The recipients of PK’s 2006 IP3 Awards were honored at a reception this past Thursday, October 19th, at the Sewall-Belmont House here in Washington. The IP3 Awards recognize contributions to Information Policy, Intellectual Property, and Internet Protocol. For background on this year’s honorees check out Art’s post here. I’ll use my space here to describe the ceremony.
The event kicked off with Gigi’s parents dancing with Gigi’s daughter, Yossi. Gigi followed with opening remarks reflecting on PK’s five year history and its role in helping to build a social movement around copyright reform. She praised the relationships and collaborations that PK and its staff share with the many lawyers, industry representatives, academics and government officials that seek to achieve the same goals. Gigi closed by asking for assistance in what will be PK’s next big project – proposing “affirmative alternatives to the current copyright regime, which was last significantly revised in 1976 and makes little sense in the networked world.”
Professor Yochai Benkler of Yale Law School, and author of the highly acclaimed book “The Wealth of Networks” was given an award for his work in Information Policy by PK Board Chair Laurie Racine. Laurie recalled that Yochai was responsible for PK’s founding – while at NYU Law School in April 2000, Yochai hosted a conference entitled “A Free Information Ecology in the Digital Environment,” which she, Gigi (then at the Ford Foundation) and PK’s other co-founder David Bollier attended. While Gigi and David had known each other for many years, this was the first time Laurie had met either of them. The rest is history.
Professor Jessica Litman was given an award for her work on Intellectual Property by Georgetown University Law Professor and PK Advisory Board member Julie Cohen. Professor Cohen who, among other things, praised her colleague for her clear writing style, which has lead to the popularity of her book, Digital Copyright, which describes the efforts of the content companies to lock down digital content and cyberspace, with an emphasis on the battles surrounding the passage of the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Professor Litman responded with a truly moving tribute to Public Knowledge, describing her skepticism five years ago as to whether his new public interest organization could have an impact on copyright policymaking. To her pleasant surprise, she said that Public Knowledge “has a seat at the table.”
Next Gigi presented the award for excellence in the Internet Protocol category to Blake Krikorian who, with his brother Jason founded Sling Media, the manufacturer of the Slingbox. Gigi praised the Krikorians not only for their innovative devices (the Slingbox enabled Cal-Berkeley football fans to see an away game even though it was not televised), but also for their willingness to participate in Washington technology policy.
In addition to the IP3 Awards Gigi also presents her own President’s Award to a person in industry who works to preserve the public interest. Unlike the other IP3 award winners, the recipient of the President’s award is not aware that he/she is receiving it. This year the award went to Jim Burger of Dow, Lohnes and Anderson, PLLC. Jim has been a long time friend and colleague of Gigi’s dating back to her days at Media Access Project and his days as Apple’s Washington DC rep. Now, through his representation of tech companies like Intel, TiVo, Hewlett Packard and Dell, Jim works side-by-side with PK on every one of its most critical issues. Gigi specifically cited Jim for his work on the WIPO broadcasting treaty – praising the involvement of his clients as critical to the recent success PK and its colleagues have had in changing the scope of that treaty.
As usual, a good time was had by all. We look forward to continuing the tradition next year.