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Donna Wentworth
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Ernest Miller
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Elizabeth Rader
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Jason Schultz
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Wendy Seltzer
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Aaron Swartz
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Alan Wexelblat
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About this weblog
Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this weblog are those of the authors and not of their respective institutions.

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In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

Copyfight

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April 19, 2004

IAAC - I Am A Copyfighter

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Posted by

Erik Heels, noting that he'd been classified in Copyfight's blogroll(s) under "Linkable + Thinkable" rather than "Copyfighters," asks: "Can an attorney who makes his living practicing intellectual property law also be a copyfighter?"

He goes on to say that he believes that the goals of copyright law are "valid and good," but that the Copyright Act "has been tweaked and modified far too much." He classifies both the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA) and Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) as bad law, and finds the trend toward more rights for corporations and fewer for individuals "troubling."

Concludes Heels:

"I don't always agree with other engineers, lawyers, or business people, especially if I feel they don't understand the 'how' of the technology, the 'why' of the law, or the 'so what' of business. And don't get me wrong, I like being called 'linkable and thinkable.' But if 'copyfighter' means 'one who fights against bad copyright laws (and for smarter business practices),' then I am a copyfighter."

I couldn't agree more. An excellent definition. Welcome to "Copyfighters," Erik.

Comments (3) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Misc.


COMMENTS

1. anonymous attorney on April 19, 2004 3:21 PM writes...

The problem is even worse than that. I would say that the majority of IP practitioners I know believe that there are flaws in the system including that: (1) the copyright system is broken and inefficient, and overcompensates some copyright holders while undercompensating other copyright holders as well as the public, and (2) the patent system's standards for granting patents need correction, as the PTO examination process has recently become extended (3-6 years in "popular" areas like e-commerce and biotech) and sometimes downright arbitrary and random in its decisions, in the view of some practitioners.

This view is especially popular with practitioners under 30 (who grew up with the internet meme) and over 60 (who practiced in the pre 1979 copyright era and before the Federal Circuit), while those in the middle think strong IP is just fine. This is an overgeneralization, and paints with a broad brush, but I've heard it many times in a more candid moment.

Nonetheless, for everyone in the industry, the interests of clients -- who are often (but not always) served by strong IP protection -- prevent public outcries by the IP bar.

-Anonymous Practitioner

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2. Matt Perkins on April 19, 2004 8:17 PM writes...

This raises a question I've had for a while: the lawyer's role is to advocate for his client's interests, but it is a different role to advocate for the public's interests. For the advocate, a strategy to win a case probably doesn't often match the strategy to nullify a bad law, or to correct a bad precedent.

How can a "copyfighter" (one who seeks to change the law, using novel or risky strategies) also be an advocate, without the spectre of legal malpractice or without abandoning his principes?

I hope this isn't an inflammatory question, or anything. IANAL.
--matt perkins (humble non-lawyer guy)

Permalink to Comment

3. Foreclosed homes on August 18, 2004 5:28 PM writes...

No money down

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