1930 - 1984

Alan Latman was a founding partner of Cowan, Liebowitz & Latman, P.C.  He was an excellent litigator, negotiator, and scholar, who earned the respect of judges, opponents, clients, and peers.  He also loved working with and mentoring young lawyers and teaching copyright law. 

Alan was “truly the Renaissance man of copyright.” Alan was the first Walter J. Derenberg professor of copyright and trademark law at the New York University Law School.  His study on the fair use of copyrighted materials was one of the key founding documents for the fair use section of the Copyright Act of 1976 and has been cited repeatedly by the Supreme Court in fair use cases, including the well-known Betamax decision.

Alan spent his career writing extensively on the history and development of copyright law. He was the author of a treatise and casebook on the subject, as well as of periodic columns in The New York Law Journal.  In addition to being an outstanding lawyer and inspiring professor, Alan was the Executive Director and guiding spirit of the Copyright Society for many years, where he planned and presided over its annual meetings, mid-year meetings, lectures, symposia, luncheons, and seminars.  He helped shape and expand the Copyright Society and served as the editor in chief of the Journal of The Copyright Society

Alan was invited by the government of Thailand to help it develop its national copyright laws. He also traveled to China to explain U.S. copyright law and industry practices to Chinese lawyers. He worked with groups in Israel and various Arab countries to coordinate arrangements for the transfer of technology between them.

About one year after his untimely death, U.S. Supreme Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the first female Supreme Court Justice, sent a letter to Mrs. Latman commending Alan’s work and writings in the field of copyright and mentioning how they influenced the Court’s decision in the case of Harper & Row v. Nation Enterprises, et al., a seminal case concerning the Copyright Act's fair use doctrine. 

Alan was a graduate of New York University and Harvard Law School.  Before he became a copyright lawyer and scholar, he spent several years in the Judge Advocate General's Corps of the U.S. Army. He also was active in civil rights matters and served as defense counsel for protestors arrested during anti-nuclear energy demonstrations at the Indian Point power plant.  

Above all, Alan was a good friend and colleague whose intellect, kindness, vitality, wisdom, warmth, and humor touched anyone who knew him.

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