The Amateur Hour Conference on user-generated content kicked off this morning at New York Law School. Organized by my colleague, Prof. Dan Hunter, the conference kicked up a hailstorm of protest before it started when Dan mentioned in passing to the speakers that the conference is being webcast.
Streaming has been canceled for all except the talks by the non-lawyers and the sane.
The problem is, according to NYLS prof and official conference kibbitzer, Prof. Seth Harris, that lawyers view themselves as being risk-avoiders rather than risk-evaluators. The events preceding the conference perhaps even more than the conference itself are the more important lesson for us as law professors and teachers to impart to our students. If we are teaching the values of social justice, deliberation, and open exchange of ideas, we have to teach our students how to balance these values with the practical demands of an increasingly litigious profession.
Ironically, the legal beagles, worried about being on the record talking about the legal and business implications of amateur content, forget entirely about amateur content. The audience is full of bloggers and "citizen journalists" reporting on the event. So I feel obligated as a matter of principle to live-blog the conference taking place. Of course, the lawyers aren't expected to actually say anything so I think I'll talk about Clay Shirky's keynote, instead.