Fordham Law

Fordham Law Graduate Earns Second in National Writing Competition

February 06, 2008

Fordham Law graduate Mark D. Shtilerman '07 was awarded the $2,000 Second Prize in the National 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. Shtilerman's manuscript, written during his final year of law school, was submitted to the national competition after earning first place locally.

The paper analyzed the US District Court for the District of Colorado's ruling in the case Clean Flicks of Colorado v. Soderbergh. The legal battle between the sanitized film distributor and the Director's Guild of America ultimately ended with a ruling against the distribution of edited versions of the original films but allowed for the sale of DVD players enabled to filter or "clean-up" specific Hollywood titles.

In the paper, Shtilerman addresses the dichotomy of this ruling which allowed for the creation of unauthorized derivative works using one technology while prohibiting another. He proposes appropriate remedies for infringing derivative works, and expresses the need for consistent copyright law philosophy. He states that, "technology-dependent laws might result in economic and cultural waste."

"Mark brings a fresh eye to copyright jurisprudence, along with an unwillingness simply to accept doctrines that strike him as culturally harmful or economically inefficient," said Fordham Law Visiting Associate Professor Susan Scafidi, who led the class for which Shtilerman's paper was originally written. "Given Mark's impressive analytical skills and clever sense of humor, I suspect that this is the first of many creative contributions to the field of intellectual property."

A first-year associate in the New York office of Dewey & LeBoeuf, Shtilerman graduated magna cum laude from Fordham Law, where he also served on the Fordham Law Review. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and has written and contributed to several scientific publications. He plans to specialize in litigation and intellectual property.

First and third prize went respectively to Todd Davis Marcus (New York Law School) and Joshua O. Mausner (University of California School of Law).

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

Contact: Jennifer Spencer, 212.636.7604