The government will almost certainly abandon any case they are going to lose. That way, they will avoid accountability indefinitely. Meanwhile, the government will keep grabbing new domain names using the same BS theories. Eric.
The idea that a government-run website would improve a website's privacy and trustworthiness is beyond laughable. It completely ignores the massive abuses of our trust and privacy our government commits every day.
I am a bit skeptical that any event organized along these lines would actually advance audience understanding very much. When I've organized or attended panels that featured both Hollywood insiders and vigorous opponents, my experience has been that the conversation tends to gravitate towards one or two irresolute debates:
1) High-level philosophical debates, like "Speaker 1: Piracy is theft! Speaker 2: No, piracy is a form of marketing!"
2) Bogus statistics debates, like "Speaker 1: File sharing reduces music album sales. Speaker 2: No, album sales declined due to unbundling."
I haven't found these so-called discourses very illuminating. My observation is that usually this back-and-forth results only in reinforcing the audiences' pre-existing beliefs as the audience gives in to their confirmation biases.
I think more productive discussions could be had by developing a clear and concise statement of "the problem." In my opinion, the SOPA/PIPA advocates never gave us clean statements of "the problem" because they figured they could slam home their overzealous proposals without much defense of their merits. Advocates vaguely alluded to problems like "foreign rogue websites" (although not much empirical proof that foreign rogue websites were costing rightsowners money, combined with the statutory drafting defect that it's difficult to separate the foreign website goats from the domestic website sheep) or "piracy costs American jobs" (which at best really means that only certain industries are losing jobs, and even that's debatable). Perhaps there is value to digging into these problems in more abstract terms--if we're concerned about American jobs, under what circumstances does copyright or trademark infringement cost net jobs, and how best to remediate that; or if we're concerned about the difficulty reaching offshore actors, should we instantiate geographic borders into a borderless electronic network, and if so, what tools are best to do so. When the problems are reframed that way, the proffered speakers from Paramount may not have the requisite expertise; or at best their perspective would be only one of several that would be valuable to the discussion.
More generally, one recurring problem I see with lunchtime events in law schools--especially with student-organized events--is when in-house counsel give a talk and there's no counterbalance. By definition, in-house counsel will espouse the corporate line (and indeed, they usually have professional responsibility duties against public statements against their client's interests), so these speakers are almost never "neutral" or "balanced." As a result, it doesn't matter if the in-house counsel are IP maximalists or minimalists; if they are presented on a standalone basis, then the audience is almost certainly getting only one side of the story, unrebutted--usually to the audience's detriment.
This is indeed good news and a success story for Internet advocacy, but the battles are hardly over. The pro-statute forces remain powerful and determined, and the actual rulings being issued by courts today without any statutory changes are very, very troubling. Eric.
Mike, SOPA/PIPA was never designed to provoke intelligent conversation about solutions to legitimate concerns. It was a pure rent-seeking rights grab, and the only open Q is if the proponents have enough muscle to push it through without actually addressing its "details." I wouldn't rule out the proponents' ability to do so.