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USA Today: Pamela Samuelson: Cyber-rights guardian; Copyright "Antichrist"

Jan 03, 2001, 17:58 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Elizabeth Weise)

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"Among those who consider the Internet a mecca for the free flow of information, 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."

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