Press Release

Public Knowledge Presents Seventh IP3 Awards to Samuelson, Crawford, Geist and Paley

August 3, 2010 ,

Public Knowledge President Gigi B. Sohn announced that four winners have been chosen for the 2010 IP3 awards.  In addition, a special President’s Award will also be presented.  The name of that winner has not yet been disclosed.

This year, the awards will be given Pamela Samuelson, Susan Crawford, Michael Geist and Nina Paley.  Awards are given to individuals who over the past year (or over the course of their careers) who have advanced the public interest in one of the three areas of “IP” –Intellectual Property, Information Policy and Internet Protocol. The awards will be presented at a ceremony Oct. 13 in Washington, D.C.

Pamela Samuelson is recognized for her work in information policy.  Samuelson is one of the pioneers in all aspects of cyberlaw, having been one of the first to see the connections and contradictions between an emerging digital environment and the law.  Her scholarship, expertise and advocacy for reform range across crucial issues, ranging from privacy, copyright, freedom of expression, intellectual property and consumer protection, to name only a few items. The legal clinics she and her husband, Robert Glushko, have endowed across the country provide students practical experience in the public interest aspects of information and technology law.

Susan Crawford is the award winner in the Internet Protocol category.  Crawford is known as one of the foremost supporters of a free and open Internet, a position she supports in her writings, speeches and Congressional testimony.  She served in the White House as the Special Assistant to the President for Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy, advocating for Net-friendly policies.  She also was a member of the Obama transition team evaluating the Federal Communications Commission.  Earlier this year, she rejoined the faculty of the Cardozo Law School.

Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa, is recognized for his work in intellectual property.  Geist’s blog is a must-read for anyone in the field.  He writes in depth, and has organized opposition to, about Canadian copyright policies.  Over the past couple of years, however, he is best known for his work exposing and explaining the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Geist has been responsible for drafts of the treaty being made public, even as governments around the world wanted the texts kept secret, and for his analysis of the geopolitical politics behind the complex negotiations.

Nina Paley, a New York filmmaker, is being recognized for her work in intellectual property.  She created the animated film, Sita Sings The Blues, which mixes Hindu legend with her own life story.  She found, however, that while the 80-year-old songs she used in the film were in the public domain, use of them in a film was not, leading to copyright battles and high legal bills. The project took three years and put her $20,000 in debt.  She eventually released the film under a Creative Commons Share Alike license, writing on her Web site:  “Please distribute, copy, share, archive, and show Sita Sings the Blues. From the shared culture it came, and back into the shared culture it goes.”

The judges for this year’s competition were:

Shawn H. Chang, Majority Counsel, Communications and Technology Policy, House Committee on Energy and Commerce;

Amalia Deloney, Grassroots Policy Director, The Center for Media Justice;

Barbara van Schewick, Assistant Professor of Law and Faculty Director, Center for Internet and Society, Stanford Law School, Professor of Electrical Engineering (by Courtesy), Stanford University;

Siva Vaidhyanathan, Associate Professor of Media Studies, University of Virginia Law School;

Gwen Hinze, International Director, Electronic Frontier Foundation.