Center at UMass Amherst to Host Online Conference Exploring Dispute Resolution in Cyberspace

AMHERST, Mass. - The Center for Information Technology and Dispute Resolution (CITDR) at the University of Massachusetts is sponsoring a five-day, online series of workshops, discussions, courses, and software demonstrations on resolving disputes that arise in cyberspace. The event is being called Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) CyberWeek 2000 and will run from February 14-19.

The CITDR focuses on understanding online conflicts and creating new tools and approaches for working with individuals involved in disputes, according to its co-director, Ethan Katsh. The growth of electronic commerce has focused attention on the need for online forms of dispute resolution, Katsh says. New methods for resolving online conflicts are being reviewed by the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Commerce, he says.

Katsh, a professor of legal studies at UMass, says ADR CyberWeek can serve several critical functions in the fast-changing world of cyberspace. For example, there are many new ventures on the Web concerned with online conflict, he says. "There is a brand new all-online system for resolving domain name disputes," Katsh says. "And last spring we mediated more than 150 disputes arising out of eBay online auctions."

Participants will also be able to engage in online simulations, discuss techniques with an online mediator and arbitrator, examine new research, and consider special issues that might not be present in offline alternative dispute resolution. "The overall goal is to help people see the Web as a positive communication resource that can be used to settle disputes," Katsh says.

NOTE: The online address for ADR CyberWeek is http://www.umass.edu/cyber. For information about the conference, contact Katsh at the CITDR web site located at http://www.umass.edu/dispute, call 413/545-5879, or e-mail katsh@legal.umass.edu.