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Law and Regulation of "Intermediary" Businesses 2015: Consumer-Facing Technology Providers, Online Platforms, and Online Media

Speaker(s): Andrew P. Bridges, Caleb Donaldson, Cathy Gellis, Christine E. Lyon, Corynne McSherry, Erica Johnstone, Giancarlo Frosio, J. Scott Evans, James X. Dempsey, Justin Olsson, Laura H. Covington, Paul E. Sieminski, Rafey S. Balabanian, Thomas N. Dahdouh, Tyler G. Newby, Yana Welinder
Recorded on: Nov. 4, 2015
PLI Program #: 59418

Paul Sieminski is General Counsel of Automattic – the Company behind WordPress – and in that capacity oversees the Company’s worldwide legal activities. His work includes support for all of the Company’s business units, management of M&A, financing transactions and strategic partnerships. In addition, Paul manages Automattic’s public policy and government advocacy work. He also oversees the Company’s intellectual property portfolio and is in charge of developing user friendly privacy and DMCA policies to advance Automattic’s mission to democratize publishing, and promote free expression on the internet.

Yana Welinder is Legal Director at the Wikimedia Foundation, where she leads Wikimedia’s copyright strategy, public policy, trademark portfolio, legal work for partnerships, and internal HR matters. She also researches and writes about internet law as a non-residential fellow at Stanford Center for Internet and Society and an affiliate for Berkman Center at Harvard University.

Giancarlo F. Frosio is the Intermediary Liability Fellow at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School. Giancarlo is a qualified attorney with a doctoral degree (S.J.D.) in intellectual property law from Duke University Law School. Additionally, he holds an LL.M. with emphasis in intellectual property law from Duke Law School, an LL.M. in information technology and telecommunications law from Strathclyde University in Glasgow, and a law degree from Università Cattolica in Milan. His research focuses on copyright law, digitization, history of creativity, public domain, open access, Internet and user based creativity, intermediary liability of Information Service providers, network information economy, access to knowledge (A2K), and identity politics.

Giancarlo also serves as affiliate faculty at the Harvard CopyrightX program, where he lectures and coordinates the Turin University/WIPO Affiliated Course. He is also a faculty associate of the Nexa Research Center for Internet and Society in Turin, where he acted as Chief Editor and author of the Final Report of COMMUNIA, the European Thematic Network on the Digital Public Domain funded by the European Commission within the eContentplus framework. In 2013, he also served as a Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham. The post was one of the research projects of the new Centre for Copyright and New Business Models in the Creative Economy (CREATe) funded by the UK Research Councils. From 2010 to 2013, Giancarlo served as the Deputy Director and Lecturer of the LL.M. in intellectual property law jointly organized by WIPO and the University of Turin. Previously, Giancarlo worked as an associate attorney in the IP, Media & Technology department of DLA Piper in Milan. He is the author of numerous legal articles and publications. At the moment, he is working on his book “Cumulative Creativity: From the Oral Formulaic Tradition to Digital Remix.” Additional information can be found here:

Andrew Bridges represents innovators and their companies on important matters typically involving new technologies or business models, often when a company’s or an entire industry’s future is at stake.  His practice includes complex litigation, high-stakes counseling, and policy advice in Internet, copyright, trademark, advertising, unfair competition, consumer protection, trade secret, and commercial law matters.

Among his major litigation successes are:

  • Defending Diamond Multimedia in RIAA v. Diamond Multimedia (challenge to MP3 players)
  • Defending Google in Perfect 10 v. Google ( to search engine)
  • Defending MasterCard in Perfect 10 v. VISA and MasterCard (challenge to payment processing for alleged infringers)
  • Defending ClearPlay in Huntsman v. Soderbergh (challenge to DVD replay filtering software)
  • Enforcing Bare Escentuals’ rights against Intelligent Beauty (trademark and false advertising)
  • Representing Richard O’Dwyer (UK university student) in avoiding extradition from UK and prosecution in US for operating linking site
  • Representing owner of in recovering domain after seizure by Homeland Security in Operation In Our Sites
  • Defending Fitbit in Fitbug v. Fitbit (challenge to company name and brand)
  • Defending Giganews in Perfect 10 v. Giganews (challenge to Usenet service provider; obtained award of $6.5 million in attorneys’ fees for prevailing defendants)
  • Defending SoundCloud in Average Joe’s Ent’t v. SoundCloud (claims against sound recording platform by music label and publisher)

He received the California State Bar Intellectual Property Section Vanguard Award (private practice category) 2014, and National Law Journal honored him as an IP Trailblazer in 2017.  He received his law degree from Harvard; an M.A and B.A. from University of Oxford (Merton College) in philosophy and ancient history; and a B.A. from Stanford in Greek and Latin.

Christine Lyon advises organizations on cutting-edge issues related to the collection, use, sharing, and safeguarding of data, including personal information of customers and employees. She serves as a trusted advisor, working with clients to develop global strategies to comply with U.S. and international privacy and data protection laws.

Christine’s practice spans a variety of industry sectors, from information technology services to consumer products, and covers clients ranging from start-ups to large multinationals. She advises technology companies on building privacy protections into their offerings, including connected products and services (Internet of Things), cloud-based and mobile services, and social media initiatives, as well as on managing the related “Big Data” implications. She also assists clients in evaluating and managing privacy risks, including in strategic transactions such as IT outsourcing, and mergers and acquisitions.

Legal 500 US recognized Ms. Lyon as a “rising star” in the area of privacy and data protection and recommended her for cyber law, and she received The Burton Award for Distinguished Legal Writing. She frequently writes and speaks on the topics of global data protection laws, workplace privacy issues, and data security laws. She is a co-editor of Global Employee Privacy and Data Security Law (BNA Books) and a member of the editorial board of the World Data Protection Report.

Corynne McSherry is the Legal Director at EFF, specializing in intellectual property, open access, and free speech issues. Her favorite cases involve defending online fair use, political expression, and the public domain against the assault of copyright maximalists. As a litigator, she has represented Professor Lawrence Lessig, Public.Resource.Org, the Yes Men, and a dancing baby, among others, and one of her first cases at EFF was In re Sony BMG CD Technologies Litigation (aka the "rootkit" case). In 2015 she was named one of California's Top Entertainment Lawyers.  She was also named AmLaw's "Litigator of the Week" for her work on Lenz v. Universal. Her policy work includes leading EFF’s effort to fix copyright (including the successful effort to shut down the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA), promote net neutrality, and promote best practices for online expression. In 2014, she testified before Congress about problems with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.  Corynne comments regularly on digital rights issues and has been quoted in a variety of outlets, including NPR, CBS News, Fox News, the New York Times, Billboard, the Wall Street Journal, and Rolling Stone. Prior to joining EFF, Corynne was a civil litigator at the law firm of Bingham McCutchen, LLP. Corynne has a B.A. from the University of California at Santa Cruz, a Ph.D from the University of California at San Diego, and a J.D. from Stanford Law School. While in law school, Corynne published Who Owns Academic Work?: Battling for Control of Intellectual Property (Harvard University Press, 2001).

J. Scott received his undergraduate degree from Baylor University and his Juris Doctor cum laude in 1992 from the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at The University of Louisville. He first served as Corporate Counsel for Fruit of the Loom where he was responsible for managing the international intellectual property portfolios for Fruit of the Loom and its associate companies The B.V.D. Licensing Corporation, Gitano, Pro Player and Salem Sportswear, Inc. In November 1996, Mr. Evans joined Adams Evans P.A. where he continued to concentrate his practice in the areas of trademark, copyright, unfair competition and Internet law. In November 2007, he joined the legal team at Yahoo! Inc., where he served as a Senior Legal Director – Global Brands, Domains & Copyright.  In October 2013, J.Scott joined Adobe Systems as Associate General Counsel responsible for global trademarks, copyright, domains and marketing.

On three separate occasions, Managing Intellectual Property magazine voted J. Scott one of the 50 Most Influential People in IP (2009, 2011, 2013).  J. Scott is also President-Elect of the International Trademark Association, where he serves on the Executive Committee and chairs the Planning Committee.

Jim Dempsey is Executive Director of the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology at the UC Berkeley law school. From 1997 to 2014, he was at the Center for Democracy & Technology, where he held a number of leadership positions, including Executive Director (2003 to 2005) and head of CDT West (2005 to 2014).

From August 2012 to January 2017, Jim also served as a part-time member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), an independent federal agency charged with advising senior policymakers and overseeing the nation’s counterterrorism programs.

Prior to joining CDT, Dempsey served as Deputy Director of the non-profit Center for National Security Studies and Special Counsel to the National Security Archive. From 1985 to 1995, Jim was Assistant Counsel to the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights. He practiced law as an associate at Arnold & Porter, in Washington, DC, and clerked for Judge Robert Braucher of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

Jim is author or co-author of articles in law reviews and other journals, including “The Path to ECPA Reform and the Implications of United States v. Jones,” Univ. of San Francisco L. Rev. (2012), and “Privacy as an Enabler, Not an Impediment: Building Trust into Health Information Exchange,” Health Affairs, (2009). He is co-author of the book Terrorism & the Constitution: Sacrificing Civil Liberties in the Name of National Security (New Press, Third edition, 2006) (with Prof. David Cole of Georgetown).  With Fred Cate, he has edited the forthcoming volume Bulk Collection: Systematic Government Access to Private-Sector Data (Oxford 2017).

Justin Olsson is Databricks' second lawyer (Associate General Counsel) and is based out of its San Francisco, California headquarters.  His work for Databricks focuses on a mix of product and privacy counseling and commercial negotiation.  Prior to joining Databricks, Mr. Olsson was Product Counsel at AVG Technologies and an associate at Goodwin Procter where he worked on a range of issues for technology companies, including intellectual property licensing, mergers and acquisitions, and general start-up law.  Mr. Olsson graduated from Harvard Law School in 2010 and with a degree in Chemical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University in 2007.

Tyler G. Newby is a partner in the Litigation Group at Fenwick & West LLP, and co-chairs the firm’s Privacy and Data Security practice.  His practice focuses on privacy and data security litigation, federal and state regulatory investigations and counseling for high technology clients ranging from early-stage startups to mature public companies.  Prior to rejoining Fenwick & West in 2011, Mr. Newby was a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. where he was a Trial Attorney in the Criminal Division's Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, and a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the Cyber Division of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.  In 2014, Mr. Newby was named among the top attorneys in the United States under the age of 40 by Law360.

Mr. Newby graduated from Stanford Law School in 1999, where he was a Notes Editor of the Stanford Law Review.

Rafey is the Managing Partner of Edelson PC and the Firm’s national head of litigation.  Edelson is a leading national plaintiff’s class action firm recognized for its work representing consumers in technology and privacy cases against some of the country’s largest tech companies.  In the past five years, Edelson PC has secured settlements on behalf of aggrieved consumers valued at over $1 billion.

Rafey’s practice focuses upon a wide range of complex consumer class action litigation, as well as general business litigation. In the class action context, Rafey has led numerous groundbreaking privacy cases, including ones against tech giants like Netflix, LinkedIn, Google, and Facebook.  He has been appointed lead counsel in numerous class actions, and has achieved landmark nationwide settlements involving the tech and telecom industries worth hundreds of millions of dollars.  One of his most notable accomplishments include securing nationwide adversarial certification in what is believed to be the largest privacy class action in the history of US jurisprudence in the case of Dunstan, et al. v. comScore, Inc., No. 11-cv-5807 (N.D. Ill.).

On the business side, Rafey has counseled clients ranging from “emerging technology” companies, medical startups, real estate developers, lenders, shareholders, and attorneys. He has successfully litigated numerous multi-million dollar cases, including several “bet the company” cases.

Rafey has spent the better part of the last 14 years in Chicago, but recently relocated to San Francisco to manage Edelson PC’s new office.

Thomas Dahdouh is currently the Regional Director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Western Region, with offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles.  He served as Assistant Regional Director for the Western Region from 2012 to May 2013.  Before that, he worked for 14 years as a staff attorney in the San Francisco office, handling both consumer protection and antitrust matters.  Previously, he worked at the FTC’s Washington, D.C., headquarters for two Commissioners.  He has also served on the Executive Committee of the California State Bar’s Antitrust, UCL and Privacy Section since 2009, most recently serving as its Chair from 2014-2015.  He received his JD from Harvard Law School and his BA from Yale University.

Cathy Gellis is a former Internet professional-turned-lawyer in the San Francisco Bay Area with a practice focused on intellectual property, free speech, intermediary liability, and other issues affecting information technology use and development. She is also the founder of, a project focused on the convergence of criminal law and technology. She regularly writes, speaks, counsels, and litigates on these and other legal and technology topics. B.A. University of California at Berkeley in Mass Communications and Sociology; J.D. Boston University.

J. Caleb Donaldson is copyright counsel at Google. The copyright team oversees copyright issues across Google's many products. This includes product counseling, antipiracy efforts, litigation support, and public-policy initiatives. Caleb received his JD from Harvard Law School and clerked for Judge Jeffrey Howard on the First Circuit Court of Appeals before joining Winston & Strawn as a litigator. In a prior career, Caleb was a pioneer in Internet publishing, a member of the launch teams of CNET and of Hotwired, the first web site in the world to carry banner advertising.

Laura Covington has over two decades' experience as a leader and expert on cutting-edge legal, public policy and regulatory issues facing technology and media companies. She was the first intellectual property lawyer at Yahoo.  In addition to building the company’s IP team, she also served in public policy and government relations, and most recently was General Counsel for Yahoo EMEA (Europe/Middle East/Africa).  Her expertise spans all of IP, with particular emphasis on trademark, copyright, and patent litigation and reform, as well as online content regulation, advertising, intermediary liability, ICANN, internet governance,  and international trade. Laura has also managed complex privacy, data protection and cybersecurity issues, especially in Europe.