CyberSpaceCamp®* Program Reports

The First International

CyberSpaceCamp® Program for Judges

An ITechLaw and Karnataka Judicial Academy initiative to Introduce Technology Law to Indian Judges, Police Officers and Prosecutors

"Light comes from anywhere" – Chief Justice Cyriac Joseph, Karnataka High Court

Bangalore, India – February 10, 2007. International Technology Law Association (ITechLaw) and Karnataka Judicial Academy, with generous support from the National Law School of India University, J. Sagar Associates and Fenwick & West LLP, conducted the first international CyberSpaceCamp® program for judges, cyber crime police officers, prosecutors and others in the forefront of enforcement and adjudication of law in India. The event, inaugurated by the Mr. Justice Cyriac Joseph, the Honourable Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court, was attended by over 100 participants and had an international faculty from San Francisco, Philadelphia, Boston, Dublin, Delhi and Bangalore. The Co-Chairs of the CyberSpaceCamp® program carefully chose each member of the faculty based on their interest and experience in legal education as well as their achievements in private practice. The lectures introduced the Indian participants to developments in global tech law as a harbinger of times and cases that will find their way to Indian courts.

Welcome Address by Sajai Singh: Opening Remarks

"The way India lives is continually changing as it continues to reap the benefits of rapidly improving technology, outsourcing and an increasing global economy. Though like technology, law also touches virtually every aspect of Indian life, it has often lagged behind technology. While technology has made television possible to the over one billion Indians, it is law that increasingly determines such things as the technical specifications of a broadcast license, the privacy rights of ’newsworthy’ individuals and the necessary compensation for creators of television content.

Sometimes, technology influences the practice of law, sometimes, it is often the other way around. Also, in today’s complex society, the judiciary, enforcement officers and technologists need to cooperate in addressing many important questions. Did the axle break, causing the car to hit the tree, or did the axle break because the car hit a tree?

This CyberSpaceCamp® program discusses many technology and law related issues. These issues range from those that are fairly basic to those which are complex. Some topics will be new to you and others will fall within familiar bounds of legal analysis. Our purpose is to introduce you to this important body of law.

Problems involving both technology and law are common and growing in number and complexity. It may come as a surprise, but most of these are handled in India by people trained only in technology. Imagine, for example, two engineers negotiating a construction contract. Having agreed on specifications, dates and price, they will probably use a contract form drafted much earlier by an attorney neither of them even knows. Later, if one disputes whether the other is meeting its responsibilities, the grievance could be resolved by an engineer-arbitrator who, after a ’trial’, would determine the legal rights and responsibilities of the parties and possibly award money or compel action. Only if the losing party refuses to comply with the arbitrator's decision, would lawyers be needed. Thus, in India, people without law degrees do the type of work often done by lawyers globally.

The rapid advances in science, higher education and medicine that India made since independence, and especially the advances in computer technology propelled by the Indian Institute of Science, have revolutionized the way our society functions. It is widely recognized that India is making a transition from the industrial manufacturing age to an information age. In contrast, our Constitution and most of our statutes were written when people lived in an agrarian economy. Law has been slow to adapt to the choices posed by technology. Law that made sense in 1860, or even in 1947, can be inappropriate for today’s problems and opportunities. While Bangalore is enthusiastic about new ideas and change, adopting each one with a fervent gusto, it is important to recognize that Indian law is slow to change. One of the basic principles of jurisprudence is stare decisis: the old decision stands as a precedent for the present and future. Such a principle gives society stable law, so that attorneys can predict the outcome of a case and advise their client. Therefore, judges are reluctant to make new law.

Only within the past few years has encouraging technological innovation come to be regarded by both the judiciary and legislature in various countries, including the US, as important in preserving the standard of living of the people. With technology and innovation comes the protection of Intellectual Property Rights. This is a global issue.

The practice of high-technology law is propelled by venture capital investment, regulatory agencies and M&A activity. Another driver in the profession’s growth is the growing complexity of technology and interpretation of existing laws in relation thereto. The growing importance of technology law is globally spurring membership in various tech-law associations, like ITechLaw, an international association of technology lawyers, and acts as a forum for them to meet, share, learn and network. That is what we are here to do today --- share expertise and so we begin this CyberSpaceCamp® program. Thank you."

Inaugural Ceremony by Mr. Justice Cyriac Joseph, the Honorable Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court

The Chief Justice of the High Court of Karnataka, in his inaugural speech at the CyberSpaceCamp® program, recognized that Indian law has reacted slowly to new technology. With the exception of the telephone and typewriter, the technological revolution of the past century has left the law untouched. Law has dealt at arm’s length with technology, making new rules to cover air travel, genetic engineering, and the like, while the lawyers who do the work carry on with paper and pencil – until the advent of the computer.

Mr. Justice Joseph told the audience, which included 30 of his High Court judges, that becoming familiar with technology law issues – especially global issues --- was vital to the continued evolution of Indian law. He said that learning about this area was something with which he, himself, was interested and that "light comes from anywhere" -- gratefully acknowledging the contribution of ITechLaw by sharing its expertise and demonstrated commitment to legal education.

*  “CYBERSPACECAMP” is a registered trademark of International Technology Law Association.

 

 

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