Saturday, May 30, 2009

Power Couple

Contemporary institutional rhetoric is a fascinating field, but all too few academics consider it to be a worthwhile object of study. Fortunately, one academic couple presents a significant exception to this scholarly rule: historian Zachary M. Schrag and law professor Rebecca Tushnet.

Tushnet is a familiar name among digital rights advocates, particularly after she testified before the U.S. Copyright Office in recent hearings about much-needed exemptions for educators from the restrictions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Tushnet is a specialist in false advertising in intellectual property law and has named her 43(B) blog after a provision in the Lanham Act of 1948 that prohibits "in commercial advertising or promotion, misrepresents the nature, characteristics, qualities, or geographic origin of his or her or another person's goods, services, or commercial activities." It's a great blog that covers everything from whether Spock violates the norms of teacher/student relationships at Starfleet Academy in the new Star Trek movie to Woody Allen's suit against American Apparel.

Schrag is the author of the Institutional Review Blog, which catalogs IRB horror stories in which universities stifle all kinds of research deemed to involve human subjects and chronicles the problems that many oral history projects have faced as a result. Schrag also noticed that congressional representative Diana DeGette was placing copyright statements on her web pages, despite the fact that material on this kind of .gov site is generally considered to be part of the public record. In the Virtualpolitik book I point out that she is hardly alone in doing this among government officials.

Click on the images below to see screen shots of her site that were taken by Schrag.

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