You are cordially invited to the next Information Society Project lunch speaker series event, scheduled for this *Thursday* at 12:10 p.m. in Room 120 of Yale Law School. This week we will be joined by Professor Dave Levine of Elon University School of Law on "The People's Trade Secrets." You may be familiar with Dave Levine as the host of the popular technology and intellectual property law radio show Hearsay Culture on KZSU-FM (Stanford University).
About the Talk: The People's Trade Secrets?
The content of administered public school exams, modifications made by a government to its voting machines, and the business strategies of government corporations should be of interest to the public. At a minimum, they are the kinds of information that a government should allow its citizens to see and examine. After all, the public might have some legitimate questions for its government: Is that voting machine working so that my vote gets counted? Is that public school examination fair and accurate? To whom or what is that government agency marketing and are kickbacks involved? One would think that the government should have to publicly answer such questions, at least in a democracy. While initially the above does not sound too controversial, the law has made it problematic. Getting access to the information that would answer the above questions may not be easy because the person requesting the information might have to show that the information is not a government trade secret before it can be disclosed. Today, the government of the people can keep information from the people by way of the commercial, intellectual property law of trade secrecy. Strangely, the people – citizens of states and the United States – apparently have trade secrets that they themselves cannot see. In other words, there is information that the government itself creates on its own (a “government trade secret”) and that courts or attorneys general have found meet the applicable definition of a trade secret. This article examines whether a government trade secret should be allowed to exist, and, if so, whether governments should be allowed to shield government trade secrets from public disclosure.
About Dave Levine:
David S. Levine is an Assistant Professor of Law at Elon University School of Law and an affiliate scholar at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School (CIS). His scholarship focuses on the operation of intellectual property law at the intersection of technology and public life and intellectual property law's impact on public and private transparency and accountability. Levine founded and hosts Hearsay Culture on KZSU-FM (Stanford University), a technology and intellectual property law radio show and podcast that was chosen as one of the top five podcasts in the American Bar Association's Blawg 100 of 2008. Prior to becoming a law professor, Levine was a resident fellow at CIS. He also practiced intellectual property, entertainment, labor/employment and commercial litigation as an associate in the Manhattan offices of Pryor Cashman LLP and Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf LLP and as Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of New York. He holds a bachelor of science degree in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University and a juris doctor degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Law.