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Teaching The Law Via Podcasts

Law isn't simple, and truly learning about it takes more than a few short primers or even an in-depth guide or two — which makes it the perfect topic to explore via the medium of podcasts. This week, we've got a pair of guests who are doing exactly that: Ken White of Popehat fame, who recently launched the Make No Law podcast about First Amendment issues, and Elizabeth Joh, co-host of the What Trump Can Teach Us About Constitutional Law podcast. Instead of picking their brains about the...


Can The Blockchain Save Publishers?

After the recent launch of, which aims to use the blockchain to create a new business model for digital media companies, Mike was... unconvinced. This led to a Twitter discussion with CEO Jarrod Dicker, which in turn led to a longer in-person conversation about the ideas behind the service and where it might go — and you can listen to the whole thing on this week's podcast episode.


How One Court Just Screwed Up Software Development

We've already written about the insanity of the appeals court overturning Google's fair use victory against Oracle — but there's plenty to dig into regarding just how bad the ruling is. This week, we're joined by Pamela Samuelson, a law professor and co-director of the Center for Law & Technology at Berkeley, to discuss what the court just did to the world of software development.


Overreacting To Facebook's Mistakes Won't Solve Anything

Facebook. Cambridge Analytica. Need I say more? There's plenty to discuss. Among them is the question of similarities between what happened and the Obama campaign — which is why we're lucky to be joined this week by Catherine Bracy, who led the Obama campaign's San Francisco tech office, and worked on its Facebook app, for a discussion about what really went down with Cambridge Analytica, and all the misinformation that's out there.


What Does It Mean For Social Media To Be Held Accountable?

This isn't the first time we've discussed this on the podcast, and it probably won't be the last — disinformation online is a big and complicated topic, and there are a whole lot of angles to approach it from. This week, we're joined by Renee DiResta, who has been researching disinformation ever since the anti-vaxxer movement caught her attention, to discuss what exactly it means to say social media platforms should be held accountable.


How MoviePass Makes Money

The apparent success of MoviePass raises a whole bunch of interesting business model questions — and privacy concerns about the data-harvesting portion of that business model add another layer of complexity. So this week, we're going back to a good old-fashioned formula for the podcast, and dedicating an episode to examining the company in detail and trying to figure out where it might be headed.


The Worst Of Both Worlds: SESTA & FOSTA Together

It wasn't very long ago that we last discussed SESTA on the podcast, but now that the House has voted to approve its version of the bill with SESTA tacked on, it's unfortunately time to dig into the issues again. So this week we're joined by returning guest Emma Llansó from the Center for Democracy and Technology and, for the first time, law professor Eric Goldman to talk about why the combination of SESTA and FOSTA has resulted in the worst of both worlds.


Lies, Damned Lies & Audience Metrics

In 2016, mostly out of frustration, I wrote a post about how traffic is fake, audience numbers are garbage, and nobody knows how many people see anything. My feelings haven't changed much, and neither has the digital advertising ecosystem. And since regular podcast co-host Dennis Yang runs a digital metrics company, it only made sense for us to hash it out on an episode all about audience measurement and how it shapes online advertising. 2016 Post:


Truth, Trust, Transparency & Tribalism

A couple of weeks ago, Mike was in Washington, DC for the State Of The Net conference, where he participated in a panel called Internet Speech: Truth, Trust, Transparency & Tribalism. For this week's podcast, we've got the audio from that conversation with all sorts of interesting ideas about how people are dealing with fake news, trolls, propaganda and more.


An Interview With Rep Zoe Lofgren

When it comes to many of the legislative issues of interest to us here at Techdirt, we've always been able to count on at least one voice of reason amidst the congressional chaos: Representative Zoe Lofgren from California. In addition to playing a critical role in the fight against SOPA, she continues to be a voice of reason against bad copyright policy, expansive government surveillance, and the broken CFAA, among many other things. This week, she joins Mike on the podcast for a...


Free Speech & The Marketplace Of Ideas

Last week, Mike sparked lots of conversation with his post about rethinking the marketplace of ideas without losing sight of the importance of the fundamental principles of free speech. Naturally, there's plenty more to discuss on that topic, so this week we're joined by Buzzfeed general counsel Nabiha Syed — whose recent article in the Yale Law Journal, Real Talk About Fake News, offered a thorough and insightful look at free speech online — to try to cut through all the simplistic takes...


Facebook Won't Save Democracy

In the midst of the political chaos in America and the world at large, a whole lot of attention has been turned to Facebook and its role in modern democracy. The social network has responded by announcing another round of news feed changes, the true impact of which (if any) remains far from clear. This week, we're joined by Mathew Ingram from the Columbia Journalism Review to talk about Facebook's changes, and whether we can or should expect them to fix anything.


The CES 2018 Post-Mortem

Mike was at CES 2018 last week, and now for the third year in a row we've got our special episode of the podcast dedicated to looking at the best (and worst) innovations on show. As usual, he's joined by long-time CES veteran Rob Pegoraro — so without any further preamble, here's the CES 2018 Post-Mortem.


Barbies v. Bratz

If you've been reading Techdirt for more than five years, you probably remember the conclusion of Mattel v. MGA — and if you've been reading for more than thirteen years, you might even remember when it started. This epic legal battle over intellectual property went through nearly a decade of rulings and reversals, and the resulting story is a fascinating one that ties in a lot of the topics we discuss here at Techdirt. It's also the subject of the new book You Don't Own Me by law...


The Lost Art Of Productive Debate

Even those of us who believe that the internet is overall a tremendous positive force when it comes to discourse and culture can admit that, in many parts of the online world, having constructive and substantive conversations is... difficult. And that issue has most certainly come to the fore in the last couple of years. So this week, we're joined by author Barry Eisler (one of our first and most frequent podcast guests) to tackle the challenge of framing important debates in productive...


Games That Tell Stories

Gaming is changing the nature of storytelling. Video games of course — but also the modern rise of board games, tabletop RPGs and other forms of analog gaming. A good game does more than just arbitrarily pair play with a veneer of narrative, it marries the mechanics and the ideas to enable interesting new ways of conveying and exploring complex ideas. This week, we're joined by game designer Randy Lubin to discuss how games can tell stories in a way nothing else can.


Can A Trivia App Resurrect Appointment Viewing?

Normally, we wouldn't dedicate a whole episode of the podcast to talking about a single app — but every now and then something small comes along that contains innovations worth exploring. So this week, we're taking a look at the hit trivia app HQ, which is one of the first new things in recent memory to gain real momentum with "appointment viewing".


Tom Wheeler Reacts To Trump's FCC

If you're a Techdirt reader or just a general regular on the ol' internet, our topic this week — the current situation with net neutrality and the FCC — needs little introduction. And we've got two very special guests joining us to discuss it: former FCC Chair Tom Wheeler (author of the rules that Ajit Pai is currently undoing) and his former advisor Gigi Sohn (who joined us on the podcast in February to predict pretty much exactly what is now happening). There are few people as qualified to...


The Perils Of Internet Platform Regulation

We've been talking about internet platform regulation for a long time, but in the past year these issues have gotten a huge amount of increased focus — for a bunch of fairly obvious reasons. But a lot of people who are fairly new to the issue tend to make a lot of questionable assumptions and jump to some problematic conclusions, so this week we're joined by someone who has been studying these questions for many years — Annemarie Bridy, a law professor at the University of Idaho and...


No Easy Answers: Facebook & The Election

I don't think I need to say much to introduce this week's topic — we're all well aware of the conversation about Facebook's role in the presidential election, including questions of filter bubbles, fake news, foreign influence, and so on and so on. As is always the case in situations like this, a lot of people seem to be looking for easy answers, and easy places to point fingers of blame, so in this week's episode we're discussing why it's just not that simple.


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