11 September 2017
My name is Stefano Liebman and I have been Professor of Labor Law here at Bocconi University since 1995.
As Dean of the School of Law I have the great pleasure to welcome you to Bocconi and to the first edition of the LL.M. in Law of Internet Technology.
The LL.M. in Law of Internet Technology, with its outstanding program, faculty and candidates, is a unique program that aims to become a reference point at the international level for the law of the Internet, technology and digital environments.
For years, part of the faculty of the Bocconi University School of Law has been at the forefront of this area of the law, where the challenges of tomorrow become the pressing concerns of today.
From the protection of technological creativity and innovation through intellectual property rights to the national and international regulation of the digital world and working conditions in digitally mediated environments, our faculty has built a solid expertise on the subject and has been recognized by several other top-tier academic institutions around the world.
This is the reason why such an ambitious program has taken off with so great a success, together with the constant attention that our School of Law, rated as one of the top law schools in Italy and Europe, reserves to the real needs of the legal profession in practice.
The high demand for brilliant legal professionals trained to address and resolve the challenges that technology and technological progress pose to the law has not been met at the national, European and international level by an equally qualified "supply". Indeed, there still exists a huge gap in the legal market. Law firms, national and multinational companies, governments and international institutions still strive to find legal professionals able to reply to the complex question of how
law and technology interact.
Indeed, the problems that this
interaction creates have been at the center of innumerable and never-ending debates.
The main question of whether the law should follow technological progress or whether technological progress should follow the law is still pressing. Also, how the law should follow technology and should, concurrently, regulate technology is another fundamental matter.
Philosophers, intellectuals and thinkers of all kind have addressed these questions. From Protagora to Marcuse, the point is still controversial.
In his dialogue on "Protagora", and more specifically in the context of his interpretation of the myth of Prometheus, Plato makes Protagora warn men that technology and progress, which can be identified with the fire stolen by Prometheus from the gods, has to be used wisely. And what could be the role of the law if not to ensure that fire, that is, technology, is used wisely and usefully?
Similarly, centuries after these reflections, Herbert Marcuse inextricably connects technology to humankind and gives centrality to what he calls "technological rationality". Marcuse’s reflections on how mass technological societies are controlled and how some totalitarian regimes have been favored by the development of mass technologies are a warning not simply to apply law to technological progress in general, but to apply good law to create constructive governance system that positively leverage on technology.
In this sense, let us not forget also that the second categorical imperative of Kant, as reinterpreted by Hans Jonas, envisages that technology be used in favor of future generations' rights - a role, the one to direct technological progress in this direction, that has to be played first and foremost by the law!
It goes without saying that preparing today the professionals of tomorrow in such a complex area is no easy task. But this is not daunting for us: it is a task that we are certain we can accomplish. In order to do it, we have taken into account a number of key elements.
First, of course, a thorough knowledge of the law and the relationship between the law and technology and digital environments is necessary. To acquire that, you will be able to meet and attend lectures held by the most renowned experts in the world of each single topic addressed in the LL.M., from patents, trademarks and copyright to the right to be forgotten and human rights on the Internet, just to mention a few subjects.
Second, taking into consideration the fast-paced evolution of technological and digital environments, this knowledge has to be coupled with intellectual dynamism and flexibility. To this end, you will have to test yourself and you will be challenged by different teaching methods, diverse expectations, different assignment and exam formats - suffice it to say that you will have professors coming from a remarkable number of countries, from the United States to Belgium and the Netherlands, from Israel to Singapore, passing, at least "intellectually", through France, Spain and Switzerland.
This testifies to the truly international nature of our program, something that will help you gain the expertise and flexibility needed to become a professional in the law of internet technology.
Third, and even more important, we are already building a brilliant group of LL.M. candidates...."you"!
This is not a program made for us, for the University in itself, but a program for you, with the certainty that you will be able to live up to our expectations and to the high intellectual demands that the LL.M. in Law of Internet Technology requires.
Our LL.M. is devised to help you further develop your already excellent skills and empower you. You have been selected among many: the selection procedure you have gone through has been long and meticulous, based on a number of successive rounds where all the applications received have been evaluated from all angles.
We are sure that our attention to quality and our ideal of creating a personal relationship with each and every one of you, which, by the way, is one of the hallmarks of the Bocconi educational experience, will be rewarding - both for you and for us!
In sum, all the ingredients of a satisfying and delicious recipe have already been put together. It is now time to wait for the result, that I am sure will be as positive as its premises.
Professor Laurent Manderieux, who is the Director of the program, will now give you more details on some of these "ingredients" as he presents the structure of our LL.M. and how compulsory courses and optional courses intersect with each other. My personal gratitude goes to him for his extraordinary engagement in the successful construction of the faculty and, more broadly, of the entire program along with other members of the Directive Committee, professors Paola Gaeta, Maria Lillà Montagnani and Oreste Pollicino.
With all this in mind, I wish to welcome you one more time to the Bocconi community, certain that you will greatly contribute to it and that you will find here a place to fully realize your intellectual and professional aspirations.
Dean, School of Law