Bay Area Blawgers 3.0 Recap

Last week, we had the third gathering of Bay Area Blawgers at UC Berkeley Law School. Over 2 dozen bloggers and friends convened to discuss topics of interest to legal bloggers [see list of attendees below]. Some photos from the event. This event was co-hosted by the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology, and a special thanks to them for their help (especially given that the event was scheduled at a very busy time for them).

This time, we started out with a short presentation by Mark Goldowitz on the application of California’s anti-SLAPP law (California Code of Civil Procedure Sec. 425.16) to bloggers. The anti-SLAPP statute is a powerful defense tool that can result in the plaintiff paying attorneys fees. It also has certain procedural benefits for defendants, such as an automatic right of appeal for an unsuccessful anti-SLAPP motion. The statute is interesting to blawgers because it should apply to common activities by legal bloggers, such as blogging about lawsuits. Anti-SLAPP protection has been rarely applied to bloggers (we couldn’t think of any cases around the table, but I had forgotten that the GTX v. Left case involved a blogger), but it looks like a powerful and important tool that bloggers–especially those actually facing a lawsuit–should keep in mind.

We talked about a variety of other issues, including how to respond to grousy/threatening emails from lawyers whose cases we’re blogging about, bloggers posting C&D letters, rich content tools available for bloggers (including Redlasso and iMeem), and how courts are conceptualizing bloggers as journalists for various defenses to IP claims (such as how the blogger in the BidZirk case defeated a TM claim because of his role in producing news commentary). Next time, we’ll try to talk about blawgers going on vacation or hiatus–a question on several attendees’ minds as they have stopped blogging deliberately or implicitly. I’m also interested in how and why some bloggers (like me) write through multiple blogs. Good stuff for the next gathering, which I’m thinking will be early next year in the South Bay. If you aren’t on the mail list and would like to be, let me know.

[Attendees at this event included: Tsan Abrahamson, Jerry Bame, Hudson Bair, Robert Barr, Bob Eisenbach, Cathy Gellis, Mark Goldowitz, Eric Goldman, Joe Gratz, Beth Grimm, Greg Haverkamp, Matt Holohan, Ethan Leib, Joe Mullin, Deborah Neville, Chris Peeples, Mark Perlman, Colin Samuels, Daniel Schulman, Jason Schultz, Tim Stanley, Colette Vogele, and Fred von Lohmann]

More resources related to the Bay Area Blawgers:

* Announcements of Bay Area Blawgers 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0.

* Recap of the first gathering. Beth Grimm has written an interesting meta-recap.

* Photos from the second gathering at Fenwick & West’s San Francisco office. More photos.

* List of possible issues for a blawgers’ discussion.

* Census of Bay Area Blawgers.