Fordham Law

Fordham Law Graduate Wins National Writing Competition

February 17, 2009

Fordham Law graduate Guy R. Tardanico '08 won the $3,000 first prize in the national round of the 2008 Nathan Burkan Memorial Writing Competition.

Sponsored by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), the competition recognizes the best papers in the subject of copyright law on a local and national level. Tardanico's essay, "Which Way Should Software Turn—Copyright or Copyleft: The Effect of GPLv3 on the Future of the Free and Open Source Software Movement," was written last year for his Advanced Copyright law class taught by Adjunct Professor Alan Hartnick. It was submitted to the national competition after earning first place locally.

"It's a great honor to receive this award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers," Tardanico said. "When I found out I won the local competition at my graduation last year, I was naturally very pleased but thought that would be the end. To be recognized nationally is very exciting."

The paper provides an analysis of the newest version of the General Public License (GPLv3), which governs the use and distribution of many popular free and open source software applications, including the Linux operating system. In addition to giving a background on the relationship between software and copyright law, the paper deals with the effect that certain changes in version three of the GPL may have on the industry for free and open source software. It focuses particularly on whether the GPL is properly categorized as a license or a contract, the effect GPLv3 has on derivative works in software, and whether the restrictions on digital rights imposed by the GPLv3 on potential users are preempted by Copyright Law.

An assistant district attorney with the Richmond County District Attorney's Office, Tardanico was the business and technology editor of the Fordham Environmental Law Review.

As part of the award, Tardanico's paper will be published in an upcoming summer issue of the Journal of the Copyright Society of the USA.

In 2008, Fordham alumnus Mark D. Shtilerman '07 won second prize in the national Burkan competition.

For more information on the Nathan Burkan (ASCAP) Memorial Competition, visit the website.

Contact: Stephen Eichinger