The Bridge - Issue 2, 2020 - 11


PUBLIC POLICY: A Different Way to Change the World

and a master's in mechanical engineering from MIT.
The American public has become increasingly willing
to elect leaders from non-traditional backgrounds,
including scientists and engineers, in part because
they are so good at solving problems. As one of the
most trusted professions in America, engineers may
even have an electoral advantage over more traditional
political backgrounds.

highway system, or a school system, or a healthcare
system. And this is exactly what policy makers do:
Create, refine and run complicated societal systems.

Once in Congress (or a state legislature or city council),
engineers certainly have an advantage as policy
makers. An increasingly large number of challenges
facing society require an understanding of engineering
or science. AI, cybersecurity, crypto currencies,
transnational pandemics, and global climate change
are difficult to understand, and therefore difficult to
manage, without knowing the science and technology
behind them.

Russ Harrison puts his 25 years of experience working
on behalf of professional societies, companies and trade
associations in Washington, D.C. to work as the Director of
Government Relations for IEEE-USA. Over his 18-year career
with IEEE-USA, he has represented IEEE members on dozens
of policy issues. In addition to directly engaging with policy
makers, Russ frequently speaks about public policy and the
need for regular citizens to interact
with their elected leaders. He has
a Master's in Public Management
from the University of Maryland
and a B.A. in political science from
Allegheny College. Russ is a Certified
Association Executive (ASAE)
and Planning Commissioner
(Virginia Tech).

Moreover, engineers are skilled at building systems.
They (you) are good at understanding, not just the
component parts of a system, but how those parts fit
together. That is important when building a quantum
computer, but it is also important when designing a

Engineering is about more than just creating things.
Fundamentally, engineering is about solving problems,
and the problems you can solve extend way
beyond technology.

Engineering Your Future!
November 6-8

University of California

San Diego, CA

The annual IEEE-HKN Student Leadership Conference is a signature program of the society and is an opportunity
for your chapter to meet with other officers, members, faculty advisers, members of the Board of Governors, and staff.
The conference includes opportunities for professional development, leadership training, and networking.



What's Mine is Mine and What's Yours is Mine
Orin E. Laney

There are two competing visions of the
purpose of intellectual property law. At
one pole is the constitutionalist view that
intellectual property laws are a tradeoff
between the desire of society for such things
as inventions, books, and songs, and the
general (though not universal) unwillingness
of inventors, authors, and musicians to
provide them for free. In this conception,
creators have rights but we, the people, have
ours as well. For instance, U.S. copyright
includes a fair use concept that allows partial
copying and quoting sans permission, the
doctrine of first sale that allows unrestricted
use, lending, and resale of legally-purchased
copyright-protected products, and free
speech rights including criticism and parody.
At the other pole is the industry conception of IP
law as a protectionist, mercantilist tool to shield
industry business models and revenue streams from
disruption. The maximalist version is illustrated by the
historical example of 17th century French weavers
and button makers:

"The question has come up whether a guild master
of the weaving industry should be allowed to try
an innovation in his product. The verdict: 'If a cloth
weaver intends to process a piece according to his
own invention, he must not set it on the loom, but
should obtain permission from the judges of the town
to employ the number and length of threads that he
desires, after the question has been considered by
four of the oldest merchants and four of the oldest
weavers of the guild.' One can imagine how many
suggestions for change were tolerated.
Shortly after the matter of cloth weaving has been
disposed of, the button makers' guild raises a cry of
outrage; the tailors are beginning to make buttons
out of cloth, an unheard-of thing. The government,
indignant that an innovation should threaten a settled
industry, imposes a fine on the cloth-button makers.
But the wardens of the button guild are not yet
satisfied. They demand the right to search people's
homes and wardrobes and fine and even arrest
them on the streets if they are seen wearing these
subversive goods."[1]
In our modern, enlightened age, we suppose that we
would not tolerate such control, yet we routinely and
unblinkingly accept it in the sphere of employment.
Creative professionals, including engineers, are nearly



The Bridge - Issue 2, 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Bridge - Issue 2, 2020

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