About the Cyberlaw Clinic

Harvard Law School‘s Cyberlaw Clinic, based at Harvard’s Berkman 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.

Upcoming Events

Tow Responsive Cities Initiative Panel w/Susan Crawford

towcenter-event-logoTHE RESPONSIVE CITY INITIATIVE: A PANEL DISCUSSION WITH SUSAN CRAWFORD | Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Brown Institute for Media Innovation, Columbia University | April 28, 2015 | Join incoming HLS Clinical Professor and Berkman Center Faculty Director Susan Crawford for a panel discussion that will address the topic of how a university center might advance policy making and planning for fiber optic networks that would improve local governance and support civic journalism.  Susan will be joined by a panel that includes Lev Gonick (Chief Executive, OneCommunity); Brett Goldstein (Fellow in Urban Science, University of Chicago and Board Member of Code for America); Elin Katz (Consumer Council, State of Connecticut), Jim Baller (President, Baller Herbst Law Group, Co-Founder and President at Coalition for Local Internet Choice); and Oliver Wise (Director, Office of Performance and Accountability, City of New Orleans).  RSVP via Eventbrite.

Point to Point Camp

PTPCampPOINT TO POINT CAMP | MIT Media Lab, MIT Center for Civic Media | May 2, 2015 | Clinical Fellow Andy Sellars and others at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, along with the ACLU of Massachusetts, MuckRock, and the MIT Center for Civic Media, have teamed up to put on the Point to Point Camp event, happening May 2, 2015 at the MIT Media Lab. The event seeks to bring together people from the fields of technology, journalism, and law to share thoughts and resources on how to address problems around privacy, transparency, and democracy. The day will feature skillshares, project pitches, debates, and other forms of engagement designed to motivate and inspire attendees who work on these issues. Space is limited; visit the PTP Camp website for more details and to register for the event.

University of Geneva Internet L@w Summer School (2015)

2015_internet_lawUNIVERSITY OF GENEVA INTERNET L@W SUMMER SCHOOL | University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland | June 15, 2015 – June 26, 2015 | Cyberlaw Clinic Managing Director Chris Bavitz will join a number of internationally-renowned experts on law and technology for the second consecutive year of the University of Geneva’s Internet L@w Summer School, in Geneva Switzerland, June 15, 2015 – June 26, 2015. Course Academic Director, Professor Jacques de Werra of University of Geneva will again lead a fantastic program that includes discussions of intellectual property, surveillance, competition law, and Internet jurisdiction (among many other topics).  Chris will run sessions focused on practical aspects of cyberlaw and strategic considerations that arise when litigating Internet disputes and a session dedicated to the sale and licensing of content online.  The program includes a number of people from within the Berkman Center orbit, including Berkman Faculty Director Terry Fisher (talking about “IP and the Future of Entertainment”); Berkman Fellows Neal Cohen, Primavera De Filipi, Camille François, and Kate Darling (directing a session on X); and Professor de Werra himself (who was in residence at Berkman during the 2012-13 academic year).

From the Blog

Clinic Files Amicus Brief in Mass SJC on Location Privacy

coverThe Cyberlaw Clinic filed an amicus brief (PDF) this week in the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts (ACLUM) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in Commonwealth v. Estabrook, SJC–11833. The case concerns location privacy and cell phone technology — specifically, whether law enforcement can gather a large amount of cell phone location information if it only plans to use a small fraction of that information in a prosecution. This is the third brief the Clinic has filed on location privacy issues in Massachusetts, including briefs for EFF in Commonwealth v. Augustine and Commonwealth v. Rousseau in 2013.

Clinic Files Amicus Brief on Free Speech Issue in Massachusetts

lucas briefOn Tuesday, the Cyberlaw Clinic filed an amicus brief (PDF) in the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts on behalf of the New England First Amendment Coalition, Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC (owners of the Boston Globe), Hearst Television, Inc. (owners of WCVB-TV Channel 5 in Boston), the Massachusetts Newspaper Publishers Association, the New England Newspaper and Press Association, Inc., and the New England Society of Newspaper Editors in Commonwealth v. Lucas, SJC-11830. The case was brought under the Massachusetts false campaign speech law, M.G.L. ch. 56 § 42 (“Section 42″). The defendant in the case, a treasurer with a political action committee that sent a mailer in the 2014 state election, challenged the constitutionality of the statute under the First Amendment and Article 16 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights.


Seaton v. TripAdvisor

SEATON v. TRIPADVISOR  |  Docket No. 12-6122  |  6th Cir. February 27, 2013 |  The Cyberlaw Clinic filed this amicus curiae brief (pdf) on behalf of the Digital Media Law Project, asking the Sixth Circuit to make clear that website operators that aggregate citizen reports and rely on that data to draw conclusions cannot be liable for defamation based on those conclusions. The case concerns TripAdvisor’s 2011 “Dirtiest Hotels in America” list, which was based on travelers’ ratings for cleanliness on TripAdvisor. The proprietor of the hotel identified as the dirtiest in America sued TripAdvisor for defamation and false light, and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee granted TripAdvisor’s motion to dismiss the claim. In support of TripAdvisor on appeal, the DMLP argued that opinions based on disclosed facts are not defamation under Tennessee law and that protecting such opinions is consistent with the goals of the First Amendment. By disclosing the reviews on which it relied, TripAdvisor enabled its readers to independently assess the rankings, subjecting its conclusions to the marketplace of ideas rather than the courts.