Symposium on Reputation Economies in Cyberspace

Who can think of a more exciting way to spend a Saturday in December than sitting around Yale Law School listening to a bunch of legal gurus talk about issues of reputation in Cyberspace?

True, Fiona thought it would be more interesting to spend the day with her Papa and Nanna. Kim felt obliged to travel to New Hampshire to go door-to-door canvassing for John Edwards. However, I’m sure they recognized the importance of the symposium I was at.

I must admit, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when I showed up, and I’m not sure that I can do justice to the symposium with this little blog post which I’m trying to quickly write during the Gallery Opening in Second Life before Fiona gets home.

There are many issues about reputations as they exist in cyberspace, and there were frequent references to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, Trademark law, Intellectual Property, various torts, specific cases, such as ABDUL JABBAR v GENERAL MOTORS and so on. A quick summary just isn’t possible. As I get time, I’ll write up more thoughts about that, as well as about some of the very interesting side discussions that took place.

So, can I come up with a quick summary? Well, we talked about establishing a cyber-reputation, and the role of privacy in protecting that reputation. We looked at assessing the quality of a reputation, and who ones what portions of a reputation. Discussions ranged from Dog Poop Girl and Star Wars Kid to *30 Reasons Girls Should Call It A Night*. I do wonder if Star Wars Kid can rid the world of drunken girls putting too much information up on Facebook or other girls that allow their dogs to leave too much behind on the subway.

Perhaps the most interesting observation was the idea that Facebook and related systems for managing reputations online are this Millennium’s equivalent of the Doomsday Book.

At the end of the symposium, Eddan Katz stopped short of saying, “See you next year.” I should have digested much of the information from this years symposium, so if I get a vote, it would be for Information Society Project to run another symposium on reputation economies in cyberspace next year.