Who is the anti-Lawrence Lessig in relation to US copyright?
November 29, 2006 12:29 PM   Subscribe

I am very familiar with Lawrence Lessig and his writings, particularly on copyright, but I thought it would only be fair to look at the other side. So, who are the biggest US names in pro-copyright/anti-Lessig law?

I'm specifically interested not in anti-lessig professors, but professors who are arguing to mantain or strengthen copyright laws as opposed to loosening them. While I am specifically looking for US law professors, if you could direct me to papers or books, it would be helpful. I have access to the usual research avenues of law students.

And last, yes I know that Lessig isn't anti-copyright. I just couldn't think of the anthesis of 'pro-user's rights'. Let's not dwell on this, please.

posted by evadery to Law & Government (10 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I don't think you'll find many learned people outside of The Industry. You might check the Congressional Record for the last few Mickey-Mouse-Preservation Act extensions.
posted by cmiller at 12:45 PM on November 29, 2006

posted by rhizome at 12:50 PM on November 29, 2006

Best answer: I think that Lessig isn't so much fighting a set of current professors as the conventional thinking in copyright. And that conventional thinking is sort of implicitly assumed in a lot of current writings. But the people who come immediately to mind include Jane Ginsburg and Steven Breyer (his article "The Uneasy Case for Copyright").

So if anything else, I would recommend reading some of the copyright classics. Randy Picker recently taught a seminar on this precise topic; its syllabus is here.
posted by raf at 12:56 PM on November 29, 2006

(Ginsburg, btw, is probably the most important one: her casebook is very very very pro-copyright. And she's Justice Ginsburg's daughter, so her ideas have some influence.)
posted by raf at 12:58 PM on November 29, 2006

Response by poster: Good call on Ginsburg - I'll check her stuff out. Any others? Keep 'em coming!
posted by evadery at 1:38 PM on November 29, 2006

Jack Valenti was often considered the "anti-Lessig" and his dream for copyright terms is "forever minus one day". You could probably just google the phrase and find all the mentions by him.
posted by mathowie at 2:16 PM on November 29, 2006

The legal academy is a poor place to look for advocates for the Man. Just as a lot of the best writing in favor of the death penalty is from prosecutors, a lot of the best writing in favor of an expansive copyright is from the private bar -- literally thousands of lawyers make livings defending intellectual property.

The websites of the IP departments of the big law firms is probably a good place to start in terms of finding white papers and client memoranda. It would also be helpful to look at the media industry amici briefs in Eldred, where Lessig and the entire "copyleft" went down to a famous defeat.
posted by MattD at 3:40 PM on November 29, 2006

Best answer: Although William Patry does not completely fit the bill, his blog, The Patry Copyright Blog, resists the common urge to view all copyright questions through radical glasses. The blog is "non-ideological" but you can find lots of persuasive and well-reasoning arguments stemming from existing law. He is also a titan in the field.
posted by Falconetti at 4:49 PM on November 29, 2006

Response by poster: So, oddly I've found in a bit more research, that apart from Ginsburg and the Columbia Law crew, there seem to be very few academics that aren't on the copy left side. Are there any moderates? There must be more than the Columbia profs...

Thanks for all your input thusfar.
posted by evadery at 5:47 PM on November 29, 2006

posted by caddis at 6:30 PM on November 29, 2006

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