Stevens, ’14, Earns Copyright Fellowship

Meredith Heagney
Law School Office of Communications
July 16, 2014

Donald Stevens, ’14, is one of the first two people to be awarded a new prestigious fellowship with the U.S. Copyright Office. As an inaugural legal fellow in the Ringer Copyright Honors Program, Stevens will spend two years working for the Office of Policy and International Affairs.

The extremely competitive program seeks out graduates with a strong interest in copyright law and a proven record of achievement in law school or practice.

Stevens certainly has shown his commitment to copyright law. He postponed his graduation from the Law School to spend a year in Hungary as a Boren Fellow, a program of the National Security Education Program. The Boren sends students to study in countries where the U.S. has a national security interest; Stevens traveled to Hungary because the country, and Eastern Europe as a whole, pose a threat to economic security due to problems enforcing copyright.

In Hungary, he took intensive language classes, read a lot of Hungarian copyright law, and consulted with a professor on a research paper. He also played folk music in local bars.

A 2012 story about Stevens’ fellowship in Hungary, written shortly after his arrival, notes:

His goal is to obtain fluency before he leaves, and it’s already going well, he reports: He and a Mexican student had lunch and carried on a long social conversation in Hungarian, and he managed to buy a SIM card in the local tongue.

That Mexican student, a woman named Bibiana, is now Stevens’ fiancee. They’re planning an autumn wedding while he also studies for the bar. In August, he’ll spend two weeks at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, attending the Working Group on Intellectual Property, Innovation, and Prosperity Summer Institute.

In short, Stevens has a lot to look forward to.

“As I was preparing to leave Hungary, I spent some time reflecting on how I could apply my experience there going forward," he said. "My hope was to find a position that would allow me to work on domestic, foreign, and international copyright law and policy. The Ringer Fellowship is exactly the job I was looking for, and I feel incredibly fortunate to have been selected for the opportunity.”

Professor Randy Picker advised Stevens on a copyright paper and said that "Donald has a done a superlative job of combining two of his passions, copyright and Hungary, and the fellowship at the U.S. copyright office will be a perfect way for him to put his skills to work and to continue to grow as a copyright lawyer.”

Randal C. Picker