Director of Innovation Policy and General Counsel, R Street Institute
Mike Godwin is a distinguished senior fellow with the R Street Institute, focused on the areas of patent and copyright reform, surveillance reform, technology policy, freedom of expression and global internet policy.
Mike has a deep background and knowledge of technology policy and intellectual property, having worked on these issues for the past 25 years. Before joining the R Street Institute in 2015, he 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 anti-censorship, privacy, trademark and copyright strategies and policies including Wikimedia’s responses to the SOPA and PIPA initiatives.
Godwin received his undergraduate and law degrees at the University of Texas at Austin where, while a law student, he served as a reporter and later editor-in-chief of The Daily Texan. Upon graduation, Godwin began his legal career as the first staff counsel for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which he advised on a range of legal issues centered on freedom of expression and privacy rights 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.