As an intellectual property litigator and the head of Simpson Thacher’s intellectual property group, I was delighted to see an entire issue of the Harvard Law Bulletin devoted to this subject. The Law School should be commended for its innovative efforts and expanded resources devoted to this critically important field. When I read the issue, however, I was surprised and disappointed not to find a single mention of the professor who, at least since Professor Kaplan retired, has been the school’s most prominent and respected copyright scholar–Arthur R. Miller.
Arthur has been a leading light in the copyright field for decades. He served, along with Melville Nimmer, as a member of CONTU [the National Commission on New Technology Uses of Copyrighted Works]. He has written and lectured extensively in the field, has served as counsel in important copyright cases and, along with Charlie Nesson, was responsible for the creation of what is now the Berkman Center. The list could go on and on.
When I was a law student in the 1970s, Arthur was teaching Harvard’s only copyright course (which I, unfortunately, lacked the foresight to take). When the first copyright case of my career evolved into a 10-year struggle over the protection of computer software, culminating in Lotus v. Borland before the U.S. Supreme Court in 1996, Arthur Miller was the expert we consulted, first as an adviser and ultimately as co-counsel, to ensure that our arguments were consistent with fundamental copyright principles. I consulted him again more recently when he and I were retained by the electronic database industry to file an amicus brief in the Supreme Court supporting publishers (unsuccessfully) in the Tasini case. Any veteran copyright litigator could cite similar experiences with Professor Miller. I do understand that, within the current political environment in academic intellectual property circles, those, like Arthur, who tend to respect the rights of copyright owners–even on the Internet–are somewhat out of favor, but to do a comprehensive review of intellectual property law at HLS without even mentioning him is, in my view, akin to producing “Hamlet” without the young prince.
Editor’s note: We regret Professor Miller’s absence from the intellectual property issue. For an interview with Professor Miller, go to www.law.harvard.edu/news/miller.