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Sandra Aistars to Join Mason Law Faculty, Launch Arts & Entertainment Advocacy Program

Mason Law is proud to announce that Sandra Aistars will be joining our faculty as a Clinical Professor next week. Professor Aistars will head up the law school’s new Arts & Entertainment Advocacy Program. She will also serve as a Senior Scholar and Director of Copyright Research and Policy at the law school’s Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property (CPIP).

Aistars brings nearly twenty years of advocacy experience on behalf of copyright and other intellectual property owners to the role. Throughout her career she has served in positions that required mastery of intellectual property issues, federal policy process and development, and the ability to understand and manage the implications of intellectual property policies across a portfolio of businesses. In addition, Aistars has a wealth of experience working with policy makers in Washington and internationally. She has served on trade missions and been an industry advisor to the Department of Commerce on intellectual property implications for international trade negotiations; worked on legislative and regulatory matters worldwide; frequently testified before Congress and federal agencies regarding intellectual property matters; chaired cross-industry coalitions and technology standards efforts; and is regularly tapped by government agencies to lecture in U.S. government-sponsored study tours for visiting legislators, judges, prosecutors, and regulators.

Professor Sandra Aistars
Professor Sandra Aistars

Immediately prior to joining Mason Law, Aistars was the Chief Executive Officer of the Copyright Alliance – a nonprofit, public interest organization that represents the interests of artists and creators across the creative spectrum. While at Mason, she will continue to collaborate with the Copyright Alliance as a member of its Academic Advisory Board. Aistars has also previously served as Vice President and Associate General Counsel at Time Warner Inc. She began her legal career in private practice at Weil, Gotshal and Manges LLP.

“We are thrilled to have Sandra join the Mason Law faculty,” said Dean Henry N. Butler. “Her knowledge of copyright law and policy is second to none, and she brings with her a wealth of experience in advocating on behalf of artists, creators, and other intellectual property owners. Under her leadership, the Arts & Entertainment Advocacy Program will provide a truly unique and exciting opportunity for Mason Law students.”

Launching in January 2016, the Arts & Entertainment Advocacy Program will teach students the legal and policy skills required for engaging with Congress, agencies, and courts on behalf of copyright owners. Through experiential learning, observation, and/or modeling of practice in different settings, students will additionally learn the more subtle aspects of effective advocacy. Under the supervision of Professor Aistars, students will develop substantive legal knowledge in copyright and related areas of law as well as practical skills in research, writing, and advocacy by counseling clients and preparing legal and policy documents. Students’ work product will be submitted on behalf of non-profit organizations, individual creators, small businesses, and CPIP in multiple institutional settings in which copyright law and policy are developed. 

Topics covered will include copyright registration and enforcement, client counseling, amicus brief writing and collaboration with party counsel, writing and filing comments following a notice of proposed rulemaking or notice of inquiry by a federal agency, and writing and filing testimony for congressional hearings, among others. In addition to direct instruction from Professor Aistars, students will also meet with and learn from relevant government officials and experienced practitioners.