4/25: The Future of Copyright in a Connected World: An Optimist’s View

April 25, 2007 12:30 pm

Thomas C. Rubin is Associate General Counsel and Assistant Secretary at Microsoft, where he heads the Copyright, Trademark and Trade Secret Group. He leads a 30-member team and strategically manages several of the most successful copyrighted works, most highly-valued brands and most valuable trade secrets in the world. At Microsoft since 1998, Tom spearheads complex product development, licensing, marketing and enforcement strategies across Microsoft’s business divisions for products including Windows, MSN/Windows Live, Microsoft Office and Xbox. He is also responsible for creating and promoting Microsoft’s positions on a broad range of intellectual property public policy issues such as fair use, peer-to-peer and digital rights management. Tom was an architect of Microsoft’s corporate compliance program and has had broad experience in a wide range of Internet, open source, network security and First Amendment issues.
Prior to Microsoft, Tom was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, where he was a pioneering prosecutor of computer, electronic and telecommunications crimes.
Prior to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Tom spent several years in private practice at Debevoise & Plimpton in New York, where he represented companies such as Sony Corporation, Time Inc. and Infinity Broadcasting Company in landmark intellectual property and media law matters. He also clerked for Judge Leonard B. Sand in the Southern District of New York and Chief Judge James L. Oakes in the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Prior to law school, Tom worked in the newsroom of The New York Times.
He has testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee and addressed the Intellectual Property Owners Association, Copyright Society of the USA, Fordham Conference on International IP Law & Policy and many other organizations.
Tom graduated with distinction from Yale University and Stanford Law School, where he currently serves on the Board of Visitors.This year has already seen another wave of conflicts and lawsuits between copyright owners and new technology, such as Viacom’s copyright infringement suit against YouTube last month. The events are reminiscent of the late 1990s/early 2000s, when companies like the original Napster and mp3.com were sued by record companies, except this time around the sharing of video is the focus of the controversy.

This talk will consider these recent developments in light of both those earlier disputes and recent advances in technology, and will assess where we are headed in the future. Contrary to some press reports, these legal and technological developments are not necessarily a signal of continued discord around copyright in the digital age. Instead, they can be seen as positive signs of a maturing environment that will provide increased benefits to all participants: consumers, creators and service providers.

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