About the Cyberlaw Clinic

Harvard Law School‘s Cyberlaw Clinic, based at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, provides high-quality, pro-bono legal services to appropriate clients on issues relating to the Internet, technology, and intellectual property. Students enhance their preparation for high-tech practice and earn course credit by working on real-world litigation, client counseling, advocacy, and transactional / licensing projects and cases. The Clinic strives to help clients achieve success in their activities online, mindful of (and in response to) existing law. The Clinic also works with clients to shape the law’s development through policy and advocacy efforts. The Cyberlaw Clinic was the first of its kind, and it continues its tradition of innovation in its areas of practice. The Clinic works independently, with law students supervised by experienced and licensed attorneys.  In some cases, the Clinic collaborates with counsel throughout the country to take advantage of regional or substantive legal expertise.

From the Blog

Introducing the Principled Artificial Intelligence Project

[caption id="attachment_4155" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Full visualization available at ai-hr.cyber.harvard.edu[/caption] Alongside the rapid development of artificial intelligence, we’ve seen a proliferation of AI “principles,” or guidelines for how AI should be built and used. Governments, companies, advocacy groups, and multi-stakeholder initiatives have all advanced perspectives. This project emerged from our curiosity about these principles. Were they wildly divergent, or was there enough commonality to suggest the emergence of sectoral norms? Some were framed as ethical in nature; others drew from human rights law. How did that impact their content? We wanted a way to look at the principles documents side by side, to assess them individually and identify important trends, so we built one. Our current dataset includes 32 such principles documents. We collected up to 80 data points about each one, including the actor behind the document, the date of publication, the intended audience, and the geographical scope, as well as detailed data on the principles themselves. A large variety of actors are represented, from individual tech companies’ guidelines for their own implementation of AI technology, to multi-stakeholder coalitions, to publications from national governments that incorporate ethical principles as part of an overall AI strategy. We expected to find some key themes, and indeed we uncovered eight: accountability, fairness and non-discrimination, human control of technology, privacy, professional responsibility, promotion of human values, safety and security, and transparency and explainability. Many of the documents address all of these themes; all hit at least a few. We also collected data on whether and how the principles documents referenced human rights, which just under half did. It is our hope that the Principled Artificial Intelligence project will be a starting point for further scholarship and advocacy on this topic. To that end, we have created a data visualization that summarizes our findings. We are excited to share this visualization in draft form and invite you to provide feedback and ask questions by filling out this form. This summer, we will publish the final data visualization along with the dataset itself and a white paper detailing our assumptions, methodology and key findings. If you would like to be notified when the white paper is published, sign up here. You can also visit ai-hr.cyber.harvard.edu to view publications related to the Principled Artificial Intelligence Project and the Berkman Klein Center’s previous project Artificial Intelligence and Human Rights: Opportunities & Risks. For more information, feel free to get in touch with Jessica Fjeld at jfjeld@law.harvard.edu.

A Guide to Fourth Estate v. Wall-Street.com

Section 411(a) of the Copyright Act states that “no civil action for [copyright] infringement…shall be instituted until preregistration or registration of the copyright claim has been made.”[1] In other words, copyright owners must “register” their copyrights before suing for copyright infringement. In Fourth Estate v. Wall-Street.com, decided in March 2019, the Supreme Court clarified that “registration” for the purposes of Section 411(a) occurs only when the Copyright Office registers a copyright and provides a certificate of registration and not when an applicant files for copyright registration.[2] Under this decision, copyright owners must wait for the Copyright Office to decide on their registrations before they are allowed to sue others for infringement. This decision could potentially create a substantial time lag during which copyright owners, especially those with limited budgets, are able to enforce their copyrights. This blog post summarizes the Fourth Estate case and its reasoning, the implications of the new rule, and some ways for copyright owners to respond, including how to register for copyright.


Digitizing News Archives Flowchart

The Cyberlaw Clinic has teamed up with WGBH to support the extraordinary Boston TV News Digital Library project.  The Clinic’s work with WGBH has focused on offering guidance to news media archivists on legal issues associated with archiving news content. To that end, the Clinic and WGBH are pleased to announce the release of the “Digitizing News Archives” flowchart, which provides a high-level overview of some key legal questions that may arise when one digitizes news content and makes it available online.  The chart offers a suggested order of operations and a process for considering and managing legal risks while striving to maximize the availability of historic footage and other media content online.