More than 100,000 people will descend on San Diego Comic-Con this week, including yours truly representing the Electronic Frontier Foundation. If you’re one of the the lucky badge-holders with an interest in protecting Internet freedom, I’d love to chat with you and give you a sticker (while supplies last, obviously). Our friends at Alaska Robotics and musician Marian Call have generously offered us a spot at their table. You can find me there (#1134 in the main exhibition hall) from 2 - 3 pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
But EFF isn’t the only opportunity at SDCC to ponder issues of surveillance, tech policy, free speech, and intellectual property. We’ve compiled this schedule of panels worth checking out this year.
Also, you should check out our report on the San Diego Police Department's public-private surveillance camera network.
Are you a creator with a project, panel, or table at SDCC that ties into issues EFF covers? Send details to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll stop by and add you to our next update.
When the trailer for a new TV show starts off with a 12-year-old being arrested for hacking NASA, you know EFF is interested in hearing more. CBS’s new series, Scorpion, is loosely based on hacker Walter O’Brien, and follows his team of technologists as they seek to counteract global crises.
Thursday, July 24, 2014 12:05 pm - 1:10 pm - Ballroom 20
This new documentary tracks the demise of the Atari Corporation, including an investigation into the hundreds of thousands of copies of the E.T. video game buried in the New Mexico desert. Admittedly, there’s no real connection to EFF’s core issues here, except in the sense that a lot of us grew up on the Atari and miss it badly.
Friday, July 25, 2014 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm - Room 5AB
This panel examines how media technology has exploded over the last 18 months, from apps to social media, and how this has elevated fan fiction, “gift culture,” and transformative works. The discussion is moderated by Heidi Tandy of FYeahCopyright.com, which is described as “the Snopes of copyright & trademark law (for fangirls, fanboys, creators & hipsters).”
Friday, July 25, 2014 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm - Room 26AB
Lawyers attending Comic-Con can pick up continuing legal education credits by attending the panels in the Comic Book Law School series, which are led by Michael Lovitz, author of The Trademark and Copyright Book comic book. In this panel, a group of attorneys will discuss the impact of several cases that EFF has been tracking closely, including Tarantino v Gawker, the battle over whether Sherlock Holmes is in the public domain, and an appellate court’s decision to force YouTube to remove “The Innocence of Muslims.”
Saturday, July 26, 2014 10:30 am - 12 pm - Room 30CDE
NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems Director Jason Crusan, Intel Resident Futurist Brian David Johnson, and Rethink Robotics Senior Engineer Jennifer Barry will share their visions of the near-future of robotics and how that compares to the alternately loyal and menacing depictions of robots in pop culture.
Saturday, July 26, 2014 11 am - 12 pm - Room 7AB
EFF are big fans of the Organization for Transformative Works, who we’ve partnered with on amicus briefs and submitting requests to the Library of Congress. The group, which champions the rights of fan creators and protects them from wrongheaded intellectual-property attacks, is partnering up with DeviantArt for this panel, in which they promise to “bring out their lawyers to explain how you can go to sleep at night, dream the dream of fans, and never have to hide under the bed.”
Saturday, July 26, 2014 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm - Room 2
At last year’s Comic-Con, the creators of the CBS show rolled out an extended preview of the series that relied heavily on the fallout from the Snowden files. This time around, Executive Producer Greg Plageman and cast members will take questions on the fourth season of the science fiction (although scarily close to reality) series that examines the ethical and privacy issues surrounding big data, mass surveillance, artificial intelligence, and predictive technology.
Saturday, July 26, 2014 6:15 pm - 7:00 pm - Room 6BCF
Within SDCC there is an academic sub-event called the Comics Arts Conference. In this session, panelists will discuss how the comics reflect contemporary global debates, including how comics of the 1940s and 1950s foreshadowed the current debate over drones.
Sunday, July 27, 2014 10:30 am - 12 pm - Room 26AB
Comic Book League Defense Fund Panels
For decades upon decades, comic books artists and writers have pushed the boundaries of speech and authorities have sought to censor them. One of the most notorious chapters of history is the Comics Code, when the industry—faced with calls for regulation from Congress—decided to censor itself. This year, the free speech heroes at the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund are taking a look at the history of the Comics Code, including the controversial work of Fredric Wertham, who claimed that violent media and comics damaged childhood development. They will also host their annual Banned Comics! panel and a “live art jam” where artists are challenged to create art on the spot that violates the defunct Comics Code. Make sure to stop by their table (#1920) for free-speech literature and gear.
The History of the Comics Code Thursday, July 24, 2014 1 pm - 2 pm - Room 30CDE
Dr. Wertham's War on Comics Friday, July 25, 2014 1 pm - 2 pm - Room 30CDE
Tales from the Code-True Stories of Censorship Saturday, July 26, 2014 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm - Room 30CDE
Banned Comics! Saturday, July 26, 2014 1 pm - 2 pm - Room 30CDE
You Can't Draw That! Live Art Jam Sunday, July 27, 2014 12:15 pm - 1:45 pm - Room 5AB