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John Kernochan, top copyright law professor

JOHN M. KERNOCHAN JOHN M. KERNOCHAN
Email|Print| Text size + By Dennis Hevesi
New York Times News Service / November 14, 2007

NEW YORK - John M. Kernochan - a leading professor of copyright law and the founder of the Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts at Columbia University - died Oct. 29 at his home in Jamaica Plain. He was 88.

Mr. Kernochan, the son of a music publisher and composer, was an early advocate for composers and authors facing the challenges of protecting intellectual property rights in the Internet age. In 1984, when the literary agent Morton L. Janklow donated $1 million to Columbia to establish the Janklow Fund, the country's first legal advocacy program for the arts, Mr. Kernochan spoke of the need for such a program.

"We have always relied on copyright," he told The New York Times. "But in a technological era, we now have to think about new ways of compensating authors, when they can no longer prevent people from making copies of their work. Law schools are just beginning to wake up to the explosion of the arts and technology."

Mr. Kernochan's influence, particularly through his Columbia students, "will affect the rights of artists for generations," Mr. Janklow said last week.

Mr. Kernochan's influence went beyond artists' rights. In 1962, John F. Kennedy appointed him to the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women.

John Marshall Kernochan was born in Manhattan, the only child of Marshall and Caroline Rigney Hatch Kernochan. His father was a composer in the 1930s and '40s who later started a music publishing company, which the younger Mr. Kernochan took over in 1955.

Mr. Kernochan graduated from Harvard in 1942.

His wife of 65 years, the former Adelaide Chatfield-Taylor, died in January. Mr. Kernochan leaves two daughters, Rose and Sarah, both of Manhattan; three sons, John of Cambridge, Denny of Santa Monica, Calif., and Wayne of Wellesley; and nine grandchildren.

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