Law in the Internet Society

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KateVershov1stPaper 6 - 02 Feb 2009 - Main.EbenMoglen
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Columbia Needs a Digital Rights Clinic

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 As I mentioned, if there are other ways or more effective ways of protecting rights online, I'm open to them. I don't think the RIAA work is necessarily the only thing such a clinic ought to focus on.

-- KateVershov - 11 Dec 2008

  • The RIAA's recent announcement of a decision to forego future lawsuits against music users responds, I think, to their appreciation that they were pushing matters to this tipping point. David Carsons's speech at Columbia on February 3rd, at which there should certainly be protests, is an attempt by an outward-bound Copyright Office functionary to earn himself a spot on the trade associations' high-earner hit parade, but all the bluster in the world about "making the making available right available" won't change the fact that their tactics have busted. Now the industry will go back to work trying to influence the network providers into doing their work for them, and whether a Columbia Law School clinic would be effective in interfering in the relationship between Sony and Verizon is a somewhat different question.

  • Your essay gives the impression that the reason Columbia doesn't have a clinic doing this work is that I and others have been too lazy to establish one. This impression is false. During the last deanship, David Leebron turned down the money Pamela Samuelson offered to establish a Samuelson clinic at CLS. The official reason was that he didn't believe the money was "really there." The actual reason was that I would have been the one empowered by it. During this present deanship, David Schizer has explicitly preferred to remain at "arms' length" from my activities, even when those activities would have given resources to the law school rather than consumed them. Under those circumstances, I have simply preferred to do what needed to be done without troubling the law school for the resources, or the courage, necessary to do them. I have, as you well know, employed many Columbia students and alums in that work, paying real wages as well as affording educational opportunities. I have defended those whose defenses could assist the public interest, and I have done other work to sabotage the "owners'" campaigns for injustice in ways that aren't written about now, and--for all I know--may remain obscure forever.

  • This isn't about me, or even us. This is about you. If you and your colleagues actively demand that you be given the chance to work on the destruction of the "owners'" oppressive system, there are at least two and possibly more members of the faculty who would be willing to change what they do enough to accommodate your needs. A digital rights clinic at Columbia doesn't exist now because students haven't indicated a forcible determination to see one exist.

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Revision 6r6 - 02 Feb 2009 - 20:04:21 - EbenMoglen
Revision 5r5 - 11 Dec 2008 - 01:48:08 - KateVershov
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