November 13, 2006
When Should a Law Conference be YouTubed?Gene Koo asks in comments to my earlier posting whether law conference hosts are generally game to YouTubing a conference. The answer, of course, is that it depends. I don't think conference hosts would want an audience member to film without permission and then post publicly. A law conference is not a campaign event by Senator George Allen. Why not? Some conferences are not public. More importantly, speakers often assume that they are speaking to a limited audience--those there that day. The contemporaneous audience feedback will help the speaker understand how her remarks are being interpreted and received by the audience. But doesn't YouTubing even those conferences help discipline those who would say different things to different audiences? Doesn't it make people more honest? In fact, I think it might make people less honest. Speakers might be less willing to make controversial statements knowing that those who disagree or who are the objects of their critique might be listening in. In academia, especially, one needs the freedom to moot arguments before an audience freely, without the constraints on what is popularly acceptable. I, of course, favor YouTubing as much as possible. But I would hope that, for law conferences, it would be done only with the permission of the speakers. Not all law professors are ready to share with the world at large in the manner of LonelyGirl15. Anupam Chander
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