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Tech Law: Make It, Don't Break It

At SXSW 2012, Internet users cheered the defeat of SOPA and PIPA -- and the companies who helped cause their downfall. But technology remains on the agenda for state and federal lawmakers, and decisions made in DC and elsewhere can have a huge impact not only on your users' rights but on your ability to innovate and build your product.

Rather than waiting for a bad law to come around and then being forced to deal with it, what can you do to ensure that the laws that are passed protect you and your users?

This panel will look at cases where companies have worked to create better laws and policies, evaluate the reasons these efforts succeeded or failed, and examine the costs and benefits of taking part in policy discussions. We'll hear first-hand from companies who have put time and resources into fighting for better tech policy, as well as advocates and academics who will share their perspective. Because at the end of the day, it's better to make the law than break it.

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. What are the most effective ways for my company to push for better laws? What lessons can I draw from past successful and failed efforts to affect tech policy?
  2. What are the costs and benefits of spending time and energy on policy issues? Will I get more than warm fuzzies out of spending my time and resources here?
  3. Is it only tech giants who can make a meaningful difference in shaping policy? If not, what have smaller companies done that has made a difference?
  4. How can we work with other companies and organizations to maximize my impact?
  5. I've never even been to DC, let alone set up shop there -- does that mean I'm off the hook?



Chris Conley, Technology & Civil Liberties Policy Attorney, ACLU of Northern California

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