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Robin Gross is taking her fight against the expansion of copyright law into the international arena. An intellectual property attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation for the past four years, Gross left the San Francisco group at the end of November to launch a new organization called IP Justice. The nonprofit group will work with independent organizations around the world to promote a balance between intellectual property law and freedom of speech. Gross says the idea for the new group came to her during her travels to Copenhagen, Venezuela, Berlin, Zurich and Paris where she met with groups seeking greater access to copyrighted information. Talking to electronic, computer science, library and hacker groups “showed me how all these people are working on a shared objective but in a fragmented way,” says Gross. “It would be good for them to work together” against the expansion of copyright law. Unlike EFF, Gross’ organization will deal exclusively with IP and free speech and will not handle litigation. Gross says a major focus of the group will be on so-called anti-circumvention laws, which prohibit individuals from circumventing technologies that block copying. According to Gross, one such law, the European Union Copyright Directive, is about to be adopted. Gross joined EFF after graduating from Santa Clara University School of Law. During her time there, she helped defend 2600 magazine and Web site publisher Andrew Bunner after both were sued for publishing a computer code that unscrambled encrypted DVDs. Cindy Cohn, EFF’s legal director, says Gross’ new group will be a welcome addition to the struggle for civil liberties in the IP arena. “There aren’t nearly enough of us on this side of the debate,” says Cohn. When Gross announced she was starting a new group, recalls Cohn, “I think we all said ‘Hallelujah.’”

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