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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 and legal scholar exploring the theoretical questions surrounding legal systems that structure relationships with and rights in information, broadly construed, including questions of 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. She received her PhD in philosophy from New York University and her JD summa cum laude as a Furman Academic Scholar from NYU School of Law. Chatterjee wrote her philosophy dissertation, The Fruits of Authorship: A Theory of Copyright, under the advisement of Liam Murphy, Jeremy Waldron, and Samuel Scheffler, and she is presently expanding the monograph into a book. Her other scholarship has appeared or is forthcoming in the peer-reviewed Journal of Legal Analysis at Harvard Law School and Journal of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A., as well as the Columbia Law ReviewUC Irvine Law Review, and New York University Law Review.

Prior to joining Columbia Law School, Chatterjee was a Furman Fellow at NYU School of Law. She has also been a fellow at NYU Law’s Engelberg Center on Innovation Law and Policy and at Yale Law School's Information Society Project. While writing her dissertation, Chatterjee clerked for Judge Robert D. Sack on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. She received her BA in Philosophy and Symbolic Systems at Stanford University.


Academic Publications

  • "Understanding Intellectual Property: Expression, Function, and Individuation," 70 Journal of the Copyright Society of 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) (student note).

Academic Works in Progress

  • The Fruits of Authorship: A Theory of Copyright (monograph with book proposal in progress).

  • “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