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as reported in National Journal's Technology Daily
Public Knowledge, a advocacy group for intellectual property policy, last week recognized three people for their work in that arena.
The first annual IP3 awards were given to: Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va.; Brian Burton, a New York disc jockey known as DJ Danger Mouse; and Internet entrepreneur and Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle.
For years, Boucher has been a prime ally for Public Knowledge on Capitol Hill. He sponsored a bill, H.R. 107, to amend the Digital Millennium Copyright Act so consumers could bypass encryption on digital entertainment projects for "fair uses" protected under copyright law. While the bill has not moved in nearly two years, it generated a significant amount of opposition and lobbying activity from entertainment industry lobbyists.
Burton gained notoriety earlier this year when he sent several promotional copies of an album he created that was a remix of rapper Jay-Z's The Black Album and The Beatles' White Album. He called it The Grey Album. It ended up on the Internet, where it sparked controversy when EMI, the recording label that owns the rights to the White Album, sent Burton a cease-and-desist letter. He complied, but a group of activists on the Internet then decided to post the album on their sites.
At the awards ceremony, Public Knowledge President Gigi Sohn said her organization chose Burton because the controversy highlighted the negative impact of restrictive copyright laws on artistic genres like hip hop.
Kahle received his award for his work at the Internet Archive. He founded the archive in 1996 with the goal of giving the world universal access to "all of human knowledge" by storing it digitally online. He has been a key proponent of fighting for intellectual property laws that would unlock books and other materials from obscurity.
Many books still fall under copyright protection because of the length of the copyright terms, but they are out of print and accessible on a more limited basis than materials whose copyrights have expired, many of which Kahle has stored at the archive.