Peter Jaszi is the 2007 recipient of the L. Ray Patterson Copyright Award: In Support of Users’ Rights. Jaszi is Professor of Law and Director of the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic at American University’s Washington College of Law.
The award will be presented at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, DC, on Monday, June 25, 2007.
An early leader and advocate for copyright law in the public interest, Professor Jaszi has been at the forefront of intellectual property and copyright law with a particular focus on promoting user interests. As an educator, he has encouraged students to explore and become actively engaged in all facets of copyright law. His vision and planning led to the founding of the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Law Clinic. The Clinic gives students “hands-on” experience in the field writing amicus briefs and working as law interns at library associations working on national policy issues.
Professor Jaszi has tackled the issues of user rights head-on by identifying the need for a broadly based coalition to represent the public interest when Congress revisited copyright law in the mid-1990s. He was one of the founders of the Digital Future Coalition (DFC), a 42-member group of library associations, public interest groups, and commercial entities representing the telecommunications, consumer electronics, computer, and network access industries. During the debate and passage of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the DFC realized early on that copyright was facing fundamental changes that could tip the balance of the law in favor of rights-holders. In addition, under his leadership, DFC played a key role in defeating database protection legislation that would have given copyright protection to facts.
A well-respected copyright scholar, Professor Jaszi has testified numerous times before House and Senate Committees on the importance of ensuring that the needs of the public were considered during Congress’ deliberations.
“Through his testimony before the Congress, Peter Jaszi has helped my colleagues better appreciate the importance of fair use to consumers, libraries and universities, technology companies, and society as a whole,” said Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA). “He has been a real inspiration to those of us fighting to restore balance to our copyright laws. With the intellectual support he has provided us, we ultimately will prevail.”
“Peter Jaszi has been an inspiration to me and many others in the copyright field both as a scholar and as an activist,” said Pamela Samuelson, Richard M. Sherman Distinguished Professor of Law & Information, University of California. “He brings to both roles an unparalleled depth of insight and concern for the public’s interests in balanced copyright law.”
Most recently, Professor Jaszi, with American University Professor Patricia Aufderheide, developed a copyright law statement and produced a DVD, Best Practices in Fair Use, which assists documentary filmmakers in exercising their fair use rights. An advisor and mentor to many, Professor Jaszi exemplifies all that L. Ray Patterson sought to promote and instill in others in his long and illustrious career.
The Patterson Copyright Award recognizes contributions of an individual or group that pursues and supports the Constitutional purpose of the U.S. Copyright Law, fair use, and the public domain. The award is named after L. Ray Patterson, a key legal figure who explained and justified the importance of the public domain and fair use. He helped articulate that copyright law was negatively shifting from its original purpose and overly favoring rights of copyright holders. His book, The Nature of Copyright: A Law of Users’ Rights is the definitive book on the constitutional underpinnings of copyright and the critical importance of the public domain.
Sponsored by the ALA Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) and the OITP Copyright Advisory Committee, the Patterson award is a crystal trophy.