Mass Law Blog

I Was a Guest on URBusiness Network’s “CHAOS Tuesday” Internet Radio Show

by | Oct 3, 2013

Whew, that is a mouthful.  I was a teenage werewolf?  No, I was a guest on URBusiness Network’s CHAOS Tuesday Internet Radio Show. Here’s what it means.

URBusiness Network, or “URBN,” is, in its own words, an “online radio station streaming 24/7 with business specific programing.”  This is, needless to say, not your father’s radio station. In fact, it is “radio” only by analogy. Think “entirely new business technology model made possible by increases in Internet bandwidth.” In other words, this is a relatively new industry, with minimal barriers to entry (low cost, no FCC regulation) and unlimited geographic reach. URBN is a small but serious player in this market.

One of the many Internet radio shows URBN produces is “CHAOS Tuesday,” the brainchild of Jim Johnson, founder of The Standish Group.  The Standish Group is an organization with expertise in large (and I mean very large) software projects.  Many large software implementation projects to over cost or fail, and Standish’s mission is to figure out why and try to reduce the frequency of failure.

One of my clients retained Standish to consult in a litigation involving a large software implementation, and I made the acquaintance of Jim Johnson. Recently, he asked me if I would be a guest on The Standish Group’s weekly Internet radio show, CHAOS Tuesday, hosted by URBN. I agreed to discuss the Communications Decency Act (the “CDA”), a federal statute which relieves Internet hosts of liability for content posted by users (excluding copyright violations, which are covered by the DMCA, and violations of federal criminal law). This is a hugely important statute which, to a significant extent, defines the social media elements of  the Internet. Without it you would not be able to read Amazon and Yelp reviews, and it’s questionable whether social media such as Facebook and Twitter would even exist.

In September I visited URBN’s beautiful offices in Woburn, Mass., where Jim Johnson and Rick Brutti, one of URBN’s founders (with the help of his talented and extremely friendly staff), hosted the show.

Despite the fact that one of the show’s hosts (along with Jim Johnson and me, URBN had two hosts in the studio, for a total of four people “on-air”) mangled both “Gesmer” and “Updegrove,” after a few rocky minutes at the start the show settled down and I was able to provide some commentary on the CDA — although nowhere nearly as much as I had prepared or the law deserves.

I learned two things from this experience: first, before you go into the studio make sure the host can pronounce your name; and second, you can’t anticipate every problem (yes, I already knew that).

You can listen to the show here: CHAOS Tuesday #25 (hint: click on “Listen to the Radio Show ….”).