Volume 11, Issue 2, September 2014
Cite as: A Guadamuz, “GIKII Conference Report”, (2014) 11:2 SCRIPTed 193 http://script-ed.org/?p=1545
© Andres Guadamuz 2014. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Please click on the link to read the terms and conditions.
On September 1-2 2014, the University of Sussex hosted Gikii, a conference exploring the interface between law and popular culture, more specifically every aspect of “geek culture”: robots, drones, 3D-printing, teleportation, manga, fan fiction, tattoos, and even cross-word puzzles. Previous conferences dealing with these topics have been held in Oxford, Amsterdam, UCL, Edinburgh, Gothenburg, UEA, and Bournemouth, and they tend to attract a small yet enthusiastic international audience. The conference has been highlighted in New Scientist magazine. There is a strict cap to both the number of accepted papers and attendance to keep the conference small. There are no parallel sessions; the idea is to allow everyone to listen to all papers if they so wish, and to allow conversation and discussion to the fullest extent.
This year the event was kindly sponsored by CREATe, the RCUK Centre for Copyright and New Business Models in the Creative Economy, and we had 30 papers and 65 attendees from all over the world. The topics covered were diverse and included copyright, privacy, regulation, robots, virtual worlds, super heroes, anime and fan fiction. One of Gikii’s trademarks is a high level of quality participants. The programme (and most presentations) can be found here: http://www.gikii.org/?p=212
One of the strongest features of Gikii is that it attracts strong papers and great presenters. It has become a tradition to expect truly innovative delivery methods, coupled with thought-provoking content. This year was no exception, and we saw not only some incredibly well presented papers, but also were treated to excellent research. It is difficult to choose between them, but here are some of my personal favourites (in no particular order):
Burkhard Schafer, Surface detail – reflections on the virtualisation of punishment. A look at the digital hells as depicted in Surface Detail by Iain M Banks, and whether or not we might use virtual worlds to punish criminals.
Jas Purewal, ‘First thing we do, we kill all the lawyers’: an interactive quiz show about the world’s worst Internet law developments. Legal practitioner and gaming law expert Jas Purewal treated us to a quiz exploring some of the latest legal cases to make the headlines, including the CJEU’s famous (or infamous) right to be forgotten.
Catherine Easton “You will never walk again… but you will fly”: Human augmentation in the known world. An excellent look at the possibilities of human augmentation. And Hodor.
Miranda Mowbray, Big Data: Darth Vader and the Green Cross Code Man. A fantastic look at the possible use of a code of practice for information processing and big data.
Edina Harbinja, Putting Her in Legal Chains: Where are the OS Terms of Service? The author tries to imagine the possible terms of service of the artificial intelligence software depicter in Spike Jonze’s Her.
Jef Ausloos and Yung Shin Marleen Van Der Sype, Closing the circle: The relevancy of data protection in a fully transparent society. The authors explore privacy and data protection using The Circle by Dave Eggers.
Paul Bernal, Disney Princesses 2: Frozen and the Chilling Effect? Once more Paul Bernal uses Disney princesses™ to explain online privacy.
Caroline Wilson, Cross words: the Centenary Year. Crosswords!
There were some themes going through the conference. It seems like regulation, architecture and decentralization are becoming more important subject, although this may have been caused by organiser bias, as this was the subject of two of my own papers. I was struck by how little we ended up talking about copyright, and there was certainly more said about privacy in general. These are trends that might be followed by legal academia in the next couple of years, and could be explained by the waning of file sharing as a regulatory topic, while Snowden and the right to be forgotten have made privacy much more relevant nowadays.
On behalf of professor Lilian Edwards and me, we would like to extend the warmest thanks to all who presented and attended for making Gikii such a special conference.