Business Week has a great profile of the copyfighting law prof Tim Wu, whose essay on open handsets inspired Google's mobile phone project. Tim's a smart cookie — and we went to elementary school together!
Wu's work exploring the nexus of communications and the law has made him the field's most important new voice. Lawrence Lessig, a Stanford University law professor who has been the leader in arguing for reduced restrictions on what can go up on the Internet, predicts that Wu will become even more influential than he himself has been: "The second generation always has a bigger impact than the first."
At Columbia, Wu brings a quirky sensibility to the job. On a recent afternoon, he strolled into the classroom with a furry mouse costume. Wu brought the prop as a visual aid to discuss copyright law. He slipped on a pair of mittens and asked the class: "Do I have copyright protection?" A few students correctly said no. Then Wu put on a giant mouse mask and waved his hands in the air like some surreal Disneyland character. "Do I have copyright protection now?" he asked. The class erupted into laughter. Wu's point was that because costumes are useful articles, not works of art, they do not merit copyright protection.
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Update: Spencer Ante, who wrote the article, sez, "Thanks for the link to the profile I wrote about Tim. But it would be nicer if you actually mentioned my name instead of just BusinessWeek!"