Ira Rothken is technology’s answer to the radical lawyer, Silicon Valley’s version of Johnnie Cochran or William Kunstler.
Tech start-ups sued by media conglomerates for copyright infringement typically call on Rothken, a medical researcher turned lawyer. He’s made a name for himself by bucking entertainment empires and by backing long-shot copyright cases, such as those involving RecordTV, ReplayTV and MP3Board.com. His efforts have won him praise from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the advocacy group that has become synonymous with user rights on the Web.
“Ira has a strong intuition for the little guy,” said Fred von Lohmann, an EFF senior staff attorney. “He enjoys these uphill fights. I often refer people to him.”