Tonight I went to a meet-up of Bay Area Blawgers (a blawger is a law blogger). Why did I go to this, when I normally don’t do blogger meet-up kinda stuff and don’t know much about law? Well, the get together was just a little down the road at Santa Clara University. And the shindig was coordinated by Eric Goldman. I’ve mentioned before that I enjoy reading Eric’s blog for coverage of web legal issues.
I came in just before things started and happened to luck into sitting by several neat people. On my right was Mike Masnick of Techdirt fame. If you don’t browse Techdirt from time to time — dude, you need to read fewer SEO blogs and broaden your horizons. Mike and the writers at Techdirt provide an independent take on news items. Mike’s got a long memory (like Danny Sullivan, but with general news), so he does a good job of putting news items into perspective. In my experience, Techdirt does a deeper level of analysis than most sites, so when Techdirt rakes Google over the coals for something, I tend to give that critique more weight.
To Mike’s right was Kurt Opsahl of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. My advance planning for the meet-up consisted of wearing my EFF T-shirt, so all that hard planning paid off. Kurt polled the group on interesting questions about the DMCA (“How many of you have gotten a DMCA takedown notice?”). Afterwards, he talked about the info on this page where you can register as an online service provider with the U.S. Copyright. It’s a one-page form and an $80 fee. We also talked briefly about Google’s decision to anonymize our logs data after 18-24 months. I still hope to circle back around to that topic at some point (I’m a fan of the decision).
On my left was Colin Samuels. Colin is the general counsel for Accela, which makes government software. Colin told a good story about how he learned the ropes of white-hat SEO and built his reputation up enough to be the #1 Colin Samuels in the world, handily beating a Colin Samuels who skis.
– I didn’t realize that Sun’s general counsel is a blogger.
– We discussed whether it was better for a law blogger to mention legal cases that could be negative for a firm (it definitely bolsters your credibility as a blogger). We also talked about the pros and cons of anonymous blogging, and a little bit about online bullying.
– Chris Hoofnagle was there. I hadn’t seen Chris since the Computers, Freedom & Privacy Conference in Berkeley in 2004. Which reminds me: I want to hit some non-SEO conferences this year. Maybe Defcon or SIGGRAPH.
– One of the more entertaining people there, Kevin Underhill, runs a legal humor blog. That’s right, the law can be funny:
In a long-awaited and dramatic decision, the Supreme Court held today, unanimously, that in the context of the Guam Organic Act’s debt-limitation provision, 48 U.S.C. section 1423a, Guam’s debt limitation must be calculated according to the assessed valuation of property in Guam.
Like we didn’t all see that coming. In your face, Supreme Court of Guam!
I think a good time was had by all. Thanks for pulling so many blawgers together, Eric.