WASHINGTON (Jan. 22, 2015) – The R Street Institute is proud to welcome Mike Godwin as director of innovation policy and general counsel. Starting Monday, Godwin will lead the institute’s research and advocacy efforts in the areas of patent and copyright reform and technology policy.

“I’ve admired Mike from afar for years and I’m delighted that he’s joining the team at R Street,” said President Eli Lehrer. “He’s the absolute best person we could possibly imagine for this job, and we are eager for him to bring his knowledge on board.”

Godwin brings to R Street a deep background and knowledge of technology policy and intellectual property, having worked on these issues for the past 25 years.  Most recently, he has served as a senior policy advisor at Internews, advising the organization’s public-policy partners in developing and transitional democracies, as part of the Global Internet Policy Project.

Prior to his return to Washington, he served as general counsel for the California-based Wikimedia Foundation, which operates Wikipedia and other collaborative projects. At the foundation, he created and directed anticensorship, privacy, trademark and copyright strategies and policies including Wikimedia’s responses to the SOPA and PIPA initiatives.

Godwin began his legal career as the first staff counsel for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which he advised on a range of legal issues during the accelerating growth of internet access in the United States. His continuing career as an Internet-law thought leader has included a policy fellowship at the Center for Democracy and Technology and a research fellowship at Yale Law School.

He has been a contributing editor at Reason Magazine since 1994 and is the originator of the widely cited “Godwin’s Law of Nazi Analogies,” which in 2012 was added to the Oxford English Dictionary.

“My experience in Washington and California policy circles underscores the importance of an organization like R Street,” Godwin said. “Like me, the R Street folks know how vital it is to proactively shape good government policy that’s both effective and minimally risky in terms of unintended consequences.”

“So of course when we found this opportunity to work together, we had to seize it — I’m thrilled to join such a great team,” he said.

Godwin’s first day with R Street will be Monday, Jan. 26, when he will moderate a panel on Capitol Hill entitled “Understanding copyright in the Internet age,” featuring Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo. The event is free and open to the public.