I’ll try to keep this brief and get back to golf soon. As most of you know, my main profession is as an entertainment and intellectual property attorney with a strong focus on the confluence of media and the internet. (OK…as well as representing rock bands and record cos and actresses;) Many of you also know I represent several of the NYC kids sued for downloading music off the Internet from P2P sites. I need to take a moment to promote three excellent people on my blog roll – Ian Clarke (Freenet), Wayne Rosso (Mashboxx) and David Wadler. The tech savvy among you may know Ian and Wayne from their well publicized battles with big media over the fact that users of their technology get IP for free when copyright law says the content owner is entitled to payment.
As a creator of IP myself, I have a deep respect for copyrights and I deeply believe in the dual goals of our copyright law – to insure creators get fair compensation while also assuring that the public gets the ability to benefit from IP’s dissemination. Many, including at one time myself, were strongly against some of the beliefs and policy interpretations of copyright law that Ian and Wayne had. Through reading Ian’s blog and through studying Wayne’s new legitimate and major record label sanctioned new internet music download site Mashboxx, I have gained much greater insight as to their thoughts on IP policy and law and have learned that making my own positions more flexible will actually help promote moving the dual goals of copyright law into synch with our recent great technological advances. They may be controversial figures to big media and their battles may be sensationalized by the New York Times, but make no mistake – they are the two most authoritative voices in the field of the Internet and media today (well, also Fred Von Lohmann of the Electronic Frontier Foundation). I feel privileged and honored to consider them colleagues and have learned a great deal from their writings and technologies and encourage anyone remotely interested to go to their sites or google them to learn more about this seminal issue facing us as a community.
While I don’t necessarily agree with everything they say – that’s OK – as my dear friend and client Biz Ellis of the fantastic all female comedy group MEAT says “You don’t have to think like me, you just have to think” or as I like to say – God loves wonderous variety, all shapes and sizes. Rest assured, legal colleagues of mine – I still take my “yea rah rah copyright law” middle of the road stance of “let’s just tweak the laws we have rather than scrap everything and start over.” After all – I would be very disappointed if I should have to prosecute my IP rights against an infringer. I’d probably do it more because the law requires me to (see the doctrine of waiver if you are interested.) I just think there is a great opportunity to learn from some of the most fascinating movers and shakers we have in the world.
Finally, David Wadler is a rising star in the world of software development and a really nice person to boot. The son of two superlative people himself, he disproves the old adage that genius skips a generation. Check out his great catch all blog covering tech, sports and life in general.
So how are golf and IP the same? Easy. Each is a microcosm of life in general 1) They are lifelong endeavors at which we will spend our lives becoming “less dumb.” Look at Tiger and Vijay…they still revamp all aspects of their game knowing full well golf is the game of a lifetime (as they say at the PGA of America) We are forever changing and challenging ourselves which makes us grow as people. 2) They offer us a chance to expand our horizons by meeting and interacting with new and fascinating people. 3) They give us a chance to show our true character…lady and gentleman seriously understanding their role as members of a collective society – or not…4) each is a bottomless treasure trove of wonder, integrity and legacy. Revere the past, forge the future. Perhaps Mark twain had it best…”20 years from now, you’ll be more disappointed by what you didn’t do, than what you did…so explore dream discover…” and one more thing share, but respect what is others as well. Its not that difficult.
OK…now back to our regularly scheduled long form coursae reviews…Hit ’em STRAIGHT…and not very often.