Washington Technorati Toast Public Knowledge and Its IP3 Awards

Broadband's Impact, Net Neutrality October 15th, 2009

, Publisher, BroadbandBreakfast.com

Public Knowledge’s sixth annual “IP3 Awards” – which celebrates information policy, intellectual property, and internet protocol – drew a crowd of Washington’s technorati to the Sewell-Belmont House in Washington on Thursday evening.

Among the guests dropping by the event included White House science and technology policy aide Susan Crawford, the Obama administration’s designee to be intellectual property czar Victoria Espinel, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, Office of Science and Technology Policy chief of staff Jim Kohlenberger, NTIA Administrator Lawrence Strickling, and Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va.

Public Knowledge President Gigi Sohn recommitted her organization to the principles of Net neutrality and to “balance” in the copyright wars. “Public Knowledge will not rest until we have an open internet,” she said, and “universally accessable and affordable broadband.”

On copyright, she said, the non-profit group was “locked in a constant battle with Hollywood,” including a fight over the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement — truly an intellectual property treaty — which she said continues to be under seal and hidden from public disclosure.

Sen. Warner introduced one of the awardees, Karen Jackson, the Deputy Secretary of Technology for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Jackson received the “information policy” award “for leading the Commonwealth’s broadband mapping project using state resources to complete the task ahead of many other states.”

Warner praised her and the state for these efforts, and said that “Virginia was one of the first states to take a major initiative for rural broadband deployment.”

Author Siva Vaidhyanathan, a professor of media studies at the University of Virginia, was recognized for his work in intellectual property, and Sascha Meinrath, the creator of the Open Technology Initiative at the New America Foundation, for his work on internet protocol.

Sohn concluded the evening’s presentations with the Presidential Award to Sarah Deutsch, associate general counsel of Verizon Communications.

Commenting the oddity of Public Knowledge honoring an official at a company with whom the group has so frequently disagreed, Sohn said that Public Knowledge had been successful at building coalitions “because we can find common ground.” Increasingly, that includes corporate entities, including four organizations she singled out for joined in sponsoring Public Knowledge: Comcast, CTIA – The Wireless Association, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association and Time Warner Cable.

“I want to tip my hat: they have reached out to us” over the past year, Sohn said. “But it doesn’t mean that we won’t try to beat the crap out of you.”

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