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Piracy, ACTA and Social Media on Tap During ABA Section of International Law Meeting

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 11, 2012 — The American Bar Association Section of International Law will host one of the world’s largest annual gatherings of international legal experts during its 2012 Spring Meeting in New York, April 17 – 21.  This year’s meeting will be held at the Grand Hyatt New York, Park Avenue/Grand Central.

Special Showcase Event: A Dialogue with Michael Douglas:  On April 19, 10:45 a.m. – noon, the Section of International Law will present a showcase event with actor Michael Douglas, featuring a dialogue about international law and policy.  Douglas will be speaking about nuclear non-proliferation.  Past speakers for the showcase “fireside chats” have included Jane Goodall, Theodore Sorensen, Robert McNamara and Bob Geldof.  Jonathan Granoff, of the Law Office of Jonathan Granoff, will moderate.

Additional speakers will include:

  • Ben Ferencz, the sole surviving American who served as a prosecutor at the Nuremburg trials of Nazi war criminals;
  • Robert Khuzami, director of the Division of Enforcement, Securities and Exchange Commission; and John C. Coffee Jr., Columbia Law School; (The Aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis – a Focus on Insider Trading and Developments in Securities Law, part I);
  • Pierre N. Leval,  judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit;
  • Robert A. Katzmann, judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (What Can the Legal Profession do to Increase Access to Competent Counsel? Immigration as a Case Study);
  • U.S. Treasury Department’s Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions Cyrus Amir-Mokri; and
  • Award-winning journalist and author of “Under an Afghan Sky,” Mellissa Fung.

More than 1,300 international law practitioners, scholars, corporate counsel, government and regulatory lawyers, and representatives of nongovernmental organizations from some 50 countries are expected to attend the 2012 meeting.  The agenda includes more than 70 programs on international business, energy and the environment, and international rule of law and development.  

The following are among the highlights relating to intellectual property law and emerging technologies:

Fighting Online Piracy by Going after the Middle-Men — New Perspectives on ISP Liability Under EU, US and UK Copyright Law — While software piracy is not a new phenomenon, the widespread availability of broadband access enables large-scale and everyday piracy of software, even movies in high definition.  Additionally, search engines offer services such as summarizing the latest news headlines with corresponding third-party photographs.  Copyright holders often face insurmountable problems in tracking down the individuals misusing their material.  The question arises whether Internet service providers should be obliged to prevent access to sites hosting pirated materials, or whether search engines can be prevented from making available third-party images.
April 17, 4 – 5:30 p.m.

Luncheon with Keynote Speaker Cyrus Amir-Mokri — U.S. Treasury Department’s Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions Cyrus Amir-Mokri will be the featured speaker, while William Howard Taft IV will be presented with the Francis Shattuck Security and Peace Award for his defense of the international rule of law by opposing the White House policy of interrogation that disregarded the Geneva Convention.
April 18, 12:45 – 2:15 p.m.

IP Contracts and International Bankruptcy: Dealing with Failure and Intellectual Rejection — And the Answer Isn’t to See Your Psychiatrist — Recent years have witnessed an explosion of international insolvency proceedings.  Almost all of these cases involve the intersection of intellectual property rights and bankruptcy law, with an additional layer of complexity relating to international recognition and comity.  A panel will examine issues created by multinational cases, application of comity, and other developments in the United States, Canada, Germany and other jurisdictions.
April 18, 2:30 – 4 p.m.

Importing Cultural Objects into the United States — Curators, collectors, dealers and even souvenir buyers want to bring art works and cultural objects from other countries into the United States.  However, they should know that Customs and Border Protection is on the lookout for culturally important artifacts that may be entering the United States illegally.  A legal framework, composed of both general and specific customs laws, now regulates the importation of cultural artifacts. 
April 19, 9 – 10:30 a.m.

Think Before You Tweet — What Everyone Should Know About Social Media — With the explosion of social media and mobile marketing, companies are increasingly focusing on social and peer-to-peer marketing.  This ever-changing environment presents unique opportunities for brand promotion, but also raises novel legal issues of unfair trade practices, trademark and copyright infringement, privacy, data collection, defamation, employment law and false advertising.  The speakers will focus on legal and ethical concerns raised by these new forms of communications.
April 19, 9 – 10:30 a.m.

Luncheon with Keynote Speaker Pierre N. Leval — Judge Pierre N. Leval, United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, will present remarks, with the section’s Louis B. Sohn Award for the Public International Law being presented to Anne-Marie Slaughter, dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton.
April 19, 12:45 – 2:15 p.m.  

Economic Espionage and Social Media:  Where is Your Data Tonight? — A panel provides an overview of the laws of data protection; ethical issues regarding client information security; incident response under a variety of statutory and regulatory schemes in different jurisdictions; and trends toward greater data protection and encryption requirements. 
April 19, 2:30 – 4 p.m.

ACTA Now: How the New Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement Affects Your Practice or Business — Counterfeit products, including those with protected trademarks and those comprising copyrighted works, as well as generic versions of patented pharmaceuticals, are a significant problem for certain rights holders.  The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement may represent a significant step toward harmonious counterfeit enforcement and give rights-holders the ability to effectively fight counterfeiting both at home and abroad.
April 20, 9 – 10:30 a.m.

Injunctions/Tweets/Facebook — Can They be Gagged Worldwide? — From the drug habits of supermodels to the sex lives of footballers, the use by celebrities of injunctions to suppress the intimate details of their private lives from the media is currently under considerable scrutiny.  A global cross-sectional panel will consider the use and abuse of digital communications and social media in such a legal context in battle against principles of privacy and freedom of speech.
April 20, 4:30 – 6 p.m.

Additional information about the 2012 Spring Meeting can be found online.

For media credentialing, please contact Patricia Gaul at Patricia.Gaul@Americanbar.org.  This event is free and open to members of the press.

ABA International was founded in 1933 and leads the development of international legal policy, the promotion of the rule of law, and the education of international law practitioners. It is the only ABA entity that focuses exclusively on international legal issues. ABA International has over 23,000 members in 90 countries, including 1500 in-house counsel. The section has more than 60 committees, task forces, and working groups devoted to substantive legal issues or focused on geographic areas all over the world, monitoring and disseminating information on international policy developments that effect international legal practice.

With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.

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