Justice Stevens, Defender of High-Tech Freedom

Over at Ars Technica, I’ve got an article examining the tech policy record of Justice John Paul Stevens, who retired today:

Stevens penned the 1978 decision that shielded the software industry from the patent system in its formative years. In 1984, Hollywood’s effort to ban the VCR failed by just one Supreme Court vote; Stevens wrote the majority opinion. And in 1997, he wrote the majority opinion striking down the worst provisions of the Communications Decency Act and ensuring that the Internet would have robust First Amendment protections.

Indeed, Justice Stevens probably deserves more credit than any other justice for the innovations of the last three decades. And given how central those technologies have become to the American economy, Stevens’ tech policy work may prove one of his most enduring legacies. In this feature, we review Justice Stevens’s tech policy decisions and salute the justice who helped make possible DRM-free media devices, uncensored Internet connections, free software, and much more.

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