DRS honored Microsoft's Chief Counsel for Intellectual Property Strategy Thomas C. Rubin, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, Justice Victoria Chaney, and John Van de Kamp at its 17th Annual Awards Dinner, while at the same time raising needed funds for youth and community mediation services.
Read Tom Rubin's remarks on the pathbreaking negotiations that led to the User Generated Content (UGC) Principles between the nation's major technology and content providers, including Microsoft and The Walt Disney Company.
Disney's Senior Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary Alan N. Braverman presented the Corporate ADR Award to Rubin.
Presentation of the DRS Corporate ADR Award to Microsoft Corporation's Chief Counsel for Intellectual Property Strategy Thomas C. Rubin.
Below are the presentation remarks of The Walt Disney Company's Senior Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary Alan N. Braverman.
As a young lawyer I was taught that the key to solving disputes is to look past evident differences to find common ground, to build trust from that common ground by listening and learning from your counter party about the problems they perceived, and to find solutions for those problems in a manner that expands and redefines the common ground that you can comfortably share. To do all this well requires a rare combination of intelligence, sensitivity, patience, and highly perfected diplomatic skills. Tom Rubin, tonight's honoree, is a person who embodies those qualities, and I can think of no one who is more deserving of the award you are conferring on him. I know this because I have both witnessed and marveled at these qualities first hand.
Several years ago, at Disney were struggling with how to deal with a seemingly intractable problem. What was then a new and rapidly growing cultural phenomenon was becoming a vehicle for massive infringement of intellectual property rights. The phenomenon was called user generated content sites. Sites like MySpace, Veoh, You Tube, and others enabled any user to upload to their servers content that would then be available to be shared with anyone who chose to access it. Not surprisingly the most popular content was TV shows and movies, and seemingly overnight these sites became the vehicle for the unauthorized distribution of a staggering amount of copyrighted works.
The problem seemed intractable because litigation and legislation seemed like too slow a path to a cure and the two sides to the equation who could forge a solution together—the technology companies and content companies—were dug into entrenched positions that were enflamed by rhetoric and essentially talking past each other.
And yet it gnawed at us that there should be a basis to forge a solution and that the rhetoric was standing in the way of finding it. If only we could understand better the real concerns of the technology companies perhaps we could build a bridge across of the gulf. So we decided to reach out to see if we could find a company who was willing to engage with us on that basis. And then we got incredibly lucky—we met Tom Rubin.
What we didn't know at the time is how uniquely well suited Tom was to the task. Not only is he a truly gifted lawyer, but his career had already spanned both sides of the issue. As an Assistant US Attorney he had advocated for, knew and appreciated the importance of protecting intellectual property rights. And as Chief Counsel for Intellectual Property at Microsoft, Tom certainly understood deeply how tech companies in general, and Microsoft in particular, approached the issues we were facing. But to this mix, Tom added an essential additional dimension. He instantly understood and embraced the spirit of candor and constructive engagement that is needed to make this kind of problem solving work. With great patience, he worked with us to find solutions and then tirelessly dedicated himself to helping persuade others in the tech industry that it was in their best interest to embrace them. It is fair to say that without the wisdom,and leadership he displayed—this grand experiment in ADR—would have never succeeded.
Having shared this particular fox hole together, I was incredibly pleased and honored that Tom asked me to introduce him tonight. One of the too often ignored by-products of ADR is that when it is done in the right spirit, it can leave both sides feeling enhanced. On a more personal level, it can lead to deep respect for people "on the other side" so to speak who shared the journey. I have that deep respect for Tom. I am thrilled to introduce him to you now.