If you're fond of the relatively free flow of information on the Internet, then you owe a huge debt to REASON regular Mike Godwin, who reviews Jessica Litman's provocative new book Digital Copyright in this issue. (See "Copywrong," page 56.) Godwin was the first staff counsel for the Electronic Frontier Foundation; he also served as co-counsel to the good guys in Reno v. ACLU, the 1997 U.S. Supreme Court case that struck down federal attempts to regulate "indecent" content on the Net. These days, Godwin, the author of 1998's Cyber Rights: Defending Free Speech in the Digital Age, fights the good fight as a policy fellow at the D.C.-based Center for Democracy and Technology. "The content battles are still out there," he says, "but what I really worry about is how copyright and other intellectual property issues will play out in the digital age."
Since joining REASON's staff in 1997 as Washington editor, Michael W. Lynch has never hesitated to call 'em like he sees 'em. With this issue, he becomes our national correspondent and leaves D.C. for Connecticut. Lynch's appreciation for plain-speaking served him well while covering the nation's capital, where Orwellian word games are the norm. For this issue, he interviews Federal Election Commission member Bradley A. Smith. (See "Prof. Smith Goes to Washington," page 48.) Smith doesn't beat around the bush either—especially when it comes to one of D.C.'s perennial topics, incumbency protection, better known by the euphemism "campaign finance reform." Lynch also reports on a bizarre legal case in which the National Labor Relations Board is arguing that union organizing requires the use of language in the workplace that would, well, make a longshoreman blush. (See "Bleeping on the Job," page 18.)
We're saddened to report that legendary Contributing Editor Edith Efron died on April 20, at the age of 79. Efron had a long and varied career in journalism, writing for publications ranging from The New York Times Magazine to TV Guide; she was also the author of several important books, including 1971's The News Twisters, a compelling study of media bias in the 1968 presidential election, and 1984's The Apocalyptics, an exposé of shoddy science and its effects on environmental policy. Among her most memorable pieces for REASON were a 1992 essay on Clarence Thomas, "Native Son: Why a Black Supreme Court Justice Has No Rights a White Man Need Respect" (a finalist for a National Magazine Award) and her 1994 piece on Bill Clinton, "Can the President Think?," a remarkably prescient study of the former president's character flaws. Both pieces, along with Editor-at-Large Virginia Postrel's remembrance of Edith, can be accessed here.