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Mala Chatterjee

  • Associate Professor of Law

Ph.D., New York University, 2022 (expected)
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 lawyer and philosopher who explores the philosophical questions surrounding legal systems structuring people’s relationships with and rights in information, broadly construed, including questions around intellectual property, technology, defamation, privacy, speech, and aesthetics. She is also interested in the theories underlying private law doctrine, particularly in torts and property, and how to adapt them to a changing world. 

Chatterjee joined the Columbia Law faculty as an associate professor on July 1, 2022, and is presently also a Ph.D. candidate in philosophy at New York University. While writing her dissertation, The Fruits of Authorship: A Theory of Copyright, she clerked for Judge Robert D. Sack on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit.

Her other scholarship has been published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Legal Analysis at Harvard Law School, Columbia Law Review, UC Irvine Law Review, and New York University Law Review

Before coming to Columbia Law School, she was a Furman Fellow at New York University School of Law and has also been a fellow at NYU Law’s Engelberg Center on Innovation Law and Policy and the Information Society Project at Yale Law School.


Academic Publications

  • “Intellectual Property, Independent Creation, and the Lockean Commons,” 12 UC IRVINE LAW REVIEW (forthcoming 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) (student note).

Academic Works in Progress

  • The Fruits of Authorship: A Theory of Copyright (monograph, book proposal in progress).
  • “Understanding Intellectual Property: Expression, Function, and Individuation” (draft)
  • “The Extended Self: A Framework for Information Rights”
  • “What’s So Bad About Perfect Prediction?” (with Erick Sam)
  • “Minds, Machines, and the Law: Toward a General Theory” (with Erick Sam)

Honors and Awards

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