Boston University School of Law
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Markos Moulitsas (’99) speaks at BU’s “New Media” conference

On October 26, Boston University held a daylong conference on new media law and blogging to address issues surrounding the phenomenon that has revolutionized how people share information.  BU Law, BU College of Communications, WBUR-FM radio and Boston law firm Prince, Lobel, Glovsky & Tye sponsored this “New Media & the Marketplace of Ideas” conference.

The event’s keynote speaker was Markos Moulitsas (’99), founder of the Daily Kos, “perhaps the most influential progressive blog going,” according to BU journalism Professor Chris Daily’s own blog.  Moulitsas founded the blog in 2002 in response to what he saw as the mainstream media’s failure to adequately challenge President Bush’s conservative government. Today, “with over a million visitors a month, the Daily Kos has become the most widely read political blog in the country and has transformed grassroots activism in the Internet age,” according to a BU Today article about Moulitsas and the conference.

Moulitsas sees his blog as a venue for people who are not usually represented in mainstream media to voice their opinions and share information.  “As we’ve seen in the past couple of decades, the experts have no clue how to run the country…The amateurs are just as good if not better than the self-proclaimed experts. We’re tearing down this barrier between the people who claim to know the answer and the masses,” Moulitsas told BU Today.

As a trained lawyer, Moulitsas said he knows the importance of the law as it applies to his Web site: “Bloggers aren’t necessarily journalists, but legally, they’re as liable. They have to follow libel law and intellectual property laws.”

Other speakers at the conference included Gigi B. Sohn, president of Public Knowledge, a nonprofit group concerned with copyright laws as they apply to the Internet.  “For the past 35 years, the trend has been nearly unmitigated expansion of the scope and duration of copyright, resulting in a clear mismatch between the technology and the law. Over the past decade, copyright reformers like Public Knowledge have stopped the pendulum from swinging even farther away from digital reality,” said Sohn at the conference.

The conference was held in the College of Communications, with an approximately 150-people turnout for each of the day’s three panels.

>>View BU Today’s interview with Markos Moulitsas

Reported by Elizabeth Ress