Published: March 18, 2016

A joint project between the Samuelson-Glushko Technology Law & Policy Clinic (TLPC) at the University of Colorado Law School and the Intellectual Property, Arts, and Technology Clinic at the University of California Irvine School of Law earned a 2016 California Lawyer magazine Attorneys of the Year (CLAY) award.

The award recognizes the clinics’ partnership representing the nonprofit group Authors Alliance before the Copyright Office in the 2014-15 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Triennial Review. Serving as co-counsel for Authors Alliance, TLPC students and Clinical Professor Blake Reid recommended an exemption to the DMCA that facilitates the inclusion of high-definition film clips in multimedia e-books and protects the fair use rights of e-book authors by allowing them to bypass the encryption on DVDs, Blu-ray, and other media.

"This exemption is critical to protecting authors’ rights to make fair uses, including criticism, commentary, and educational uses, in cutting edge e-books that take advantage of multimedia capabilities," Reid said.

This recommended DMCA exemption was one of three proposed in 2014-15 by the TLPC that was adopted by the Library of Congress in October 2015. Other exemptions proposed by the clinics—and adopted by the Library of Congress—facilitate making e-books more accessible for people who are blind, visually impaired, or print disabled by allowing assistive technologies on e-books as a fair use of copyrighted works. The third approved exemption facilitates security research on computer software.

Will Kaufman ('16) and Molly McClurg ('16) headed up the TLPC’s contributions to the project. For McClurg, the experience guided her career path toward public interest technology law.

"I always knew I was interested in public interest law, and was surprised to find that I like corporate law and technology law. I didn’t know that public interest technology work existed until this clinic. Blake has shown me a career path and been a great mentor," McClurg said. "It was also great to have that collaboration with a clinic at UCI Law."

Kaufman said he appreciated the real-world experience and unique opportunity to see a tech policy project through from start to finish.

"This project gave me an opportunity to learn about an area of the law that, but for this, I wouldn’t have had the chance to experience. It was also my first chance to see the legal process outside the courtroom from start to finish, working with stakeholders spread across California and the East Coast, which gave me a realistic idea of what working in the public policy sector is like," Kaufman said. "This clinic has not only taught us about the law, but also taught us how to be lawyers."

The TLPC’s partners on its DMCA work include the Center for Democracy and Technology, the American Foundation for the Blind, the American Council of the Blind, Authors Alliance, filmmaker Bobette Buster, cryptography researcher Professor Matt Green (Johns Hopkins), and the UC Irvine Intellectual Property, Arts, and Technology Clinic.

Pictured (L-R): Molly McClurg ('16), Will Kaufman ('16), Professor Blake Reid