I attended a really fun reception last night at the fancy Hotel Vitale in San Francisco hosted by Harvard Law School's Berkman Center. One of the co-hosts was Pam Samuelson, that amazing law and technology professor at UC Berkeley whose work and writings are extremely important in the field of IP and internet rights.
During the reception, Pam was asked to tell us about the most exciting thing she's working on these days. Her answer explained that she'll be heading over to be a visiting professor at Harvard next year (which makes me a tiny bit sad because it means she won't be so close to us here in the Bay Area and I have this little irrational fear she may not come back - gasp!), and that her big project for the next 5 years is to fix the copyright act. Yes, that's right, Pam Samuelson's going to take on the the 200-plus page behemoth, which is filled with special interest carve outs, archane and sometimes seriously confusing language, and -- not unlike the tax code -- is simply unwieldy for something that so greatly impacts our rights to share knowledge, build culture, create beautiful art and astounding new technologies, and (simply) speak freely.
I think her project simultaneous fantastic and so needed on the one hand, and somewhat impossible on the other! And for that, I love that she's taking it on. We should give our support to Pam and this project, and pay close attention to how the parties who stand to gain/lose from changes get involved. Many voices in the debate will, I hope, lead to great results and powerful changes in our copyright laws.