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May 09, 2005
Zealous Advocacy vs. Unprincipled Hacks
Joe Gratz comments on Hilary Rosen's recent blog post on iPod/iTunes DRM (Hilary Rosen Wants Interoperability). For my take on Rosen's comments, see, Copyfight, Hilary Rosen Laments Apple's DRM Strategy.
I have to disagree with Gratz here, however:
This is yet another reminder that your adversary, whoever or whatever he or she is, probably isnt evil just fulfilling his or her legal duty to be a zealous advocate for his or her client.
Actually, no. While Rosen probably isn't evil, she shouldn't be allowed to cloak herself in the ethical shield of a lawyer zealously representing a client. The reasons that lawyers have a duty to be strong advocates for their clients, even when their clients are evil, are not applicable to the realm of public relations and lobbying. We shouldn't allow the strictly limited ethics of legal representation to be extended into other realms.
Rosen wasn't acting as an attorney, she was the public face and chief lobbyist for the RIAA. A lawyer must argue on a client's behalf; they have a true legal duty. A lobbyist who makes policy arguments they don't personally agree with is nothing more than an unprincipled hack.
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