Chapter 7:
   Ethics and Justice in the Digital Visual Age

Cover photograph,
courtesy of Fredrick, Lederer

The authors talk about Chapter 7: Ethics and Justice in the Digital Visual Age

Bookmark and Share

Chapter 7, Ethics and Justice in the Digital Visual Age, reflects on the deep concerns about law’s digital visual revolution that have surfaced throughout the book. What ethical responsibilities do lawyers and trial consultants have with regard to the pictures they use? We propose and defend a set of good visual practices for those who make and display pictures. We then explore what the legal system can do to obtain more of the benefits from the advocates’ uses of new media – mainly, improved understanding of trial information and, as a result, more accurate and just decisions – while reducing the risks that those uses pose. The best course, we argue, is to welcome pictures as means of legal communication and persuasion, but to do so critically, and to give legal decision makers the tools they need to think and talk about the pictures they see so that they can use them wisely in reaching decisions. Good visual practices in the legal system can, we believe, set an example for the informed, critical consideration of pictures and multimedia in our digital visual culture as a whole.

Videos explaining science and technology:

Federal Judicial Center, An Introduction to the Patent System (2002), library/fjc_catalog.nsf/

XVIVO Scientific Animation,

Fredric Lederer is a leading scholar on courtroom technology. His Center for Legal and Court Technology (formerly Courtroom 21) at William and Mary Law School promotes teaching and research on the subject:

Picture ethics in journalism and science:

David Schlesinger, “The Use of Photoshop,”

Associated Press, “The Associated Press Statement of News Values and Principles,”

“A Brief Guide to Reuters Values and Standards”:

For best practices as outlined by the Scientific Working Group on Imaging Technologies, see:

Picture editing in advertising as ethical issue: “A Move to Curb Digitally Altered Photos in Ads “ by Eric Pfanner: NYTimes article

The documentary film and truth: On NPR, an interview with Patricia Aufderheide, professor and documentarian who explains the effort to interview documentary filmmakers anonymously about their ethical lapses: The full report is available at: Center for Social Media

Cultural bias in software:

Software is culture and reflects values as well as functions. The example we provide below is highly technical, but it’s precisely for that reason that we include it. Just scroll down to get the flavor if you are not technically minded.

Claims were made (see links below) that a manufacturer was making PC motherboards that only supported Windows Vista. Basic story:

Unfolding in the summer of 2008: Ubuntu forums, has to do with programming of hardware to carry bias. This is a site for techies to communicate.

Still technical talk but more narrative on the same issue:

Security questions:

Security expert Bruce Schneier has written about efforts to insert remote government and corporate control over personal computers through hardware; see, e.g., Bruce Schneier, “I’ve Seen the Future and it has a Kill Switch”:

Think those photographs have been deleted? See: NYTimes Photos