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Brian Kahin

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Brian Kahin is Senior Fellow at the Computer & Communications Industry Association in Washington, DC. He is also Research Investigator and Adjunct Professor at the University of Michigan School of Information and a special advisor to the Provostâ€™s Office. From 2003-2005, he taught at the University of Michigan as a Visiting Professor with joint appointments in the School of Information, the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, and the Department of Communication Studies.

Kahinâ€™s research focuses on the political economy of knowledge, information technology, and intellectual property -- with a particular focus on patent reform and open standards. Current projects include Patents and Diversity in Innovation and Designing Cyberinfrastructure: Emerging Frameworks and Strategies for Enabling and Controlling Knowledge. He recently co-organized Advancing Knowledge and the Knowledge Economy in collaboration with OECD, the European Commission, and the National Science Foundation.

Kahin was previously founding Director of the Information Infrastructure Project at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. Initiated by Kahin and Lewis Branscomb in 1989, the Information Infrastructure Project was the first academic research program to address the social, economic, and policy implications of the Internet. The Project was supported by a mix of special funding from foundations and federal agencies and general funding from corporations, including Bellcore, AT&T, IBM, Hughes, Motorola, EDS, Nynex, Digital Equipment, Apple, and Microsoft. It developed an aggressive publishing program and collaborated with a wide range of institutions, including the Global Information Infrastructure Commission, the Coalition for Networked Information, the Freedom Forum, the Annenberg Washington Program, the Library of Congress, the Cross-Industry Working Team, the Computer Systems Policy Project, and the International Telecommunication Union. As Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy at the Kennedy School, Kahin developed courses on information technology, law, and policy. He initiated a joint course with Harvard Business School on information technology, business strategy and public policy and then, with Harvard Law School as a third partner, a course on business and the Internet.

Kahin was subsequently appointed Senior Policy Analyst at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (1997-2000), where he was responsible for issues in intellectual property, Internet policy, and electronic commerce. As part of the Administrationâ€™s task force on global electronic commerce, he initiated the interagency Working Group on the Digital Economy and chaired it on behalf of the National Economic Council. He also served as Vice Chair of the OECD Working Party on the Information Economy. He was the first chair of the interagency working group on domain names and worked with the research agencies and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to develop the Administrationâ€™s position on database protection legislation. He initiated studies on patent quality and standards policy at the Science and Technology Policy Institute.

After leaving the government, he was the first (and only) resident fellow at the Internet Policy Institute in Washington and a visiting scholar at the Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy (University of California, Berkeley). He subsequently became founding Director of the Center for Information Policy and Visiting Professor in the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland, with affiliate appointments in the School of Public Affairs and the R.H. Smith School of Business. His work at the Center included projects on open source software, U.S. and European perspectives on information process patents, and the economic and social implications of information technology.

Kahinâ€™s work has been supported by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, the John and Mary R. Markle Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the U.S. Department of Energy. He authored the principal Internet RFC on commercialization of Internet (RFC 1192; 1990). He is the editor of Building Information Infrastructure (McGraw-Hill/Primis, 1992) and co-editor of Public Access to the Internet, (with James Keller; MIT Press, 1995), Standards Policy for Information Infrastructure (with Janet Abbate; MIT Press, 1995), National Information Infrastructure Initiatives (with Ernest Wilson; MIT Press, 1996), Borders in Cyberspace (with Charles Nesson; MIT Press, 1997), Coordinating the Internett (with James Keller; MIT Press, 1997), Internet Publishing and Beyond (with Hal Varian, MIT Press, 2000), Understanding the Digital Economy (with Erik Brynjolfsson, MIT Press, 2000), Transforming Enterprise (with William H. Dutton, Ramon O'Callaghan, and Andrew W. Wyckoff, 2004), and Advancing Knowledge and the Knowledge Economy (with Dominique Foray, MIT Press, 2006).

Kahin helped found the Interactive Multimedia Association in 1987 and served as part-time General Counsel for ten years. He directed IMA's Intellectual Property Project, which focused on technology-based management of content. He managed testimony on patent policy, negotiated the IMAâ€™s participation in the European IMPRIMATUR consortium, and organized public programs with the U.S. Copyright Office. (In 1997, IMA merged with the Software Publishers Association, now the Software and Information Industry Association.)

Kahin currently serves on the board of the Public Patent Foundation and European Policy for Intellectual Property and on the advisory board of the Foundation for Free Information Infrastructure.