Press Releases and Media Advisories

Media Advisory

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

ATTENTION: Higher education, technology, legal reporters

Copyright Law: a 300-year old tradition in need of legal reform

Contact: Susan Gluss, (510) 642-6936,

WHAT: A two-day symposium that will examine the origins of copyright law and its evolution over time. Participants will explore a wide range of concerns about contemporary copyright law, such as effective legal enforcement, protecting consumer rights in the marketplace, and the challenges of ushering copyright law into the digital age.

Participants include academics, practitioners, and other copyright experts from Cambridge University, Columbia Law School, Microsoft, and Warner Brothers; along with the U.S. Register of Copyrights and a Ninth Circuit Court Judge.

Sponsored by the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology (BCLT) and the Berkeley Technology Law Journal at UC Berkeley School of Law; the High Tech Law Institute of Santa Clara University Law School; the Copyright Society of the USA and its Northern California chapter.


Friday-Saturday, April 9-10, 8:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m.


The Claremont Hotel Club & Spa, 41 Tunnel Road, Berkeley, CA 94705


A selection of participants includes:

-Marybeth Peters, U.S. Register of Copyrights, Keynote Address

-Hon. Margaret McKeown, Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, Keynote Address

-Jane C. Ginsburg, Professor, Columbia Law School, speaking about the evolving conceptions of authors and owners

-Fred von Lohmann, Staff Attorney, Electronic Frontier Foundation, examining copyright exceptions and limitations

-Jeremy Williams, Sr. Vice Pres. and Deputy General Counsel, Warner Bros. Entertainment, speculating on the future of copyright law

-Pamela Samuelson, Professor, UC Berkeley School of Law, discussing her recent work with the Copyright Principles Project

For a complete list of speakers and conference agenda, go to

DETAILS: Event is free for media. For more information on the conference or interview requests, please contact David Grady, assistant director of BCLT:, 510-642-3702. MCLE credit will be available for conference attendees.

BACKGROUND: 2010 marks the 300th anniversary of The Statute of Anne, the first modern copyright law, enacted in 1710 by the English Parliament. The Statute provided a basic protective framework for the purpose of encouraging learned men to write books. It vested rights in authors; it allowed copyright in newly created books; and it limited a copyright to an initial term of fourteen years (followed by a second fourteen years if the author was still living at the end of the first term), and more.

Symposium participants will look back at the law’s influence on the history and evolution of the Anglo-American copyright tradition. Participants will also look forward and explore how the lessons from history might help policy-makers surmount the challenges that loom in the twenty-first century. Contemporary challenges include ensuring that copyright functions effectively in the face of rapid technological change and the radical transformation of public access to information, while maintaining the fundamental balance between protecting works of authorship and promoting free speech, free expression, and democratic values.