Mala Chatterjee portrait

Mala Chatterjee

  • Associate Professor of Law

Ph.D., New York University, 2022 
J.D., New York University School of Law, 2018
B.A., Stanford University, 2014

Areas of Specialty

Intellectual Property
Law and Philosophy
Information Law
Art Law

Mala Chatterjee is a philosopher, legal scholar, writer, & associate professor at Columbia Law School. She received her PhD in philosophy at NYU in 2022, her JD summa cum laude at NYU School of Law as a Furman Academic Scholar in 2018, and her BA in Philosophy and Symbolic Systems at Stanford in 2014. Prior to joining Columbia, Chatterjee was a Furman Fellow at NYU School of Law, a fellow at NYU's Engelberg Center for Innovation Law and Policy, and a visiting fellow at Yale Law School's Information Society Project. 

Chatterjee's work in law & philosophy explores information, broadly understood. She thinks about the philosophical questions and legal institutions that surround and structure our relationships with and rights to information, as well as its forms and functions in constructing and defining us across space and over time. This includes questions underlying intellectual property, technology, privacy, aesthetics, speech, defamation, and more. Chatterjee is interested in exploring these ideas in her academic writing as well as in public, literary, and creative work, with a particular love for science fiction as a medium for philosophy. 

Chatterjee wrote her philosophy PhD thesis on the theoretical foundations of copyright law under the advisement of Liam Murphy, Jeremy Waldron, and Sam Scheffler, a monograph on authorial rights that she is developing further into a theory of authorship. She is also writing a series of academic pieces defending and developing The Extended Self as a normative framework for legal persons, along with its philosophical and legal implications. Her other scholarship has appeared or is forthcoming in the peer-reviewed Journal of Legal Analysis at Harvard Law School and the Journal of the Copyright Society of the USA, as well as the Columbia Law Review, the UC Irvine Law Review, and the NYU Law Review, and she has been invited to present it at Yale, Harvard, Stanford, NYU, Penn, UCLA, Berkeley, USC, Michigan, Cambridge, and more. 


Academic Publications:

  • Understanding Intellectual Property: Expression, Function, and Individuation, 70 Journal of the Copyright Society in the U.S.A. (forthcoming 2023) (peer reviewed). 
  • Intellectual Property, Independent Creation, and the Lockean Commons, 12 UC Irvine Law Review 747 (2022). 
  • Lockean Copyright versus Lockean Property, 12 Journal of Legal Analysis 136 (2020) (peer reviewed). 
  • Minds, Machines, and the Law: The Case of Volition in Copyright Law, 119 Columbia Law Review 1887 (2019) (with Jeanne Fromer). 
  • Conceptual Separability as Conceivability: A Philosophical Analysis of the Useful Articles Doctrine, 93 NYU Law Review 558 (2018) (note). 

Academic Works-in-Progress:

  • Personhood Theories of Authorial Rights, forthcoming in Cambridge Volume on Intellectual Property and Private Law (2023). 
  • Death and Our Afterlife Interests: Reimagining Law Across Generations, forthcoming in Festschrift Honoring Samuel Scheffler (Oxford University Press (2025). 
  • Extending the Legal Person (in progress). 
  • Extended Selves and Extended Rights (in progress).
  • The Extended Self: A Framework for Information Rights (in progress). 
  • What's So Bad About Perfect Prediction? (in progress) (with Erick Sam). 
  • Minds, Machines, and the Law: Toward a General Theory (in progress) (with Erick Sam). 


  • The Fruits of Authorship: A Theory of Copyright (PhD dissertation).
  • The Identity Prism (book proposal in progress).

Honors and Awards

John Bruce Moore Award for Law and Philosophy, New York University