Archive for the 'harvard' Category

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U v. riaa: Motion to Quash Subpoena

Professor Nesson,
I am a freshman at the University of Alabama, and last week the
University forwarded “pre-lawsuit” letters from the RIAA to fourteen
students, and one of them happens to be my good friend. I have found
that the University of Alabama has the best interests of its students
at heart, but I think some lack of understanding about this issue was
shown on the University’s part when these letters were forwarded. I
read an op-ed you helped write in May of this year…), and I wish
that our administrators would take a similar view of this situation.
The RIAA is clearly afraid to go after Harvard, no doubt because it
knows it would face a hard fight (that they would probably lose) in
doing so. I’m afraid that our administration just wants to take the
easy way out. It’s like they think “Ok well the law says this, and we
don’t want our school to look like it is causing trouble, so here’s
this letter, sorry.” We’re only 18 years old, so the idea of this huge
and powerful association coming after us is intimidating to say the
least. Basically, I want to let the U of A know that our students need
more support. However, I can already see the email they would send back
to me. It would say that the University makes its students a priority
and everything is being done to handle this situation in the best way
possible. So I guess I just want some advice on what to do…if
anything at all.

Elena Roca

dear elena,
the pressure point in the RIAA’s assault on universities is the subpoena to the university for the names of students to fill in the blanks on their john and jane doe law suits. it is at that point that the university has an opportunity to resist in a court of law. without resistance by the university the students are lost. without resistance by the university the university itself signs on to be industry’s copyright police under a legal regime that all the world knows makes no sense in an internet age.

i’ve blogged it. the federal rules of civil procedure which would guide the motion to quash instructs the judge to allow the university to demonstrate that the enforcement of the subpoena imposes an undue burden on the university. enforcement of one subpoena means, of course, enforcement of all like subpoenas, so that the whole policy of the university is forced to conform, and if one university, then all university unless one resists. the question for the future is: do we prefer a world in which the dead hand of the past in the form of bloated copyright law wielded and preserved by riaa’s litigation campaign changes university for ever — or should we preserve the open trusting scholarly relationships and roles in college campus life by recognizing their loss as an undue burden the music industry is imposing by its strategy of enforcement of outmoded law.

see if you can interest the crimson white in picking up this correspondence. crimson white for alabama. crimson for harvard.



HLS To Go ‘All In’ Versus Yale

Published On Thursday, October 11, 2007 2:19 AM
Contributing Writer

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On the eve of Nov. 17, while much of the Harvard community is gearing up for “The Game” against Yale, a handful of law school students will be prepping to play a very different sort of game against the same rival.

That night, members of the Harvard Law School (HLS) chapter of the Global Poker Strategic Thinking Society (GPSTS) will challenge the society’s Yale chapter in a poker tournament.

Founded by Weld Professor of Law Charles R. Nesson ’60, GPSTS aims to “create an open online curriculum centered on poker that will draw the brightest minds together,” according to the group’s online statement. The GPSTS currently has chapters organized at Stanford, UCLA, and Brown, in addition to Harvard and Yale.

Nesson and third-year law student Andrew M. Woods, the interim president of the HLS chapter, said that the group hoped to change the reputation of poker from one of illegal gambling to that of a valuable educational tool.

“Poker teaches cognitive ability in a way we just don’t have in education now,” Woods said yesterday afternoon.

While the group is not allowed to gamble during meetings, they spent their first meeting on Tuesday night discussing some of the finer points of the card game.

“Anybody that somehow thinks interest in poker is a bad thing would be convinced just by seeing and listening to these kids talk,” said Nesson.

Woods said that the GPSTS would host several events open to the Harvard community over the semester. A panel discussion with poker champions Howard Lederer and Crandell Addington is expected to be held on Oct. 15. The group plans to hold a discussion on the dispute over online poker and a day-long conference on the educational value of poker in November.

The GPSTS also plans to launch a National Collegiate Poker Tournament in March.

“It will hope to capture the same spirit of the March Madness basketball tournament,” Woods said.

The debate over the legality of poker focuses on whether it is a game of chance or a game of skill.

To study the dispute, GPSTS organizers said they plan to use duplicate poker decks, setting a deck up in the same way at ten different tables. This means that players are not only competing among the others at their table but also with their counterparts with the same hands at other tables.

“It’s a good way of really demonstrating and determining who has the most skill in a game,” Woods said.

While a Harvard undergraduate chapter of GPSTS does not yet exist, two students—Brian M. Wan ’08 and Jason A. Caloras ’08—are in the process of creating one.

“What we’re going to be doing is trying to help legitimize poker,” said Wan.

hls poker strategic thinking society formed

we exist
now we move
As a quick update on the GPSTS Activities coming up:

Oct. 1 – HLS PSTS officially approved by student government as official Harvard Law organization. Initial launch with 62 members.

Oct. 15 – GPSTS, in association with the HLS PSTS and Professor Charles Nesson hosts Howard Lederer and Crandall Addington to discuss life lessons taught by poker in a session called Poker: A Game of Truth in Life and Law at Harvard Law School. First of discussion series of poker talks.

Oct. 16 – Harvard Law School hosts Steven Donziger, Simon Lester, and Jonathon Cohen to discuss asymmetrical litigation and the effect of communication on the relationship between legal process and public opinion, primarily focusing on the current dispute between the WTO and the United States surrounding the American stance on internet gambling.

Nov. 10 – GPSTS hosts “Educational Utility of Poker”, an academic conference at Harvard Law school focused on investigating the utility of poker as a tool for engaging students and continuing education. Jim McManus and Mike Sexton are confirmed keynotes. McManus will present his new book “The History of Poker”, analyzing past American luminaries, from senators to presidents to generals, for whom poker has been a significant aspect of their education. Sexton will discuss the explosion of the popularity of poker, the lessons that poker teaches, and the manner in which the intense popularity of poker makes it possible to reach students. The conference will be open, and anyone interested in the study of poker and in investigating the utility of poker is encouraged to attend. *I would be happy to have input on an attractive theme/name for the conference*

Nov. 16 – Introduction of GPSTS match play. Inaugural Harvard-Yale poker match, featuring team poker play the night before the Harvard-Yale football game. *potential Michigan-Ohio State inaugural match (unconfirmed)*

Nov. 30 – Inaugural UCLA-USC poker match, featuring team poker play the night before the UCLA-USC football game. *potential Cal-Stanford inaugural match (unconfirmed)*

February 1 – Poker as education workshop at Smith Leadership Academy in Dorchester, MA. Introductory workshop at SLA, a charter school aimed at underprivileged kids in MA to be followed by 6-8 hour-long poker sessions, introducing various elements of poker.

Regarding local chapters: we have been in contact with, and are developing, chapters at various universities (Harvard, Penn State, UCLA, USC, Stanford, Brown, Tufts, and Boston University are farthest along).

learning games

On 8/31/07, Short, Tim Timothy.Short wrote:

Dear Charles (et al),
Thanks for the e-mail. I’ve attached the paper we’ve written for info; it’s the pre-publication version – awaiting a space in the journal. We’re currently working on “Part 2”, which has real-world examples of the approach, including Prof Appleton’s own company’s work. Just to note that the analogy we use isn’t solely limited to poker, it’s card games in general – although poker is perhaps the richest sources of learning.
Best regards,

From: Charles Nesson []
Sent: 27 August 2007 14:08
To: Short, Tim
Cc: prof; Andrew M. Woods
Subject: Re: Poker and engineering design

yes tim your approach is decidedly of interest. elaboration of the lessons thinking poker teaches against case studies of companies that have learned them will be key to legitimating global poker thinking.

i am cc’ing prof harry tan with whom i am talking about assembling a business conference on poker strategy in singapore and andrew woods gpsts director

On 8/24/07, Short, Tim wrote:

Dear Profesor Nesson,
I recently came across an article in the Financial Times which states that you are pushing the teaching of poker in order to “teach respect, business acumen and even war strategy”. I thought you might be interested in the approach that a former colleague (Professor Ernie Appleton) and I have developed, regarding the teaching of engineering design, based on an analogy with card games and poker in particular. We’ve recently written a paper on the analogy – available via… .
I note in particular the FT comment that “some of these instincts for survival hardly encouraged notions of mutual trust”; on the other hand, we have drawn the analogy that Toyota’s approach to design effectively puts them in a poker game as 4 different players, each of whom know the other’s hand and is able to share cards to try to make up the best hand to beat the competition …
Anyway, please feel free to come back to me if this approach is of any interest and the best of luck for your “global poker strategic thinking societies”.
Yours sincerely,

Dr Tim Short
Senior Lecturer in Engineering Design
Department of Engineering
University of Liverpool
Ch.205A, Chadwick Building,
Peach Street,
Liverpool L69 7ZF
Tel. 0151 794 4821

when appropriate (in my judgment) to an open project and not sensitive (in my judgment) in terms of privacy, i may post email to my blog. all privacy requests respected.

recommendation for Ken Stalter

To Whom IT may Concern:

Ken Stalter is a remarkable man, truly individual, truly pursuing his own sense of the good. He has distinguished himself in his work with me and has completely won my respect.

Ken is passionate about ideas. He loves to think about the meanings behind
everyday actions. He thinks about ways one ought to live, how to use intellect to live life. He loves law, and has been finding his passion realized in the work and social environment of law school. He is a learner, open to new ways of thinking. He finds excitement in translating new idea into real change.

Here is part of Ken’s post-mortem on my Winter Evidence Class, 2007. I had divided classtime into two segments, an initial two-week segment intense study of the rules of evidence that was examined and graded, and a following one-week segment in cyber advocacy that was pass/fail, and in which I introduced my students to virtual reality.

Hi, Professor Nesson. What follows are a few of the thoughts that have
been inspired in me over the past few weeks.

I’d like to start out by saying that for me, the bifurcated approach
struck precisely the right balance. I’m not sure it would work well in
a fall/spring semester length course, but I it felt really good for a
three week term. I like grades in general and like the
competitiveness, so I felt like that need was fulfilled by the first
two weeks of class. Then I got to enjoy a dessert of sorts in the
Second Life trial experience. It felt like a space to be a little more
bold and creative.

I had been on Second Life only briefly before this class. After
reading about it in the news in October, I got an account and logged on
for about 20 minutes. I didn’t touch it again until this January.
After I found out we would be using it for the class, I decided to get
more acquainted with it. I traveled to the Berkman area and started
exploring. [This refers to Berkman Island in Second Life where the
Berkman Center has created a virtual Austin Hall and surrounding campus.]
One thing led to another and since then, I’ve spent many
hours in the game learning its mechanics, meeting people, developing my
avatar and building objects.

The reason I became so excited about Second Life and the mock trial was
the fact that it was the tearing down of a division that is usually
pretty rigid in my life. Law is my career and my educational endeavor,
playing video games is one of my pastimes, one which I typically use as
an escape from other parts of my life. Yet suddenly this division
melted away and I found the opportunity to use a video game to engage
with the law. Thus the experience was one that combined two of my
interests and was completely novel. I really enjoyed it.

I would really like to see this idea go further and I’m putting out
feelers in the Second Life world to see what the potential for in-world
dispute resolution is. This is something I’m going to continue playing
with even now that the class has come to an end.

Yet I also agree with you, Professor, when you say that the Second Life
mock trial is–ultimately–trivial. Before the class began and in the
early meetings, I was skeptical of your approach. I was concerned that
you would be someone who was inordinately excited about new media as
educational tools and had perhaps lost your grounding. It turns out
that that was not the case. I came away with the impression that while
you appreciate the novelty and the potential of these devices, your
primary concern, or one of your primary concerns, is helping us to
develop as good lawyers and as good people. And that is, in the end,
what matters.

In many ways, the class felt more similar to classes I took in pursuit
of my undergraduate degree in theater than it did to other law school
classes. Many courses here are reflective in the sense that they
engage how we position our agendas with respect to a legal doctrine.
They ask, should we oppose/promote this? How should we do so? And so
on. This evidence course seemed take that reflective quality to
another level and seemed to ask, what is the role of our emotions in
how we position ourselves? What is the role of identity? What is the
relationship between our internal struggles and our external ones? That
was very refreshing.

For example, the other day, somewhat in the middle of the discussion of
Odysseus’ killing of the suitors, you called our attention to the idea
of recursive loops. For whatever reason, the discussion turned away
from it, but I made a connection that I’ve been thinking a lot about
since. I realized that hatred is a recursive loop. If you hate
someone who’s hurt you, your pain increases because the feeling of
hatred is an unpleasant one. Then the rage flares up even more in
response to the increased pain, fueling further hatred. It feeds upon
itself. This is a fresh idea to me and I imagine I’ll continue
thinking about it for some time. I’m not sure I can yet speak to it’s
full importance.


The more I read about Second Life, the more I appreciate the variety of
uses people are putting the game to and the way the experiences they
have in Second Life can influence their first lives. I’ve read about
the experiences of white users playing as black avatars, protests
against French nationalist movements, doctors using Second Life to
recreate the experience of living with schizophrenia and much more.
I’m beginning to suspect we may need to back off from our evaluation of
what we did there as trivial. It might be a seed planted that will
grow into a forest. Who knows what the potential of online law will be
as we dig deeper into this thing called the twenty-first century?

Again the Second Life experience can be best described in Hamlet’s
words. Like the players Hamlet uses to route his usurping uncle,
playing Second Life is “to hold, as it twere, the mirror up to nature.”

Ken Stalter

Ken followed up by taking my spring class, CyberOne: Law in the Court of Public Opinion, and help organize and execute a mock trial of a real dispute in Second Life:

I warmly recommend Ken Stalter.

veritas – gpsts

“To avoid destruction, the United States need only measure up to its own best traditions and prove itself worthy of preservation as a great nation.” george kennan

lovely thought
but a huge problem

the ideal of our nation is a government under law, not under men
yet now ingrained deep in our government is an attitude that deploys law as a weapon rather than follows law as an ideal

this ingrained ends justifies means attitude to the weilding of prosecutorial power corrupts the ideal of law.

imagine the universe of people divided among three groups in relation to law.
one group consists of those who obey rules because that’s what they have been taught to do. think of this group as a flock that asks and perhaps needs to be taken care of. another group consists of individuals who see rules for what they are and rises above them or sneaks below them when there is need. this second group subdivides between those who constrain them selves by belief in and expression of law as an ideal expressed in ethical behavior, make this group two, and those who abuse the credibility of law by abuse of power, group three.

my goal is to lead group two in its tension with group three to become self aware and combine its rhetorical force to express enlightening truth.

i teach law at harvard law school. i teach about truth and evidence of truth sufficient to persuade. i’ve been teaching Evidence at hls for enough years to have an army of students who might welcome from their old teacher and help propagate a new approach to truth and persuasion

truth, not just logical but emotional and physical. i believe there is truth in our hearts which we can seek to know in our minds and express in our actions. i am a student of truth. each of us has our own. i am we are students expressing truth. i am teacher. we are teachers. i want my students to find truth in themselves and express it.

truth for our future lies in a balance of power which has seen for profit legal corporations influence law in their self interest to the point of crushing public information space with law. but now a new form of organization is capable of thriving, made possible by the internet’s enabling people to connect. as legal architects we are able to conceive and propagate new forms of legal organization

my path to teaching my conception of truth leads to and through teaching poker as skill in seeing and understanding from another’s point of view. i teach this as a fundamental skill not just for lawyers but for anyone who is eager to learn how the rhetorical world works and connect it to the physical. i teach the teaching of it as exemplar and research.

there is corruption of law in relation to poker. our government seeks to kill online poker as collateral damage to its gambling hypocrisy, passing a midnight bill that never saw committee as part of a terrorism act, prosecuting the founding companies and individuals who made online poker possible, and thumbing its nose at little Antigua and no doubt soon to give the finger to the WTO which has ruled in Antigua’s favor against our govt.

this is exemplary of the corruption of law i would like to see our government foreswear.

i want to array the intelligent forces of the poker playing poker thinking world against it.

the united states government v. the intelligent forces of the poker playing poker thinking world

–announcing a trial on the issue of the legitimacy of teaching games of skill and of learning how to create environments in which to learn and play–

–announcing a poker strategic thinking workshop in singapore–

Online Poker – Internet Freedom – Open Education

Organized by the newly forming Global Poker Strategic Thinking
Society, this workshop combines open philosophy, internet strategy,
instructional entertainment, and vision of a line of development for
integrated real and virtual education fueled by human interest in
mastering games of skill, poker in the lead. We will begin by
distributing in advance of our workshop a paper on education in
virtual worlds. We will aim our trajectory going forward as projection
of a new way of thinking embodied in the learning and understanding of
a game. We will demonstrate the teaching of the game to beginners. We
will talk about why it is a good idea to teach poker to kids. We will
demonstrate transition to an integrated real and virtual internet
environment. We will introduce team play. We will examine
critical issues relating to poker and other games of skill in
education and beyond. What are the key strategic thinking points of
departure? How far should we go in promoting poker in the field of
education? Should poker be taught to children on the $100 laptop?
Can poker and poker strategic thinking serve as a departure point for
openness on the Internet, global education, and beyond. We do not
expect any previous knowledge of poker. We invite participation by those with
curiosity to learn.

nice moment

email to howard and annie
howard, can you help me put together production of a teaching video of one card war, teaching kids to play poker, candy for chips, shot in a studio so that we can do the full thing of seeing each kid’s card. i bet we can watch them getting the idea. annie please join in the fun.

we move from one card war up to holdem so that beginner can follow the process of flop turn and river, then move online to one penny two penny tables, caution right from the moment of beginning that responsibility managing your money is what this game is all about. learn to price your hand and to understand its value in the ever shifting marketplace of the poker table.

icommons node is our point of publication creative commons
offer going out to all kids and everyone else
join in affirmative action
form a node of our poker strategic thinking society
sign up for our inaugural tournament
come, learn and play with us

we will teach
your child will learn
you will learn
how to be responsible with money
how to think with numbers
how to interact with people
how to judge for yourself what is true

my audio journal this morning, thinking about teaching poker as timely affirmative action now that government affirmative action seems to be flickering out.


Forwarded Conversation
Subject: workshop

From: Charles Nesson
To: John Coates
Date: Mon, Jun 11, 2007 at 3:10 PM

John, sorry i had to leave your workshop early today. thank you for your paper. the issue you raise goes to the heart of what and how we teach. i feel that parsing rules and reasons behind in order to interpret to serve their purpose is the most basic rhetorical skill we teach.

From: John Coates
To: Charles Nesson
Date: Mon, Jun 11, 2007 at 3:13 PM

Thanks — agreed. The paper is proving to be a bit of Rorschach test for readers — not surprisingly, what different people think “doctrine” is and how it functions strongly affects their view of what doctrinal scholarship is, but more surprisingly, people have very different views on what doctrine is.

Here’s einer’s first post:

Here’s tribe’s reply:…

Here’s balkin’s reply:…

Forwarded Conversation
Subject: workshop

From: Charles Nesson
To: John Coates
Date: Mon, Jun 11, 2007 at 3:10 PM

John, sorry i had to leave your workshop early today. thank you for your paper. the issue you raise goes to the heart of what and how we teach. i feel that parsing rules and reasons behind in order to interpret to serve their purpose is the most basic rhetorical skill we teach.

From: John Coates
To: Charles Nesson
Date: Mon, Jun 11, 2007 at 3:13 PM

Thanks — agreed. The paper is proving to be a bit of Rorschach test for readers — not surprisingly, what different people think “doctrine” is and how it functions strongly affects their view of what doctrinal scholarship is, but more surprisingly, people have very different views on what doctrine is.

Here’s einer’s first post:

Here’s tribe’s reply:…

Here’s balkin’s reply:…

Forwarded Conversation
Subject: workshop

From: Charles Nesson
To: John Coates
Date: Mon, Jun 11, 2007 at 3:10 PM

John, sorry i had to leave your workshop early today. thank you for your paper. the issue you raise goes to the heart of what and how we teach. i feel that parsing rules and reasons behind in order to interpret to serve their purpose is the most basic rhetorical skill we teach.

From: John Coates
To: Charles Nesson
Date: Mon, Jun 11, 2007 at 3:13 PM

Thanks — agreed. The paper is proving to be a bit of Rorschach test for readers — not surprisingly, what different people think “doctrine” is and how it functions strongly affects their view of what doctrinal scholarship is, but more surprisingly, people have very different views on what doctrine is.

Here’s einer’s first post:

Here’s tribe’s reply:…

Here’s balkin’s reply:…

einer says: Now by doctrinalism I do not mean any scholarship that considers doctrine or takes it seriously. I rather mean the sort of scholarship that simply describes doctrine or that assesses doctrine based solely on formalistic grounds having to do with the logic of it internal structure. It would not, in my book, be doctrinalism to analyze the functional theories that could explain some doctrine or lead to reform of it, or to measure the consequences of doctrine. Heck, that is what I do, and I am not about to declare myself obsolete.

balkin beautiful in response.

bok extended – i want to teach poker strategic thinking- open access all ages all nations

to nesson

show details
11:15 pm (12 hours ago)
Did you hear what Bok had to say about Harvard yesterday?

Basically he was asking the same questions you are trying to answer:…

To begin with, we need to be asking ourselves just whom we should be educating.
Universities have long concentrated on teaching young people between the ages of 18 and 25. But quietly over the last quarter-century, two great changes have occurred. Professionals everywhere have come to recognize the need for lifelong learning, so much so that at Harvard today, between 60- and 70,000 nontraditional students come each year, for a week, a month, a year of further education. In addition, technology now makes it possible for universities to educate people anywhere in the world. Thanks to the Internet, Michael Porter of our faculty can offer his course on corporate strategy in business schools in 70 countries of the world, ranging from Finland to Ghana.


go with derek on life long learning to all the nations of the world
okay i want to start with poker for all people who play it and discussion of the prohibition on poker for all who might like to play but feel enjoined by religion or government not to.

suppose we divide the world we wish to speak with into these two sets
the playing world seems easy to me
excitement and interest is there and vast room for extending intellectual stimulation
the enjoined world is harder
could we engage in an engaging civil discourse on the question whether poker is a game of skill; could we get serious and respected muslim scholars to sit in discourse with me

accept muhummed as doctrine. let us engage.

They ask you about intoxicants and games of chance. Say: In both of them there is a great sin and means of profit for men, and their sin is greater than their profit.

some muslim scholars favor chess but only if it is not played for money
chess is a game that can be played not for money and is surely a game of skill

as a game of skill it avoids the injunction of the heiffer, 2:219. whence then comes the injunction against playing for money, or may we understand this as a line drawn to allow chess to be played with least intrusion on the sensibility of those who abhor gambling. this line extends the realm of freedom for people who love chess played not for money and have the leisure to play. this leaves out chess players with the skill to win but not the means to play. why is this a result muhummad would have wanted?

in second life we can imagine muhummad here today, or can we, are we prohibited from doing so by an injunction that will not let us even in our imagination go inside his mind to try to see and think and feel like him. let his symbol be the necker cube. let his truth be deep and infinite. let me ask the scholars round the table if they would join with me in search of it through the game of poker played not for money.

up speaks a scholar who wants to pursue the truth of the necker cube with me by playing poker not for money but for the element of chance in poker

chess is different from poker. in chess there is no element of chance and hence chess is unquestionably a game of skill. poker is a game of chance, albeit one in which skill may predominate over chance, but nonetheless a game of chance. let us search for truth of the necker cube with you by playing chess instead of poker.

how should i respond to him that might persuade? can i teach the truth of the necker cube with chess? can i teach it with poker not played for money?

where does the money injunction come from?

so im thinking i want to say in dubrovnic, help me teach a poker strategic thinking course. include in it a clinical component for law and government students of representing internet poker against criminal indictment and poker playing against religious and moral censure. help me construct and project this course on the frame of internet poker with cooperation if we can get it from every internet poker company on the net. help me build a research program that asks relevant questions and seeks answers to the from data and knowledgeable people. help me establish a fred friendly seminar program, a series of talks and lectures, a multiplicity of engaging forms in which to explore strategic poker thinking. help me project the idea and its execution through all media, all languages, open access.

here’s one of the most beautiful things i’ve ever seen


hello mary weld – congratulations

fern just called to tell me what i missed by being on my back convelescing
missing your graduation with family proud around
i am proud of you as well
part of your family

congratulations to you and to susu and bill
you are my model of elena’s words