(Photo credit Cory Doctorow 2006 Creative Commons License Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic CC BY-SA 2.0)
Update:: Google senior counsel Von Lohmann tweeted they were divorced “years ago.”
About a month ago I was scouring the web for linkable or CC photos of senior copyright counsel at Google Fred Von Lohmann. Lo and behold look what I found? It appears to be a picture of Cindy Cohn (former senior counsel now executive director of the EFF) and Fred Von Lohmann. I found it in the public Flickr feed of Cory Doctorow the infamous anti-copyright demagoue (and creepy adult disneyland goer). After asking around for a couple of weeks, I’ve concluded this
apparent marriage does not seem to be common knowledge in tech, music industry or copyright circles.
Why is this important? Well if in fact Cindy Cohn and Fred Von Lohmann
are were married this puts an entirely different spin on dozens of amicus briefs in which EFF has purported to “independently” represent the public interest while siding with Google. And in many of these cases the EFF was arguing for “the public” and against the rights of artists.
I am not an expert on disclosure requirements and ethics for lawyers, but shouldn’t this relationship be disclosed? Certainly withholding this information seems odd. Look at the footnote in the Oracle v Google amicus brief below;
The EFF appears to be going out of it’s way to disclose every possible conflict. Except this one? Even if the
apparently secretly married couple did not discuss the Oracle v Google amicus brief, shouldn’t the possible appearance of impropriety have been disclosed? Further if they are were married can one assume there is was at some point community property? And if that community property includes Google stock or options isn’t wasn’t this a conflict of interest? This begs the question, was the EFF looking out for the financial interests of their director rather than the public?
If there is anyone out there that has more information on what exactly is going on here, and the legal/ethical implications, I am all ears.