About this Author
Ernest Miller Ernest Miller pursues research and writing on cyberlaw, intellectual property, and First Amendment issues. Mr. Miller attended the U.S. Naval Academy before attending Yale Law School, where he was president and co-founder of the Law and Technology Society, and founded the technology law and policy news site LawMeme. He is a fellow of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. Ernest Miller's blog postings can also be found @

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May 09, 2005

Zealous Advocacy vs. Unprincipled Hacks

Posted by Ernest Miller

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 isn’t 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.

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: News


1. Scote on May 11, 2005 12:57 AM writes...

--and as others have noted, Rosen didn't so much criticize DRM as she did Apple's DRM. Her lament could easily be seen as an underhanded pitch for Microsoft's DRM, which plays on different brands of media players.

The RIAA doesn't want a strong player in the on-line music download market. They want a fractured market where their monopoly can set prices where they want. Rosen's blog was probably just meant to help fracture the market, not call for less DRM.

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