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Faculty Duo Joins National Project on Copyright Policy in Digital Era

Peter Menell and Molly Van Houweling
Molly Van Houweling and Peter Menell

By Andrew Cohen

Berkeley Law Professors Peter Menell and Molly Van Houweling have been appointed to a National Academies committee that will examine how to expand and improve research on the impact of copyright policy—particularly on innovation in the digital era.

Menell was named vice-chair of the committee, which will conduct its first meeting October 14-15 in Washington, D.C. He and Van Houweling are both faculty directors of the law school’s Berkeley Center for Law & Technology.

The committee will commission background papers and coordinate a multidisciplinary workshop with more than 25 experts in the field. Afterward, additional experts will be invited to comment on the ideas and proposals discussed at the workshop via the project’s public website.

Ultimately, the committee will prepare a final report assessing the current state of the research field. In doing so, it will identify policy-relevant research questions that need attention, suggest how to approach these topics, and recommend ways that public agencies and private institutions might support such work. A major report will be issued in the second half of 2011.

Menell joined the Berkeley Law faculty in 1990, focusing his research and teaching on intellectual property, the digital technology and entertainment industries, environmental law, property law, and law and economics. He has written more than 40 articles and numerous books, organized more than 30 intellectual property education programs for the Federal Judicial Center, and advised the U.S. Congress, federal agencies, state Attorneys General, and major technology and entertainment companies on myriad intellectual property, licensing, and antitrust matters.

Van Houweling became a Berkeley Law faculty member in 2005. Her teaching and research interests include intellectual property, law and technology, property, and constitutional law. Previously she was president of Creative Commons, a nonprofit group that facilitates the sharing of intellectual property, and served as senior adviser to the president and board of directors of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the entity that oversees the Internet Domain Name System.

The National Academies are comprised of four organizations: the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council. Collectively, they produce reports aimed at helping to shape sound policies, inform public opinion, and advance the pursuit of science, engineering, and medicine.