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Bruce Joseph is best-known as a leading advocate for corporate copyright users who seek to preserve what the Supreme Court has called a “delicate balance” in the law. His clients recognize that copyrights provide important incentives for creativity. “At the same time,” says Joseph, “protection applied too broadly, for too long, can do more harm than good, interfering with beneficial conduct and the development of new technologies.” It’s the stifling effect of too much protection that worries his clients, which include AT&T Corp., the Cellular Telephone Industry Association, Clear Channel Communications Inc., Philips Electronics, and Verizon Corp. Joseph, a 53-year-old partner at Wiley Rein, represents them in litigation, music and sound recording licensing, legislative issues, and inter-industry content protection activities. “He’s a great lawyer,” says Patrick Donnelly, general counsel of Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. “He has exceptional knowledge of copyright law, including the legislative history behind the provisions. “ Joseph recently served as lead counsel to Sirius in a dispute with the recording industry before the Copyright Royalty Board. At issue: How much satellite broadcasters would pay record companies and individual artists for digital transmission of sound recordings. In December 2007, after 26 days of testimony and more than 400 pleadings, motions, and orders, the trio of Copyright Royalty judges set a sum roughly $3 billion below what the recording industry wanted. The industry has appealed the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Donnelly, the Sirius general counsel, describes Joseph as innovative, responsive, and an excellent writer. “He’s terrific to have in a pinch,” says Donnelly. “He’s intimately familiar with our business model. He knows our needs and where we’re flexible and where we’re not.” Joseph is a veteran of such rate proceedings, having represented the major radio broadcasters in 2006 in litigation over the fees to be paid for performances of sound recordings during simulcast webcasting. Verizon was another client with music-related concerns. In 2003, Joseph represented Verizon Internet Services in successfully opposing the efforts of the Recording Industry Association of America to expand the scope of special Digital Millennium Copyright Act subpoenas. The subpoenas would have compelled Verizon and other Internet service providers to disclose (without judicial supervision) the names of subscribers based on allegations by the RIAA that they were illegally downloading music. Sarah Deutsch, Verizon’s associate general counsel, praises Joseph’s formidable skills as a negotiator: “He knows the cases inside and out, and he’s not going to be tricked into agreeing to a compromise that doesn’t make sense.” She adds, “When Bruce is in the room, other lawyers are often unhappy because they know they’ve got their work cut out for them.” In assisting Verizon, Joseph was able to draw on his first-hand knowledge of the DMCA, which he helped to negotiate. Back in the mid-1990s, he had represented Prodigy Communications Corp. at a World Intellectual Property Organization diplomatic conference that led to two new digital copyright treaties. Then, as counsel to the U.S. Telephone Association, he was one of five lawyers designated to represent Internet service providers in negotiations with copyright owners under the auspices of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Those negotiations resulted in Title II of the DMCA, which deals with service provider liability. He also contributed to the DMCA section that expanded the copyright for digital sound recording performances. “It was both fun and rewarding to get to put a mark on policy,” he says. Joseph has remained active in the policy arena, representing the higher education community in legislative negotiations leading to the Technology Education and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act in 2002. The law expanded exemptions for the use of copyrighted materials in digital distance education. John Vaughn, executive vice president of the Association of American Universities, describes Joseph as “spectacular. This guy is terrific. I’ve never worked with anyone as good as Bruce.” In another recent case, Joseph defended Google Inc., which had been sued by Agence France-Presse in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for copyright infringement. The news agency, which sought at least $17.5 million in damages, asserted that Google News violated copyright law by using the agency’s headlines, introductory sentences, and photographs. A 2007 settlement, reached under confidential terms, allows Google to use the agency’s news and photos. Joseph earned his J.D. in 1979 from Harvard Law School. He spent a year clerking for Judge James Hunter III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit and then joined Leva, Hawes, Symington, Martin & Oppenheimer in 1981. When that firm folded two years later, he joined a new firm then known as Wiley, Johnson and Rein as a senior associate. Notable colleagues today include Andrew McBride, Thomas Kirby, and Karyn Ablin.

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