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Legal issues increasingly arise in increasingly complex technological contexts. Prominent recent examples include the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), network neutrality, the increasing availability of location information, and the NSA’s surveillance program. Other emerging issues include data privacy, online video distribution, patent policy, and spectrum policy. In short, the rapid rate of technological change has increasingly shown that law and engineering can no longer remain compartmentalized into separate spheres. The logical response would be to embed the interaction between law and policy deeper into the fabric of both fields. An essential step would be to change the way we educate both engineers and lawyers by giving students the opportunity to receive advanced training in both fields. Moreover, innovative interdisciplinary research naturally demands conferences, journals, and other similar institutions to provide an intellectual home for the burgeoning field. If successful, this movement will create a new generation of scholars and scholarship that will integrate the insights of both law and engineering in a pathbreaking and dynamic way. Such an approach is essential if our society is to continue to enjoy the benefits of economic and technological progress.


Telecommunications law and policy, technology, innovation, regulation, internet architecture, legal training, intellectual property, copyright, patents

Publication Title

Communications of the ACM

Publication Citation

Comm. of the ACM, Jan. 2014, at 33.