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Monday September 17th, 2012

Internet Piracy and the Constitution

Mark Avsec, J.D. – Partner, Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff, LLP, and Adjunct Professor of Law at CWRU School of Law

Raymond Ku, J.D. – Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Center for Law, Technology and the Arts at CWRU School of Law

Monday September 17, 2012, 4:30-6 p.m.

Program planned by the CWRU Constitution Day 2012 Student Committee and sponsored by the Office of the President, Office of Government and Community Relations, Cleveland Institute of Art, Center for Policy Studies, and the School of Law

Over the past decade, disputes about intellectual property and piracy on the internet have become steadily more prominent. In October 2011, the House Judiciary Committee introduced the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). With its bipartisan sponsors, the bill proposed anti-piracy measures allowing the U.S. Department of Justice and intellectual property owners to exercise control over websites facilitating copyright infringement. In the Senate, the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) introduced additional methods for the government and copyright holders to protect against counterfeit goods domestically and abroad. Given protests and an unprecedented internet blackout, voting on the bills was suspended. However, a third bill intended to protect against cyber threats, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), passed in the House of Representatives in April 2012.

The Constitution Day 2012 forum will examine constitutional questions raised by internet piracy, proposed legislation to regulate the internet, copyright law, and other issues related to intellectual property. It will include perspectives from the speakers, questions from a CWRU student panel, and audience participation.

Additional Information About Our Guests…

Mark Avsec is an expert in negotiating agreements that involve music-related intellectual property. A significant portion of his practice is also devoted to non-musical matters, including trademark, trade dress, and copyright prosecution and litigation as well as other types of intellectual property licensing and agreements. He has experience in combating international piracy for consumer product companies and regularly counsels media clients on the doctrine of fair use. Since 2003, Professor Avsec has taught “Law of the Music Industry” at CWRU. As a member of the Federal Judicial Conference, he teaches copyright law basics and litigation to U.S. federal judges at the University of California, Berkeley.

Before becoming a lawyer, he worked as a studio musician, producer, and songwriter. He has written more than 500 songs and produced or played on sound recordings for, among other artists, Bon Jovi (“She Don’t Know Me”) (writer), Carlos Santana (“Angel Love (Come For Me)”) (writer), Donnie Iris (“Ah! Leah!” and “Love Is Like A Rock”) (writer, performer, and producer), Wild Cherry (“Play That Funky Music, White Boy”) (performer), and Mason Ruffner (“Gypsy Blood”) (performer). Professor Avsec has toured extensively with world-class artists and served as a session musician for multiple record companies in the United States and for CBS United Kingdom. He is the recipient of an American Music Award and was nominated for two Grammy Awards.

Raymond Ku received his J.D., cum laude, from NYU, where he was a Leonard Boudin First Amendment Fellow in the Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Program, and his A.B. with Honors from Brown University where he was the recipient of the Philo Sherman Bennet Prize for the best political science thesis discussing the principles of free government. Professor Ku clerked for the Hon. Timothy K. Lewis, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He then practiced constitutional, intellectual property, and antitrust law with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, LLP, and First Amendment media and intellectual property law with Levine Pierson Sullivan & Koch, LLP, both in Washington, D.C. He has taught at Cornell, Seton Hall, Thomas Jefferson, and St. Thomas law schools.

An internationally recognized scholar, Professor Ku writes on legal issues impacting individual liberty, creativity, and technology. His articles appear in the law reviews and journals of Berkeley, Chicago, Fordham, Georgetown, Minnesota, Stanford, Tulane, Vanderbilt, and Wisconsin among others. He is the lead author of the first casebook devoted exclusively to the study of cyberspace law. Professor Ku was the 2009 recipient of the CWRU Law Alumni Association’s Distinguished Teacher Award, and voted Professor of the Year by the graduating class of 2009.