Conference on the Public Domain - Public Domain Activism

November 10, 2001


This roundtable brings together some of the most prominent digital activists and public interest lawyers. Each participant will explore the various attempts to build an activist movement around intellectual property and public domain issues.

The participants are:

Marc Rotenberg - Electronic Privacy Information Center
Gigi B. Sohn - Public Knowledge
Manon Anne Ress - The Hague Convention on Jurisdiction and Foreign Judgments
Jennifer Toomey - Future of Music Coalition
Robin Gross - Electronic Frontier Foundation
Jeff Chester - Center for Digital Democracy
Jonathan Tasini - National Writers Union
Caspar Bowden - Foundation for Information Policy Research
David Bollier - Public Knowledge, New America Foundation

Marc Rotenberg is Director (and Founder) of the Electronic Privacy Information Center and one of the world’s leading authorities on privacy issues.

Gigi Sohn is the President of Public Knowledge, a new nonprofit organization that will represent the public’s perspective on intellectual property and related matters. A former Executive Director of the Media Access Project and Ford Foundation Project Specialist, Ms. Sohn is also an Adjunct Professor at Cardozo Law School, where she teaches a course on federal regulation of the electronic media, and a Senior Fellow at the University of Melbourne Faculty of Law, Graduate Studies Program.

Manon Ress works for Essential Information, a Washington, DC- based non-profit created about 20 years ago by Ralph Nader and John Richard. Essential Information provides information to journalists, activists and consumers all over the world.She works on various e-commerce and consumer protection issues such as the definition of consumers, unfair contracts and tort liabilities and on issues related to internet governance such as free speech, privacy protections and fair use.

Jennifer Toomey is an activist, musician and the Executive Director of the Future of Music Coalition. From 1990 to 1998, she co-ran Simple Machines, an independent record label. She is a member of the board of The Low Power Radio Coalition, performed in several bands including Tsunami, and has written extensively about music and Internet technology.

Robin Gross is an intellectual property attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a leading cyber-liberties organization. She specializes in intellectual property policy and digital music legal issues. She serves as Director of EFF’s Campaign for Audiovisual Free Expression (CAFÉ), which she launched in June of 1999 to explore the intersection of intellectual property law and freedom of expression related to the use of digital technology.

Jeff Chester is Executive Director of the nonprofit Center for Digital Democracy (CDD), based in Washington, DC. Through research, advocacy, and public education, CDD works to ensure that the digital media serve the public interest. It is currently focusing on preserving the Internet’s open architecture in the new broadband environment, and on the establishment of a noncommercial, interactive “online commons” for the free exchange of ideas and information among citizens.

Jonathan Tasini has been President of the National Writers Union (UAW Local 1981) since 1990. He is a labor and economics writer whose work has appeared in a variety of newspapers and magazines. He was the lead plaintiff in a recent Supreme Court case about freelance authors’ rights in online databases.

Caspar Bowden is Director of the Foundation for Information Policy Research, a non-profit think-tank for UK and European Internet policy.

David Bollier is Co-Founder of Public Knowledge, the new advocacy organization for the information commons, and author of the forthcoming Silent Theft: The Private Plunder of Our Common Wealth (Routledge). Bollier is also Senior Fellow at the USC Annenberg School for Communication’s Norman Lear Center and Director of the Information Commons Project at the New America Foundation.

Copyright 2001 Duke University