication means that formerly under-funded or nonexistent coalitions may sometimes have a fighting chance against major industrial lobbies.
Based on his research into the debates over digital copyright and
network neutrality, Bill will discuss some of the evidence that the
internet is having an impact on policy debates and even policy
outcomes. These debates over technology policy are particularly
topical; since the decided underdogs are among the most
technology-savvy policy advocates anywhere, their use of online
advocacy is years ahead of many other policy advocates.
Bill Herman is an Assistant Professor in the Hunter College Department of Film and Media Studies. His work falls at the intersection of communication technologies, policy, politics, and culture. He studies the law and regulation of new media technologies, including copyright,
digital rights management, and internet policy. His research also includes the roles played by new media technologies in policy debates, media industries, and modern culture.
He has published in journals such as Communication Law & Policy and the Federal Communications Law Journal. His dissertation is a study of copyright's evolving role in regulating digital rights management technologies over the last 20 years. It explores not only how this area of law has changed over time, but also how new participants such
as nongovermental organizations have changed the debate. It also concludes that the internet opened the door to an even more diverse group of voices, creating a very different version of the same debate than the version presented in Congress and major newspapers.
Bill has testified in hearings at the U.S. Copyright Office, and his work has been cited by the Congressional Research Service and in congressional testimony. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication in 2009.