Robolawyers for the Open Web: DMCA automation and more

Session Type:
Working group
Session Category:
Session Leader:
Tim Hwang

Day: Sunday

Session notes


The law is often used in ways that work to harm free expression online and the openness of the web. Users often lack the power, resources, or expertise to actively exercise their legal rights to resist this abuse. How could the automation of legal tasks and user-friendly web applications be used to right this balance and put the power back in the hands of the users?

This session will delve into the emerging work being done at the intersection of computer science, law, and open web activism. We’ll tackle ideas as diverse as an application which enables flurries of automated DMCA counternotices to resist efforts to stifle free speech online, to a crowdsourced financing platform for public interest litigation and defense.

The outcome of the session will be to brainstorm and develop out one or two well-developed design specs that could then act as blueprints for developers to put into action after the conference. The agenda will be as follows:

  • 2:00 – 2:30 – Introductions and Agenda – “hello everyone!”
  • 2:30 – 3:30 – Brainstorming – “what problems can we solve?”
  • 3:30 – 5:00 – Working Groups – “let’s solve ’em!”

Expected Outcomes

We plan that the session will aim to achieve three objectives over the course of the session:

(1) Develop one to two fleshed-out specifications that will lay out a blueprint for developers and designers to build on after OVC

(2) Jumpstart an active community of toolmakers in the development of activist technology in the law

(3) Identify a set of problem arenas where a similar approaches might be effective into the future.