Law & Policy Advisor, University of Virginia
As SPN Law & Policy Advisor, Brandon Butler oversees SPN’s policy agenda and legal strategy for securing lawful preservation, sharing and reuse of software. Components of this work may include developing SPN policy briefs; representing SPN in future DMCA exemption rounds; managing SPN’s relationships with law school clinic faculty and students; and identifying potential grant partners to advance SPN’s legal and policy agendas.
As a lawyer, I help libraries find ways to accurately represent and share information in their collections within the bounds of the law. The more I’ve learned about software preservation, the more I’ve been struck by the fact that even when I can provide an ironclad legal argument in defense of sharing a digital collection, my library clients will be out of luck if they haven’t got access to the right software to render their collections. Code is law, indeed. Getting software preservation right will be as important, or perhaps even more important, than getting the legal issues right, as libraries continue to pursue their missions in changing digital circumstances.