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Fair Use Fans Salute Shapiro

Public Knowledge, the group that advocates fair-use copying and distribution of content, surprised Consumer Electronics Association President Gary Shapiro with its first-ever President's Award.

Appropriately, Public Knowledge President Gigi Sohn presented the award Thursday at its IP3 Awards dinner in Washington. Shapiro was saluted for "dedication to technological innovation and defense of fair use."

Shapiro earlier in the week was testifying on Capitol Hill in defense of peer-to-peer network sharing of digital files. He argued that overregulation or over-litigation in an attempt to protect copyrighted material discourages innovation and investment capital.

Shapiro talked at times during that hearing almost poetically about the transformative power of digital technology in the hands of a public. "We are at a crossroads in technology," he told the Senate Judiciary Committee. "With new technologies allowing every citizen to be a creator, we must accept that our national creativity can no longer be measured by CD sales." 

Shapiro represents the consumer equipment companies that make the devices used to trade, copy and store content.

Shapiro said it was the first award he had ever received for his efforts in behalf of intellectual property, saying: “We’re in a David versus Goliath situation, and the reason we’re winning as David is because we’re right and we’re passionate and we care and we know that the world will be a better place when people have access to information, education and entertainment rather than shutting down their world.”