The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School is a leader in the study of the law and policy around the Internet and other emerging technologies.
Whether and when communications platforms like Google, Twitter and Facebook are liable for their users’ online activities is one of the key factors that affects innovation and free speech. Most creative expression today takes place over communications networks owned by private companies. Governments around the world increasingly press intermediaries to block their users’ undesirable online content in order to suppress dissent, hate speech, privacy violations and the like. One form of pressure is to make communications intermediaries legally responsible for what their users do and say. Liability regimes that put platform companies at legal risk for users’ online activity are a form of censorship-by-proxy, and thereby imperil both free expression and innovation, even as governments seek to resolve very real policy problems.
In the United States, the core doctrines of section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act have allowed these online intermediary platforms user generated content to flourish. But, immunities and safe harbors for intermediaries are under threat in the U.S. and globally as governments seek to deputize intermediaries to assist in law enforcement.
To contribute to this important policy debate, CIS studies international approaches to intermediary obligations concerning users’ copyright infringement, defamation, hate speech or other vicarious liabilities, immunities, or safe harbors; publishes a repository of information on international liability regimes and works with global platforms and free expression groups to advocate for policies that will protect innovation, freedom of expression, privacy and other user rights.
Three dimensional printing turns bits into atoms. The technology is simply amazing. These machines draw on programming, art and engineering to enable people to design and build intricate, beautiful, functional jewelry, machine parts, toys and even shoes. In the commercial sector, 3D printing can revolutionize supply chains as well. As the public interest group Public Knowledge wrote once, "It will be awesome if they don't screw it up." Read more about 3D Printing: Is the Law Ready for the Future?
The extent to which internet intermediaries such as Facebook and Google should be liable for unlawful content on the internet is currently facing a great deal of scrutiny in Europe. Like in the US, internet intermediaries in Europe are expected to assist in the prevention of copyright infringement. However, they do not have the wide protection against defamation and privacy claims provided by section 230 of the Communications Decency Act 1996 in the US. Over the last few years, they have therefore found themselves being named in lawsuits in respect of user-generated content. Read more about CIS Speaker Series - Intermediary Liability on the Internet
In the summer of 1956, several key figures in what would become known as the field of "artificial intelligence" met at Dartmouth College to brainstorm about the future of the synthetic mind. Artificial intelligence, broadly defined, has since become a part of everyday life. Read more about Artificial Intelligence - A Legal Perspective