Corfu, June 29-30, 2012
Photos from ICIL 2012
The Conference aims at the presentation of papers on a variety of subjects within information law and also, information ethics. The conference will host invited presentations and refereed paper presentations.
Τhis year, ICIL hosts four special sessions: Arts and Ethics, Libraries' Intellectual Capital, Women in Academia and Young Scholars’ Forum.
ICIL 2012 is morally sponsored by the Institute for Legal Informatics (Germany), the International Center for Information Ethics (Germany) and NEXA Center for Internet and Society (Italy).
Honorary General Chair of ICIL 2012
: Professor emeritus Labros Kotsiris General Chairs of ICIL 2012
: Maria Bottis & Nikos Kanellopoulos ICIL series founder
: Maria Bottis
TINY DIAMONDS IN THE COSMIC SANDS
Ronald Dworkin, the distinguished legal philosopher, might well have smiled benevolently on the papers and discussions of the ICIL conference. The obituaries that followed his death in early 2013 drew attention to his position that the law was essentially a branch of morality and that discussion of law needs to be framed in ethical terms. Frankly to the non-lawyer this looks too obvious to need saying, and yet the legal profession particularly, and academic specialists on law to some extent, often seem to find it far from self evident. Dworkin developed his position in a series of excellent books dealing with issues such as race and equality, and euthanasia and abortion. Through all of this he clung to an understanding of personal and political rights, which he placed above legalistic rulings from the judges. Human dignity was his touchstone and he memorably declared that ‘If we manage to lead a good life, we make our lives tiny diamonds in the cosmic sands.’ Behaving morally in our dealings with information is clearly an aspect of the good life. Furthermore, morality is arguably capable of conditioning our obligation to respect the laws that are enacted to handle the dilemmas associated with information.
To some people the suggestion that we need to place morality before law might suggest that the problem is man-made, and that if we turn to some external source of moral instruction we will find guidance that goes beyond the limitations of national and international systems of law. Principled followers of religions have used this line of argument to justify the stands which they have made against particular laws throughout the centuries. Dietrich Bonhoeffer standing out against the laws of Nazi Germany is a shining example. The ‘religiously’ inspired opponents of abortion in America, who are willing to go as far as murdering alleged abortionists, are deeply troubling users of ostensibly an identical logic. A brief glance at the Biblical Ten Commandments, much cited in all kinds of questions of law and ethics, will illustrate the problems and pitfalls of this approach. Six out of ten of the commandments concern either the human relationship with God (1-4) or are exhortations that have only indirect implication for law (5 and 10). The four (6-9) that embody prohibitions that have been historically cited as a basis for human laws are all ambiguous and arguably useless without interpretation in terms of a morality which might or might not be derived from the same belief system.
The prohibition of killing other human beings (6) and stealing from them (8) might seem the least ambiguous, but that is far from the case. The prohibition of killing is something that churches, states and individuals interpret as not applying under all circumstances, for instance in cases of conflict by the licensed agents of society (soldiers and police). Theft is also much more ambiguous than it looks at first, depending as it does on what one defines as property. The prohibition of adultery (7) is generally taken to refer to sexual relations other than those with a partner with whom one’s relationship is officially sanctioned. The definition of this drives interpreters mad. For instance, does it only include relationships intended for procreation, or can it refer to relationships of affection which might include the sterile or homosexual? The prohibition against the bearing of false witness (9), or dishonest testimony about people and events, can be argued scarcely to achieve even the same power to clarify as the other three. What one person might say about another that could be dispassionately considered true or false is virtually impossible to identify.
One can only do one’s best to be truthful and that is hardly the basis of a set of laws. In all of these examples it is virtually impossible to treat ostensibly categorical Commandments as anything other than an attempt to establish principles for law at a certain time in a certain context.
What is needed is some guiding principle that offers the capacity both to interpret law and the deontological principles that religion and other belief systems apply to human conduct. The morality that Dworkin offered as that guiding principle is rooted in knowledge and understanding of human behaviour as individuals and as members of society. To return to the Commandments to illustrate this, the prohibition on killing in the sixth cannot usefully be seen as dependent on the will of a god. More to the point, it is solidly rooted in the almost universal human revulsion against taking human life. To describe this as almost universal is well advised. An extremely tiny minority find their fulfilment in killing and a rather larger minority, when fighting in a war they believe is justified, can kill without suffering excessive psychological disturbance. The vast majority have the rejection of killing so deeply embedded in their essential being that it makes laws on killing merely an attempt to formalise something that already drives our conduct individually and socially. Without wishing to overlabour the point, the prohibition of sexual conduct outside the marriage bed (and in quite a few ways within the marriage bed too) is shot through with absurdities. The sexuality of human beings is complex, ambiguous and fluctuating. Apart from a few helpful outlines such as the regulation of formal partnerships (marriage, for instance) and protection of the vulnerable (laws on rape and sexual assault) there is little that law can and should do about sex. Crazily, the law has nevertheless tied itself in knots over sex for centuries. When we turn to information law, it seems particularly open to the suggestion that we need to think ethically, rather than merely legally. To take only two examples, the areas of intellectual property and freedom of expression fall much more comfortably within the domain of morality than that of law.
There is arguably only a limited sense in which intellectual property is property at all. Land, buildings, animals and tangible goods of many kinds are easy to identify as the property of one person or another, but this is not the case for the products of the mind. Before print those who wrote usually saw themselves as the presenters and interpreters of ideas already well established by the great minds of the past. With the easy multiplication and distribution of printed books the idea that a named person was responsible for what was written began to emerge. Not until this sense was strong enough to be offered protection by states in the form of copyright laws during the eighteenth century was intellectual property more than a discussion point. States saw an economic advantage in protecting their authors and set out to establish the principle that an idea could belong to someone. And yet, at a very deep level people still do not accept the validity of the concept. They know that originality is almost inconceivable: we all stand on the shoulders of giants (or even pygmies) when it comes to our ideas. This understanding emerges occasionally, such as when a joke is attributed to someone like Groucho Marx and earlier versions are immediately unearthed. In contrast, although folksongs must all have had a composer in some distant age we regard them as somehow a product of the collective consciousness. Novels, software, songs, pictures and all the other copyrightable forms all share these often untraceable roots in the culture. This is why people download copyright items from the Internet with little trace of conscience: they perceive them as something to be shared rather than owned. Indeed many creators of intellectual property feel this too and make their creations available via open access in return for the minimum of an acknowledgement. Policing intellectual property laws will thus always be a problem and only an ethical approach can assist navigation through the world of ideas.
Freedom of expression similarly depends on the human perception that ideas and information should not be restricted by laws and systems of regulation. At a very basic level, human beings revel in gossip. Although this is usually regarded with disapproval it can also be seen as a way in which necessary judgements on the character and reliability of others can be formed. In human society secrets are disliked and violated with little compunction. When it comes to the dealings of those who hold economic and political power, the desire for knowledge becomes much more than a relish for gossip. Society needs the means to understand the processes of law-making, administration and business so as to permit the possibility of restraining the excesses of those who hold power. Without this we are in serious danger of being the victims of the devious and corrupt calculations of an influential few, not to mention their carelessness and blunders. This is why the Universal Declaration of Human Rights protects freedom of expression in Article Nineteen and why campaigners press for transparency laws. Yet freedom of expression is under constant threat from states, politicians, churches and other belief groups, and business interests both national and international. Internet regulation, for instance, may seem comparatively light in the Western democracies, but for an enormous proportion of the global population access is closely restricted. States set up firewalls and surveillance systems and are in the process of developing alternative Internets more totally under their control. All this is usually alleged to be in the interests of protecting state security, national unity and even national culture. The human rejection of such developments is not something that is driven by international conventions like the UN’s Universal Declaration. It stems directly from human needs and desires.
When we look at information law from this perspective of human needs and desires, human dignity and human rights, we obtain radically different insights into our dealings with information. The ICIL conference, by combining discussion of ethics and law serves a powerful moral agenda. To adapt Dworkin’s terms, ICIL contributes to the creation of little sources of intense light that can be turned on our perceptions of information and ultimately offers to help its participants and the readers of the conference proceedings become diamonds in the cosmic sands.
Loughborough University, UK.
A Piano Recital for the 5th ICIL 2012 “The teachings of Victor Karpovich or how to approach Clara” Presenting works by Fineberg, Brahms, Schumann by Lambis Vassiliadis
A Piano Recital for the 5th ICIL 2012
“The teachings of Victor Karpovich or how to approach Clara”
Presenting works by Fineberg, Brahms, Schumann
by Lambis Vassiliadis
Saturday 30 June, 2012
21.00, Ionian Academy
ICIL 2012 participants may enter the recital free. Because the recital is organized for charity, for the benefit and support of disadvantaged students, we recommend an entirely voluntary contribution of 10 euros.
Lambis Vassiliadis is one of the most distinguished pianists of the younger generation.
He has travelled and played all over the world and has received the most positive reviews.
Vassiliadis is an Associate Professor of the Ionian University, Musical Studies Department.
For more information, see www.lambis.vassiliadis.org.
A distinguished Greek pianist of the younger generation, Mr. Lambis Vassiliadis represents an impressive style of explosive pianism and artistic sensibility.
Privileged to study near to pianists like Yalta Menouhin, Victor Merzhanov, Jerome Rose and James Tocco, he managed to obtain five academic titles from Universities and Music Academies around the world (Greece- Germany- England- USA)-all with distinctions and honors. He also holds a degree in Philosophy by the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.
Mr. Vassiliadis has worked for the University of Cincinnati, in the United States, as assistant professor at the studio of James Tocco; he has been Juror of the OMTA (Ohio Music Teachers Association) competition, of the International Music Competition of Thessaloniki, Juror of the Dorothy Price Awards Competition - Mannes College of Music, New York, of the Yamaha Competition Athens and of the Emil Gilels Competiton in Odessa, Ukraine.
Mr. Vassiliadis won 11 awards in international and national piano competitions and managed to attract the attention of the international press as a recording artist, (since 1993 by Koch-Discover International) for his pianistical skill and serious musical thinking. In April 1997, his CD with works by Bartok, Scriabin, Poulenc Szymanowski is rated with four stars by BBC Music Magazine and in September 1997, and his Schumann -Brahms recording is praised by Charles Timbrell in Fanfare Music Magazine. Recently the “Listener Magazine” reviewed enthusiastically Mr. Vassiliadis recordings confirming the “emergence of a major virtuoso performer” (P. Meanor, winter edition 1999). The first world wide recording of the Piano Sonatas by Allen Sapp was commented by the American Record Guide as one of the best recordings of 2001. Finally the Gramophone Magazine, includes Vassiliadis recording of the Brahms – Paganini Variations among the “selected discography of the 20th century” ( B. Morrison, March 2003).
Other CD’s (by Aardvark Media) include a Chopin Album, a Tchaikovsky Album, orchestra repertoire with the Chamber Music Orchestra of Tuebingen ( Germany) and the Fairbanks Symphony ( USA) , an all Liszt-Mozart transcriptions and two recordings with works of Mendellsohn, Brahms and Schumann with the Ionian Piano Quartet (Amicme Classical).
Mr. Vassiliadis appeared in solo concerts, radio and television broadcasts in Greece, as well as in many other countries (Germany, USA, South Africa, Italy, England, France); he also appeared with orchestras (Kammerphilarmonie Prague, National Symphony Prague, Bangok Symphony, State Orchestra of Thessaloniki, Orchestra of Colours, Athens, etc.) with a variety of repertoire including works like the 2nd Tchaikovsky concerto or Liszt’s Malediction.
Mr. Vassiliadis has received a position as the director of the Synchrono Conservatory in 1998, where he was teaching piano for the late four years. He has also been active as the artistic director of the «Vertiskos» Summer Courses and the Coordinator of the Piano Studies in the Conservatory of East Macedonia in Kavala-Greece.
Since November 2002, he is appointed Assistant Professor for Piano in the Ionian University, Department of Music, in Corfu, Greece. In year 2005 was appointed Representative of the International Relationships of the Department. He holds the Artistic Coordination of the International Summer Academy and Festival of Corfu, as well as the coordination of the International Music Days in Brache ( Schleswig Holstein, Germany) and the “Deutsch- Griechisch Musik Tage” in Solingen, Germany.
Lambis can be contacted at email@example.com.
ICIL 2012 Conference Gallery