Registration: Mar. 27 Webinar "Trade Negotiation Processes and Public Freeze Out as a Form of Corruption"

Date and Time: March 27, 2017; 10:00-11:00 AM, US Eastern Time

Onsite Venue: School of Public Affairs and Administration, Rutgers University - Newark, Room 309, 111 Washington St., Newark, NJ 07102

Speaker: David S. Levine, Associate Professor, Elon University School of Law

Presentation title: Trade Negotiation Processes and Public Freeze Out as a Form of Corruption


Short Bio: David S. Levine is an Associate Professor of Law at Elon University School of Law and an Affiliate Scholar at the Center for Internet and Society (CIS) at Stanford Law School. For 2014-2016, Dave is a Visiting Fellow at Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy. He founded and hosts Hearsay Culture, a technology and society radio show on KZSU-FM (Stanford) that was listed In the American Bar Association's Blawg 100 of 2008 as a top-five podcast. His scholarship focuses on the operation of intellectual property law at the intersection of technology and public life, specifically information flows in the lawmaking and regulatory process and intellectual property law’s impact on public and private secrecy, transparency and accountability. 

Presentation Abstract: This presentation will answer a core question: What do we mean when we ask for a governmental entity to be “transparent?” Governmental entities that are labeled with the amorphous descriptor “transparent” are subject to varying interpretations of what is actually being described. At a base colloquial level, it would seem that to be “transparent” one would need to be able to see not just in, but out. This state is the polar opposite of the proverbial “black box,” brought to modern fore in recent work by Frank Pasquale. Nonetheless, “transparency” is regularly used to denote a wide variety of institutional states that may or may not have anything to do with what is actually known or not known about an institution.

To get to one definition of transparency, Professor Levine addresses a more narrow policy analogue to that broad query: “When is it time to publicize (to make ‘transparent’) some or all of a draft international intellectual property law negotiating text (akin to a Congressional bill) so as to allow public input into the lawmaking process?” Because the 12 negotiating countries of the international Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) – the most important international law negotiation in living memory –apparently said “only when negotiations have ended,” despite years of negotiation and some leaks, Professor Levine assesses the parameters of that answer from which to draw broader lessons.

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