Page 28 - Briefcase V35 Number 1
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                                                         GRADUATES URGED TO
                                                         SEEK JUSTICE FOR ALL
                                                         American Bar Association
                                                         President Paulette
                                                         Brown challenged the 326
                                                         graduates of the University
                                                         of Houston Law Center
                                                         during commencement
                                                         in May 2016 to use their
                                                         legal skills to find answers
                                                         and justice for those who
            PAY TO PLAY?                                 do not have the necessary
            Two national sports analysts argued to a draw   resources.
            on whether collegiate athletes should be “paid   The graduating class
            to play” during a lively debate in April 2016   included 236 J.D. candidates
            hosted by the University of Houston Law      and 90 graduates of the Law Center’s LL.M. program.
            Center.                                      “There is no other occupation in America that supplies a greater proportion
            Joe Nocera, a New York Times columnist       of leaders, which you are now one,” Brown said in her address at Hofheinz
            and author, and Len Elmore, a former NBA     Pavilion. “Being a lawyer is a noble and important profession where you can
            basketball player, commentator for ESPN      make immediate differences in people’s lives. Now, more than ever, we need our
            and CBS and Harvard-educated lawyer,         lawyers to lead.”
            differed on whether college athletes should
            be compensated for their talents that bring in   Brown said there has been no shortage of recent events to compel people to
            millions of dollars to colleges or whether a free   criticize the fairness of the U.S. justice system, but law graduates have the power
            education is payment enough.                 to restore trust.
            “My basic position is fairly simple,” Nocera   “Thanks to the University of Houston Law Center, you have the tools to make
            said in his opening remarks. “College athletes   the world a better, more fair and inclusive place,” she said. “You have the power to
            should have the same rights as everyone else in   rebuild confidence in our nation’s justice system. With your law degree, you can
            society, including economic rights. The players   make a difference in improving access to justice for all.”
            should participate in the financial windfall that
            they generate for everyone else.
            “The answer is that they can’t be paid because   PLAGIARISM VS. HONOR CODE
            they are students. My question is why not? If
            other students can have work study programs,   Intellectual property professionals gathered
            why are student athletes alone? The idea that   in May 2016 at the University of Houston
            education comes first is just not true,” he   Law Center to discuss a wide range of
            continued. “The money is there, and players   related issues in commemoration of 2016’s
            should participate in the windfall.”      World IP Day.
            Elmore said changes have been made in     Professor Jacqueline Lipton, the keynote
            providing for student athletes, and reform is   speaker, discussed literary works, creativity
            gaining momentum, but “pay for play is not   and popular culture, along with comparing
            the solution.” The question is, “Are athletes   copyright infringement and plagiarism.
            getting a value?” he said. In return for playing,   “Plagiarism is not illegal,” Lipton said. “It’s an honor code violation at universities. It’s
            they receive tax free aid in the form of tuition,   a social construct more than anything else — taking credit for work other people have
            room and board, books and medical benefits   done. Often accusations of plagiarism are actually more damaging in the marketplace
            in addition to the value of the degree itself, he   than threatening a copyright suit. People usually don’t go through with litigation, but
            said, and they emerge from school debt-free,   if you say someone is plagiarizing you, it goes all over the Internet and really tarnishes
            unlike most other graduates.              your reputation.”
            “Instead of ‘employer’ and ‘employee,’ let’s   Lipton then led a panel discussion on a wide variety of issues, including digital
            consider ‘benefactor’ and ‘beneficiary,’ where   technology and fair use policies. Panelists included Professor John Harvey, director of
            the athlete promises to perform on the field   the Center for Creative Work for the University of Houston’s Honors College; Saima
            and in the classroom,” he said. “What’s wrong   Kadir, digital strategies and virtual library services manager at the Houston Public
            with that?”                               Library; and Law Center alumnus, Jeff Dodd ’79, a partner at Andrews Kurth Kenyon.

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