Beating the crowds: A pre-emptive study of Teleportation Law

With a few days margin I finally got around to submitting my abstract for this years GikII which will be in London. The title is “Beating the crowds: A pre-emptive study of Teleportation Law”. This is among the coolest conferences as the people are smart and funny – and tend to explore the stranger sides of technology law.

The deadline is  August 13th 2012 – so there is still time for you to submit.

Here is my abstract:

Great strides are being made in the field of instantaneous transportation. Only recently (2006), physicists in Denmark and Germany passed gas over a distance of several hundred centimeters. Despite this great leap, scientists are still struggling with the concept of human teleportation.

To the cultural historian, however, the concept of teleportation (the shifting, usually instantaneously, of matter from one point to another without physically passing through the territory between the points) is well established. Teleportation appears in a plethora of sources: from the founding legend of the Kingdom of Champa to Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen and in almost every episode of Star Trek.

This lack of progress among physicists creates a window of opportunity for jurists to ensure that the necessary legal fundamentals are laid out in preparation for the scientific realization. This will ensure that, at least in this area, jurisprudence is not caught in the steel trap of Wendell Holmes’ pessimistic dictum of the law being inevitably behind the times.

In order to ensure that only the (current) laws of physics are broken it is necessary to look at teleportation from the several perspectives. The goal of this paper is to prepare an initial study over the necessary areas of law needed to successfully carry out human teleportation. It will, inter alia, look at criminal law, intellectual property, illegal downloading, privacy, protection of personhood, human rights, medical law and immigration issues.

With this paper the author hopes to demonstrate the ways in which technological breakthroughs require a reappraisal of existing legal attitudes and a revaluation of their underlying norms.

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