[rumori] pho: USAT: Sounding the cyber-rights alarm Pamela Samuelson prepares the public to repel Tinseltown lawyers' assaults

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Date: Sun Dec 31 2000 - 22:02:12 PST

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>Subject: pho: USAT: Sounding the cyber-rights alarm Pamela Samuelson
>prepares the public to repel Tinseltown lawyers' assaults
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>Sounding the cyber-rights alarm Pamela Samuelson prepares the public to repel
>Tinseltown lawyers' assaults
>By Elizabeth Weise
>Among those who consider the Internet a mecca for the free flow of
>Pamela Samuelson has been dubbed the ''goddess of copyright'' -- a brilliant
>law professor who decries the advances of the entertainment industry against
>the common Netizen and who has dedicated herself to the defense of basic
>individual rights.
>In Hollywood circles, however, she's been called ''the Antichrist.''
>The entertainment industry, she says, thinks it ''should control every single
>copy, wherever and whenever it's played, and have a pay-for-use system so that
>no one can ever share anything again,'' says Samuelson, 52. ''I think that's a
>fascist world. I wouldn't want to live in it.''
>She sounded the alarm early about what she sees as the shifting balance of
>power between those who own the rights to creative content -- music, books and
>so on -- and the consumers of those works in the digital era.
>With papers, speeches and conferences, she has helped stave off some of the
>worst erosion.
>''In every place that there's been a public policy mess on the verge of
>exploding because of copyright issues, she's organized a campaign,'' Stanford
>law professor Lawrence Lessig says. ''Many things that were going to be quite
>awful were not as awful because of her work.''
>But Samuelson realizes she can't do it alone. So she's training troops.
>In a bid to counter the concentration of entertainment industry lawyers
>streaming out of Los Angeles, she and her husband, Silicon Valley millionaire
>Robert Glushko, are personally funding two programs to train future
>lawyers and
>experts in information technology to work in public policy.
>The couple has given $2 million to endow the Samuelson Law, Technology and
>Public Policy Clinic at the University of California's Boalt Law School at
>Berkeley, where she teaches cyber-law, and a $1 million endowment to
>School of Information Management and Systems. Those programs will provide
>fellowships in information policy and e-commerce. The first students are
>expected in January.
>Samuelson says she and her husband felt a responsibility to make a new
>generation of lawyers realize the need for a less-business-oriented
>perspective. The extent of that need became clear at their first meeting with
>the head of Berkeley's law clinic program. She recalls that he said, ''Public
>interest and high tech, I don't get it. Where's the public interest?''
>''We said, 'Oh, my God, this is exactly why it's needed. Because high tech
>seems as if it's just about business, not about society. Darn it, it is about
>society,'' she says. ''Most of our students are going to go off and be
>lawyers. This program will allow them to become activists, to realize they can
>make a difference in the world.''
>In the coming decade, her students will fight the inevitable Napster-type
>Despite a few high-profile copyright court battles in the past year, the
>struggle for cyberspace is only beginning. Books, movies and television are
>just now joining the movement to the digital world. The music industry's
>efforts in that area have stumbled badly, overshadowed by far simpler and more
>accessible file-sharing systems. And sharing among Net users will become a
>stronger force as faster, always-on connections make swapping TV episodes as
>easy as swap-ping songs.
>New freedom increases threats
>Long before most people in the online world realized what was happening,
>Samuelson saw that attempts by the entertainment industry to rewrite copyright
>laws to protect movies and music from digital pirates could overturn the
>centuries-old rights of users.
>In the past, a copyright was precisely that -- only the author or publisher of
>a book had the right to make copies of it. After purchasing it, the reader was
>free to sell, lend or give away that copy.
>In the digital age, copyrights blur. Give a friend a CD, and she has it; you
>don't. E-mail her an MP3 song file, and she has it, but you do, too. Someone's
>getting it free.
>Recording companies and movie studios began to realize that if users could
>one perfect digital copy for a friend, they could just as easily make 1,000.
>Intense lobbying on the part of the entertainment industry resulted in the
>passage of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in 1998. In addition to
>protecting content creators, the law curtailed the rights of readers and other
>users to material they had purchased and made it illegal for anyone to
>circumvent technological protections placed on digital content -- even if they
>had paid for the content.
>Samuelson accuses Hollywood of ignoring user rights to single-mindedly protect
>its interests. Of special concern to her and others is how the traditional
>of ''fair use'' is being erased in the digital world. The right to share a
>of a work you own -- the concept at the heart of the fair-use doctrine --
>disappears under the new law.
>Because sending an article electronically requires making a copy, she says,
>''even if I destroy the copy on my hard drive, the content industry says, 'Oh,
>no, you can't ever share any information. You're stealing from the publisher.'
>Instead of users being able to sell or give away their copies of an electronic
>book, for example, as they can with printed ones, they might need to log on to
>a publisher's central database and transfer the digital rights -- for a fee.
>Big Brother could be watching
>Another red flag Samuelson raises is the specter of Big Brother destroying
>personal privacy. ''If you license something, they can build in a monitor to
>keep track of what you read.''
>The copyright owners don't see it that way. ''The debate is whether the old
>doctrines apply when technology allows you to pursue a new business model that
>you couldn't before,'' says Cary Sherman, general counsel of the Recording
>Industry Association of America. He believes that the new possibilities of the
>digital world more than make up for some lost abilities.
>In his digital future, not being able to mail a copy of a scholarly article to
>a friend is balanced by the fact that instead of paying a high price for a
>paper subscription to a journal and filling the basement with back issues, the
>subscriber will pay far less for a digital version. So having to pay a small
>amount to send a copy to a friend isn't unreasonable.
>But Samuelson believes that losing the right to easily share academic source
>material is completely unreasonable -- and a threat to long-held methods of
>education and research.
>In academic and policy spheres, Samuelson is seen as a gentlewoman scholar
>a tireless devotion to the public interest.
>''She believes very deeply that copyright exists for the greater public good,
>not as a welfare program for copyright holders,'' says Lolly Gasaway, law
>professor at the University of North Carolina. ''She's absolutely brilliant,
>and she cares.''
>Samuelson didn't start out as a crusader, though she inherited from her
>Norwegian farmer forebears ''a strong responsibility streak,'' she says.
>Her cross-country odyssey
>Born in Seattle and raised in the apple-growing town of Yakima, Wash., she
>yearned for warm weather when the time came for college and headed to the
>University of Hawaii in Honolulu. After earning a master's in political
>science, she went to Yale Law School, getting a law degree in 1976.
>After six years in private practice in New York, she joined the faculty at the
>University of Pittsburgh Law School. There she met her future husband,
>psychologist-turned-technologist Glushko, while working on a project at
>Carnegie Mellon University. He had a master's in software engineering and a
>doctorate in cognitive psychology.
>Although her interests have always been broad, she counts Glushko's influence
>as a large part of the reason she became interested in technology. She'd tag
>along to his conferences and find herself caught up in the legal ramifications
>of the emerging digital world. ''My imagination would start. 'Whirr, whirr,
>whirr! Oh, my God! What's the law going to do about this?' '' she recalls.
>Soon, Samuelson was being asked to give keynote addresses at Glushko's
>conferences. She had the rare ability to explain the law to engineers and
>engineering to lawyers. Her place in the computer world was ensured by a
>on technology and legal issues she began in 1989 for The Communications of the
>Association for Computing Machinery, a venerable publication.
>Glushko moved from Pittsburgh into the Silicon Valley fray in 1986, and the
>couple had a commuter marriage until 1996. Then Samuelson, who longed to
>combine her interests in law and the social policy of information, was offered
>appointments at Berkeley's School of Information Management and Systems
>and its
>School of Law.
>Sharing two big payoffs
>In 1997, her intellectual-property work earned her a MacArthur ''genius''
>award. Samuelson says she thought for about ''two minutes about going off to
>Hawaii, renting a little cottage and thinking deep thoughts.'' But her
>commitment to critiquing the social implications of technology won out,
>and she
>used the money for additional research assistants instead.
>It was a dry run for an even bigger windfall. Glushko's Veo Systems, which
>helped automate commerce between computers, was acquired by Commerce One in
>1999. Commerce One then went public in one of the most profitable stock
>offerings of that year.
>In addition to the two programs at Berkeley, the couple endowed a $1 million
>scholarship at the University of Washington in Seattle. The Dovie Samuelson
>Endowed Scholarship, in honor of Samuelson's grandmother, will pay for a
>four-year science or technology degree for up to five outstanding female
>scholars a year.
>For themselves, the couple did little more than remodel their Berkeley house.
>Winding down an interview, Samuelson issues one last warning: Remember that
>''for the first 200 years, copyright and censorship went hand in hand. Works
>wouldn't get published without permission. Copyright was an instrument of
>suppression of speech.''
>She says we mustn't be fooled into thinking that the way copyright functions
>today is how it must work in the future. As she wrote in a recent paper on the
>history of copyright, the choices we make now ''will have profound
>for the kind of information society in which we will be living in the 21st
> Copyright 2000 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.
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