The heart of NYU Wagner's programs is our faculty. An amalgam of full-time, clinical/research/visiting, and adjunct professors, they are outstanding teachers, expert researchers and committed practitioners.
The inaugural Amateur Hour conference took place in November 2011 at New York Law School. The event focused on how existing media businesses are making changes to their business models in the age of the amateur and what are the new and challenging business legal and management issues which media and entertainment business companies now face. The AmHr conference brought emergent players in the new media environment together with respresentatives from the legal field and established media companies to discuss the present and future of user generated content and existing media businesses.
For more information, visit Amateur Hour
What Problem Does It Solve?: It is hard to keep in mind all of the many different propositions that might bear on a complex factual dispute, much less to see the relationships between all competing propositions and the likely conclusions to be reached if one assumes certain facts to be true or false and certain propositions to be more or less reliable.
How Does It Do That?: By creating an explorable hierarchical structure that reflects all of the relationships between proposed facts and conclusions.
Why Is It Different?: Network diagrams use links between nodes. Argument arrows add the element of transitive links – connections that are applicable only across a number of different elements. Fish diagrams enforce a requirement that only one inference line can flow into a particular element. Argument arrows allow multiple incoming inference lines, including those that support or detract from the likely truth of the element in question. Argument arrows structures can be arbitrarily deep and can be explored upward or downward by clicking on elements of interest.
Who Will Use It?: Anyone seeking to record, see and understand the structure of a complex factual debate. For example, lawyers dealing with a complex set of disputed facts can use this kind of tool to keep track of all possible pieces of evidence and all the inferences that might be made from the evidence.
Other Potential Uses: Scholars engaged in debates about historical facts could use the tool to summarize the academic debate. And students could use the resulting structures to understand the debate and reach their own conclusions.
More Detailed Description: The Argument Arrows system is currently under development. The current system has been submitted to Marc Lauritsen for further analysis. Another version will be presented to John Clippinger for potential use in connection with complex policy/technical debates regarding open source authentication systems for the internet.
Lead Designer: David R. Johnson
Sponsors: New York Law School.
For more information, visit the Argument Arrows system online.
Capstone: World Bank Project on Innovative Procurement
Proposal Abstract – Procurement policies are optimized around acquiring a hammer from Hammer Inc. rather than identifying the most effective solution for affixing a nail, which might come from an unexpected and nontraditional source. NYUWagner Capstone students will design the process, policy, and technology for an open and collaborative public procurement process that can be deployed and tested by the World Bank on itself. The goal of the project will be to identify new, open and collaborative public procurement mechanisms or existing best practices to foster the identification, implementation and scaling of innovative solutions to solve the world’s most pressing problems.
For more information about NYU Wagner's Capstone Program, please visit http://wagner.nyu.edu/capstone
For more information about World Bank, please visit http://www.worldbank.org
Certificate of Mastery in Law Practice Technology
The Institute for Information Law and Policy will offer a “Certificate of Mastery in Law Practice Technology,” to be awarded as an honor upon graduation to students who have satisfied various requirements.
Each student seeking an award indicating mastery of a particular subject will submit a proposed plan to demonstrate such mastery to an IILP faculty member as early in his or her law school career as practicable, preferably at the beginning of the second year. Any IILP faculty member may approve such a plan and, having done so, must be available to determine whether it has been executed in a satisfactory fashion. Once the faculty member accepts the plan, the student will pursue the proposed plan and then report back to demonstrate its completion – at which point the faculty member will make the award. The IILP will provide some suggested plans and individual guidance to students who want to achieve mastery in particular areas. We anticipate that completion of the plan will take 2 years though, with diligence, the work can be completed over 1 year. The plan can be revised over the course of the student’s law school career to adapt to changing technologies or circumstances.
For more information, please visit the Certificate of Mastery in Law Practice Technology at the New York Law School's Institute for Information Law & Policy (IILP).
IILP Faculty: Professors Johnson, Mills, Noveck, Peritz, Sherwin, Stracher
What Problem Does It Solve?: Most people have difficulty reading and understanding complex legal texts and rules.
How Does It Do That?: A computible diagrams shows the rule structures clearly and allows the user to interact with the statute or rules by turning facts on and off and seeing the resulting conclusions light up.
Why Is It Different?: This is the first system that makes it easy to map complex legal logic into hierarchically nested graphical diagrams that can be used to compute the outcome of particular cases.
Who will use it?: Experts will author diagrams that show the structures and logic embodied in authoritative legal texts, case doctrine, regulations, or organizational rules.
More Detailed Description: The Clickable Statutes software is a client side application developed in Runtime Revolution. There is a library of examples that have been built by law proferssors and law students.
Visit Clickable Statutes online for more information.
Current projects include the following:
What Problem Does It Solve: Overcomes the difficulty with disseminating ideas for design innovations among technical and non-technical participants alike. Putting up screen shots or blog postings on the web make it possible to broadcast an idea but hard to solicit ideas from others for better methods, practices and interfaces.
How Does It Do That: By creating a culture of information sharing and exchange regarding innovation. Instead of a gallery to share vacation photos, these text and image galleries make it simple to upload an idea for a social software innovation and to rate and comment upon those proposals.
Why Is It Different: Unlike Sourceforge or other technology-oriented peer production sites, the Galleries make it possible for non-technical people, such as lawyers and policymakers, to communicate a challenge to the tech community, to get techies thinking about the problem and to communicate the need for technological solutions to non-technical problem solvers.
Who Will Use It: Current instances of the Gallery focus on three audiences but the Gallery could be repurposed for any community to share and trade best practices visually. The three Galleries are:
For more information, visit Collaboration Gov.Gallery online.
The Contract Commons Project will build an online system to assist government procurement officials with negotiating and drafting technology and software agreements. The goal of Contract Commons is to make it easier for public institutions to obtain better technology and to help vendors elicit the requirements of public sector clients more effectively. Through a partnership with the Stupski Foundation, the first area of focus in the public sector will be K-12 Education.
For more information, visit the Contract Commons project online.
Democracy Island overcomes some of the difficulties associated with civic participation and engagement in real space.
The process by which government agencies solicit public comment on proposed rules is badly broken. Federal law requires agencies to consult the public. Yet few members of the public participate.
We propose to build an effective system for conducting citizen participation and consultation for on-line rulemaking. Specifically, we will build and test the first on-line electronic rulemaking process in a 3D on-line space using the technology behind massively multiplayer games. Massively multiplayer online games have become a key frontier in the evolution of cyberspace. They are the next interface to the Internet. Unlike the text-based World Wide Web, the graphical environments of digital worlds offer their inhabitants three-dimensional, fully immersive, virtual worlds where characters interact, trade and participate in a wide-range of social and commercial relations. Populated by hundreds of thousands of people, virtual worlds are fast becoming one of the largest entertainment industries and a new locus of social relations. An estimated 20 million people worldwide subscribe to a digital world; one-third of them spend more than 4 hours a day participating in a virtual community. Unlike old fashioned videogames, virtual worlds are spaces where real, adult players create their own experience by crafting original characters, objects and stories. People gather in these universes to participate in building new worlds, not to shoot space invaders. Players do not act alone; they collaborate to create the space itself.
Visit Democracy Island for more information.
What Problem Does It Solve: The lack of an effective interface for providing input into a decisionmaking process that is manageable for the rulewriter and useful for the citizen.
How Does It Do That: By creating a sense of the community of practice and showing the relationship between commenters and the information they are commenting upon.
Why Is It Different: This is the first visual design of an interface for the legal process of citizen participation. It is the first designed to connect citizens to each other.
Who Will Use It: All federal government agencies and the public responding to rulemakings.
Other Potential Uses: While designed to remedy a specific problem with federal rulemaking, these designs and the ideas that underlie them could be applied to local and state rulemaking and all forms of citizen participation or any decisionmaking process requiring input. Ideal for building communities of practice.
More Detailed Description: The E-rulemaking interfaces present communities of practice in visual form, making it easy to see the level of agency activity and public comment at each stage. Tools include interfaces for: joining a community of practice, searching agency rulemaking activity, reviewing and commenting upon a proposal, identifying iconographically whether comments are scientific, legal or narrative, commenting upon comments, rating comments and summarizing comments. A complete description of functionality is available in: Beth Simone Noveck, The Electronic Revolution in Rulemaking, 53 Emory Law Journal 1 (2004).
Lead Designer: Beth Simone Noveck
For more information, visit E-Rulemaking Gallery online.
Geeks for Wonks
On his first day in office, President Obama issued the Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government, calling for changing the culture of government and creating more effective institutions characterized by unprecedented transparency, participation, and collaboration. Every major department and agency now has its own Open Government Plan with proposed innovations.
At the Open Government R&D Summit on March 21-22, 2011 at the National Archives of the United States, government officials and academics gathered to set the foundation for a robust R&D agenda that ensures the benefits of open government are widely realized, with emphasis on how open government can spur economic growth and improve the lives of everyday Americans.
The goal of the conference was to articulate how best to gauge the effects and effectiveness of open government and encourage the engagement of the research community with the government community — Geeks and Wonks — across various disciplines in identifying the most important questions that must be studied.
For more information, visit Geeks for Wonks online.
Innovate / Activate
The Institute for Information Law & Policy at New York Law School is proud to present Innovate / Activate: An Unconference on IP and Activism. The inaugural Innovate / Activate unconference, co-sponsored by Google and the Yale Law School Information Society Project, brought together over 100 activists, academics, professionals, and students from around the world to collectively explore the ways in which IP influences global welfare.
Participants came from a wide range of practice, representing the unique perspectives of organizations from abroad, such as the Center for International Environmental Law in Geneva, the Institute for Science, Innovation, and Ethics in Manchester, and the Centre for Internet and Society in Bangalore; domestic institutions like IBM, the Open Video Alliance, and MIT OpenCourseWare; and student-led endeavors like Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, Students for Free Culture, and the Redactive Poetry Project.
The ideas, conversations, and relationships that arose over the course of the two days have already begun to inspire new action and collaboration. Taking the lessons learned from the unconference, students from New York Law School have created an IP and activism strategy guide, to be published by New Tactics in Human Rights.
An archive of the Innovate / Activate Unconference, including videos of all the presentations, is available here.
Visit Innovate / Activate online for more information.
IT in Law Teaching
Short Description: Faculty at New York Law School are currently developing new ways to help students learn law by interacting with software programs outside of class.
Current projects include the following:
What Problem Does It Solve?: Faculty time is limited. Students learn most effectively when they can play a role, build an argument structure or take actions based on their understanding of the material. Multiple choice tests don’t probe true understanding. But essays are difficult to grade. The interactive systems we are working on allow students to build legal structures, play a role, or use interactivity to explore relationships between legal concepts.
How Does It Do That?: These systems are designed to be very easy to author. A non-technical faculty member can create a new exercise in no more time than it takes to come up with a good hypothetical for use in class. The student can then use these systems at their own convenience, between classes, to develop a better understanding of the subject matter. Because these systems use semantic objects, the student’s work can be evaluated (scored) automatically – and the student can “re-play” the exercises again and again to reinforce the learning experience.
Why Is It Different?: All of these tools are designed to allow a non-technical faculty member to author an interactive learning tool very quickly. The interactivity is designed to reinforce learning. The object oriented structure allows real time assessment of student performance. And playing with these interactive learning tools is fun.
Who Will Use It?: Teachers and students.
Other Potential Uses: Creation of educational objects for use by anyone on the web.
More Detailed Description: See the IT Gallery
Lead Designer: David R. Johnson
Sponsors: New York Law School.
For more information, visit IT in Law Teaching online.
Open Access Laws
Access to the legal system in the United States today is shockingly unequal. One reason for this disparity is that legal materials — everything from court decisions to treatises — are often locked up in expensive and inconvenient formats. Just finding out what the law is can be an arduous process for the general public, especially those too poor to afford expensive lawyers and WestLex’s astronomical fees. We can fix this.
Our inspiration came from Wikipedia, the Web, and other “open source” knowledge generation systems, which have proven time and again the value of combining mountains of data, standardized machine-readable formats, and a policy of open access by anyone interested. They harness the creative ferment of millions of volunteers to outperform supposed “experts.” Projects like Cornell’s Legal Information Institute, public.resource,org, and Altlaw have made serious inroads at opening up the world of legal materials to the public. Open Access Laws worked to go further.
Participants of the project devised and implemented strategies to rapidly increase the quality of legal materials available to the public while massively decreasing the difficulty of consulting them. They simultaneously worked to move legal materials en masse into publicly-accessible, machine-readable, well-structured forms — and to build upon those collections to create innovative tools that assist lawyers and the public to synthesize those materials into readily comprehensible forms.
IILP Faculty: James Grimmelmann
For more information, visit Open Access Laws online.
Open Data Policy and Practice
Building on the work of the federal Open Government Initiative and the work of pathbreaking cities such as Portland and San Francisco, many municipalities are looking for ways to collaborate better with residents to identify innovative solutions common challenges informed by public data.
New York City, too, has been considering legislation for the last two years to create the framework for systematic publication of information on the Internet in formats that the public can reuse. With this data, people can conduct research and analysis to make the city work better and more effectively. They can also develop new tools, such as educational computer programs or handheld applications, to help the public make better choices or just to inform themselves about New York City with the kind of granular information that only city agencies have. Most importantly, open data is means to the end of fostering greater democratic participation and collaboration between the people and their government.
Both the City Council and the Administration are working on new drafts with an eye toward introducing (and passing, we hope!) legislation again. We know from experience that there’s a very big gap to bridge between ambitious principles of full-scale transparency and the practical realities of making data universally available online in real-time in open formats. There are technical, political, legal, and cultural hurdles to overcome.
In the hope of helping New York City’s government and public interest groups with crafting the legislation and translating the law into a practical implementation plan for day-to-day transparency, the Democracy Design Workshop at New York Law School has put together the attached PowerPoint “deck” with some suggestions for how to “do open data” practically and effectively.
Click here to download the deck.
For more information, visit the Open Data Policy and Practice online.
NYU Wagner is hosting a multidisciplinary group of thinkers and doers funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to explore the possibility of creating a Research Network on “Opening Government.” This“pre-network” group will analyze the potential impact of technology on democratic institutions—specifically, how we can use technology to create more collaborative ways of governing to tackle the world’s hardest problems.
For more information, visit openinggovernment.org.
Funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the OrgPedia project is developing a free, not-for-profit online directory of data about domestic and international, public and private companies.
OrgPedia will be a comprehensive, open, public data resource and analytic engine for understanding the corporate world. It will collect data about the world’s corporations – who they are, who owns them, who they own, and how and where they operate. It will provide a website, search engine and analytic tools for regulators, researchers, and many others, including corporations themselves, to use this data both to look up information about individual corporations, and also to research interrelationships between companies and industries.
Designed by a consortium of leading technology experts at Rensselaer Polytechnic, MIT, New York Law School and NYU, OrgPedia will be a powerful tool to study the corporate world. It will enable government regulatory agencies to use data about regulated entities more effectively, and will allow researchers in or out of government to import OrgPedia data and analytic tools into their own websites and use OrgPedia to do new analyses and build new applications.
Peer to Patent
What Problem Does It Solve: The sole patent examiner is not good at uncovering prior art, determining obviousness or utility or deciding what inventions merit a 20-year grant of monopoly rights.
How Does It Do That: By connecting the community of scientific experts to evaluate the merit of inventions for patent protection, the peer-to-patent system brings a much wider array of expertise to bear on making decisions about national innovation. This on-line system combines the technologies of collaborative filtering and reputation to offer on-line patent blue ribbon juries.
Why Is It Different: It replaces the single examiner with the group of scientific experts.
Who Will Use It: Government patent offices to reduce the burden on patent examiners and increase the quality of innovation.
More Details: The patent system is broken. The United States Patent Office, which was intended to foster innovation and the promotion of progress in the useful arts, instead, creates uncertainty and monopoly. Underpaid and overwhelmed examiners routinely approve petitions without review. They struggle under the burden of 350,000 patent applications per year. As a result, multiple patents have been given for the same invention or patents awarded for inventions discovered previously. But what if we could also make it easier to ensure that only the most worthwhile inventions got twenty years of monopoly rights? What if we could offer a way to protect the inventor’s investment while still safeguarding the marketplace of ideas from bad inventions? What if we could make informed decisions about scientifically complex problems before the fact? What if we could harness collective intelligence to replace bureaucracy? This modest proposal harnesses social reputation and collaborative filtering technology to create a peer review system of scientific experts ruling on innovation. By using social software, we can apply the “wisdom of the crowd” – or, more accurately the wisdom of the experts – to complex social and scientific problems and bring more expertise to bear. This has far reaching implications beyond the patent process. It implies a fundamental rethinking of our assumptions about governance.
Team: Prof. Beth Simone Noveck with Nikitas Nicolakis, Mohammed Kashef and members of the IP Law Society of New York Law School.
Sponsors: Institute for Information Law and Policy, New York Law School.
Visit Peer to Patent for more information.
What Problem Does It Solve?: It is hard to find optimal solutions to complex problems and policy disputes. Various parties dig in on particular issues. The parties don’t effectively explore the whole solution space. It is hard for anyone to understand the complex tradeoffs created by interdependency between particular choices.
How Does It Do That?: GenEvPol allows entry of relatively uncontroversial data regarding all the potential elements of a solution, the effects likely to be created by selection of particular elements, the likely impact of those effects on particular parties, and the mutual incompatibility of various alternatives. From this data, the system evolves an optimal starting point for future discussions – finding combinations of decisions or policies that maximize the welfar of all the affected parties in aggregate.
Why Is It Different?: GenEvPol treats alternative decisions and policy choices as GENES. Combinations of such genes (organisms) represent solutions to a dispute or selection of a particular set of policies. GenEvPol starts with a randomly selected population of organisms. Using relatively uncontroversial data regarding the effects of particular choices, GenEvPol scores the organisms and allows the most fit to mate and mutate. The result is the evolution of an optimal set of decisions – a good, neutrally-produced, starting place for further discussion among the parties.
Who Will Use It?: Anyone seeking optimal solutions to complex problems. Legislators. Lawyers counselling clients. Peace negotiators. Business people seeking an optimal multi-party deal.
Other Potential Uses: Anything can be treated as having a set of genes. Its possible that GenEvPol could be used to evolve inventions of all types.
Sponsors: GenEvPol was developed by Graphical Groupware
For more information, visit Policy Evolver online.
What Problem Does It Solve: Overcomes lack of public participation and consultation in policymaking. Focuses citizen participation on constructive and deliberative ends.
How Does It Do That: It offers a process and tool for collective policy drafting via the Internet. The PolicyWiki relies on relatively standard Wiki-based technology but enhances it with procedures built into the tool designed to foster community engagement and constructive participation.
Why Is It Different: It channels citizen participation and deliberation toward constructive goals, such as producing a draft school curriculum, set of rules, policy document or legislation.
Who Will Use It: Wide possible applications especially for local communities to improve self-governance
More Details: WIKIs are the new generation of collaborative editing tool. They enable a group to author a document collectively. They have been successfully used to write the world’s largest encyclopedia as well as for small companies to do project management together. The question is whether they can be adapted for use in developing policy and writing law collaboratively. We will explore the implementation of WIKI-style technology for use in helping communities create school curricula and school policy. This project will require some research into educational policy and reform. The aim of this team is to design an on-line collaborative authoring system and a strategy for its implementation to promote community engagement in educational reform.
Team: Christopher Imperiori, Aseem Jaluria, Beth Noveck, John Schimmel
Sponsors: Institute for Information Law and Policy, New York Law School
For more information, visit PolicyWiki online.
State of Play
Organized by New York Law School in association with Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, Trinity University, and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, State of Play is the pioneering global conference on virtual worlds, hosting experts across disciplines to discuss the future of cyberspace and the impact of these new immersive, social online environments on education, law, politics and society. The hallmark of the conference series is its multi-disciplinary perspective.
Visit State of Play online for more information.
State of Play Academy
The State of Play Academy is the first law and technology academy built in a virtual world. Its purpose is to challenge the traditional means of imparting a legal education—in time, place and manner– by experimenting with opportunities offered by the virtual space. It is funded by a grant awarded to New York Law School by There.com.
For more information, visit the State of Play Academy online.
The Public Index
The Google Book Search Lawsuit: The digital future of books is being hammered out in boardsrooms and courtrooms. The proposed settlement in the Google Book Search lawsuit, which would restructure the publishing industry and reshape copyright law, was negotiated by a few lawyers and will be ruled on by a single judge. The public deserves and needs a seat at this table.
The Public Index: Launched in May 2009, the Public Index harnesses the same digital media that are transforming publishing to bring the public into the conversation about publishing’s future. It provides a single convenient forum to learn about and to discuss the proposed settlement in the Google Book Search lawsuit. Members of the public can inform themselves, share their perspectives, connect with each other, and make their voices heard. Key features of the Public Index include comprehensive document repository of legal documents from the lawsuit and an extensive collection of commentaries from around the world.
IILP Faculty: James Grimmelmann
Visit The Public Index online for more information.
TransportationCamp brings together policymakers, technologists, activists and those interested in the intersection of urban transportation, sustainability, and technology. Learn about how federal, state and local governments are making data freely available in reusable formats and about ways that decision makers, entrepreneurs, and designers are making use of that data to create tools that improve communities and empower citizens.
Visit TransportationCamp and suggest topics and activities.
Follow @TranspoCamp on Twitter.
The goal of the Virtual Company Project is to build online tools to help groups create and implement governance rules necessary for successful collaboration. The project is premised on the belief that the right graphical interfaces can translate the structures of the group into clear and intelligible procedures that will enable teams to make decisions, control assets and enter into contractual relationships with third parties. The Virtual Company project is creating the interfaces and designing the back-end functionality that is needed to enable group participants to see themselves in relation to the group as a whole, allocate roles, establish accountability to the group, make collective decisions, and administer group assets, expenditures and distributions.
The Virtual Company Project aims to create the legal, technical and business infrastructure necessary to enable formation and operation of companies, entirely online, and to facilitate the creation of companies (and valuable work product or services) by groups of individuals who want to share time and attention (in a collective effort) rather than investing capital.
For more information, visit the Virtual Company project online.
NEW YORK LAW SCHOOL´S VISUAL PERSUASION PROJECT LAUNCHES WEB SITE
New York, January 10, 2006 — In an era when most people receive news and entertainment from television and the Internet, lawyers are learning to adapt similar visual techniques for effective communication with judges, juries, and the public at large. New York Law School´s Visual Persuasion Project, founded and directed by Professor Richard K. Sherwin, explores the increasing role played by visual and multimedia tools in contemporary legal practice. Professor Sherwin and the Visual Persuasion Project have now announced the launch of the Visual Persuasion project´s web site.
This site is the first, and to date the only, to showcase “best practices” in the visual litigation services field. The site features a broad range of visual products, from 2-D and 3-D animations to accident reenactments, day-in-the-life documentaries, settlement brochures, montages, and other innovative visual products.