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Professor Samuelson's (aka Ms. Fair Use ;-)
 Papers on Copyright

News Social aspects of the BSD vs. GPL debate Recommended Links Selected Papers Fair Use Reverse Engineering Random Findings Etc
  There needs to be enough intellectual-property protection to give people incentive to engage in creative efforts and to be willing to make the fruits available to a broader public.

But if the protection gets too strong, it can impede innovation rather than foster it.

The balancing principle is a very longstanding tradition, and that balancing principle is under challenge right now.

Professor Samuelson (as sited in

I actually come across the first paper of Professor Samuelson accidentally either in IEEE software or Communications of the ACM in late 1993. I was really impressed by the fact that unlike many copyright law commentators these days,  Samuelson's underlying social conscience puts her on the side of the little guy.

I think that the most important part of her works is the advocacy of the fair use principle as well as the necessity of periodic tuning, rebalancing between interests of software authors, uses, contributors and copyright holders. For that contribution I would call her Ms. Fair Use ;-). Here is how Peter Jaszi, a copyright professor at American University's Washington College of Law who has worked closely with Ms. Samuelson characterized her contribution to the field:

Pam was the leading academic commentator on that issue and the person who, through her writings, most clearly and fully articulated the reasons to be concerned about the risk of overprotection of software -- risks to the process of innovation itself. This would not have come out the way it did if not for Pam's early, consistent, creative efforts in both sounding the alarm and proposing a solution."

Since 1996 she is a professor of law and information management at the University of California at Berkeley and co-director of the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology.

In 1997, her intellectual-property work earned her a MacArthur ''genius'' award.

In 2000 she and her husband Robert Glushko endowed a $1 million scholarship at the University of Washington in Seattle. The Dovie Samuelson Endowed Scholarship, in honor of Samuelson's grandmother, will pay for a four-year science or technology degree for up to five outstanding female scholars a year.

See image at pam-samuelson -- declan mccullagh photos;  For additional information about her in the press I can recommend two articles:

  1. Pamela Samuelson Cyber-rights guardian

    Her place in the computer world was ensured by a column on technology and legal issues she began in 1989 for The Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery, a venerable publication

    She says we mustn't be fooled into thinking that the way copyright functions today is how it must work in the future. As she wrote in a recent paper on the history of copyright, the choices we make now ''will have profound consequences for the kind of information society in which we will be living in the 21st century.''

  2. The recent WSJ Article contains an interesting summary of her work

    Though it's impossible to know the extent of Ms. Samuelson and her fellow scholars' influence on the courts in this matter, colleagues say her work had an impact. "Pam was the leading academic commentator on that issue and the person who, through her writings, most clearly and fully articulated the reasons to be concerned about the risk of overprotection of software -- risks to the process of innovation itself," says Peter Jaszi, a copyright professor at American University's Washington College of Law who has worked closely with Ms. Samuelson. "This would not have come out the way it did if not for Pam's early, consistent, creative efforts in both sounding the alarm and proposing a solution."

    Ms. Samuelson's work at the time also provided a theoretical guidepost for Susan Braden, a lawyer at Baker & McKenzie in Washington, D.C. Ms. Braden served as a defense lawyer in a copyright-infringement lawsuit unfolding at the same time as the Borland suit, Computer Associates International Inc. vs. Altai Inc. Computer Associates alleged that Altai had used elements of Computer Associates software in designing a program.

    At the time, there was nothing in the case law for Ms. Braden to hang her defense on, so Ms. Samuelson's work helped her form her ideas; she even appended one of Ms. Samuelson's briefs from the Borland case to her court filing. Ultimately, the court found that Altai didn't infringe on copyright.

    "I think the main thing Samuelson did was a lot of pioneering work on concepts that at the time were close to heresy," Ms. Braden says. "Samuelson challenged copyright creep -- people thinking they had an automatic entitlement to copyright protection."

Dr. Nikolai Bezroukov

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Pamela Samuelson home page at Berkeley

Samuelson Law, Technology, and Public Policy Clinic Home

Law & Contemporary Problems

Selected Papers

Reverse Engineering

[Dec 30, 2001] The Law & Economics of Reverse Engineering by Prof. Pamela Samuelson.

Fair Use

Anti-Circumvention Rules Threaten Science 293 Science 2028 (Sep 14, 2001)

Towards More Sensible Anti-Circumvention Regulations Proceedings of Financial Cryptography 2000 Conference (forthcoming 2000).

Self-Plagiarism or Fair Use?, Communications of the ACM (vol. 37, no. 8, Aug. 1994)

[Samuelson1994] Samuelson, P. "Copyright, Digital Data, and Fair Use in Digital Networked Environments," Online Paper, S.D. 08/03/94.

[Samuelson1991] Samuelson, P. "Is information property? (Legally Speaking)," 34 Communications of the ACM, (March 1991).

[Samuelson1996] Samuelson, P. "On Authors' Rights in Cyberspace: Questioning the Need for New International Rules on Authors Rights in Cyberspace," 4 First Monday, (October 7, 1996).

Samuelson, P. "The Copyright Grab," Wired, Archive | 4.01 - Jan 1996.

Samuelson, Pamela "Does Information Really Want to Be Licensed?" 4 The J. of Elect. Pub., (March, 1999), ISSN 1080-2711.

Samuelson, P. "Intellectual Property and the Digital Economy: Why the Anti-Circumvention Regulations Need to Be Revised," Online Article, (1999). This paper is an outgrowth of work initially done for an Emory Law School conference on the law of cyberspace held in February 1996. The draft article produced for that conference entitled Technical Protection for Copyrighted Works discussed a 1995 legislative proposal for regulating the circumvention of technical protection systems.

Samuelson, P. and R. J. Glushko "Intellectual Property Rights for Digital Library and Hypertext Publishing Systems, 6 Harvard J. of Law & Tech., (1993). URL:

Random Findings - Article

Linux Today - USA Today Pamela Samuelson Cyber-rights guardian; Copyright Antichrist ).



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