Around this time last year, attorneys, academics, students, and members of the public happily gathered for JETLaw’s Symposium at Vanderbilt Law School to discuss technology’s influence on society. Little did we know that in just a few weeks, in-person classes at universities across the country would be cancelled, communities would be locked down, and domestic and international travel would grind to a halt, all due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, we also saw the fight for social justice play out in cities and towns across the country after the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Elijah McClain, and other innocent Black lives last summer. Then in November, a deeply divided nation headed to the polls to elect the next president of the United States, the results of which tested the limits of our democracy. Through all of this, the members of the Journal that I am proud to lead engaged with their communities, excelled at their studies, and supported each other, all while producing what will be a stellar Volume 23 of the Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment and Technology Law.
This year, our Symposium is virtual rather than in person. Despite that, we continue the tradition of presenting a Symposium that rigorously examines the intersection of law and current events through a critical lens. Our theme this year explores the impact of law during global emergencies. What is the best way to incentivize research during a pandemic: through government prizes or the promise of a patent monopoly? How has the United States’ technology transfer regime under the Bayh-Dole Act performed during COVID-19? When emergency action needs to be taken, how far can a governor go, and what role should the state legislature play? What responsibilities does the Food and Drug Administration have when approving clinical trials for novel, investigative treatments? And what legal and ethical considerations need to be made when vaccinating an entire country? I hope that you will find the discussion of these questions, and more, both engaging and rewarding. COVID-19 shook us out of the status quo. We now have the unique opportunity to reexamine our world and the way law shapes it. My hope is that this Symposium aids you in that process.
Panelists and commentators presenting at the Symposium included:
Mylan Denerstein (Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher)
Robert Burrell (University of Oxford)
Catherine Kelly (University of Oxford)
Eric Solovy (Sidley Austin LLP)
Deepak Raju (Sidley Austin LLP)
Paul Zielinski (Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer)
Josephine Gittler (University of Iowa College of Law)
Chip Baltimore (University of Iowa College of Law)
Clint Hermes (Bass, Berry & Sims)
Jody Lyneé Madeira (University of Indiana School of Law)
Gina-Gail Fletcher (Duke University School of Law)
Katrina Lee (The Ohio State University School of Law)
D. Daniel Sokol (University of Florida Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering)