Copyright Outside the Box

Columbia Law School's Kernochan Center for Law, Media, and the Arts 2015 Symposium Examined Copyright and Nontraditional Forms of Authorship

New York, October 21, 2015In recent years, copyright protection has been sought for tattoos, gardens, conceptual art, computer-generated creations, and other nontraditional works that challenge accepted notions of intellectual property. On Oct. 2, Columbia Law School’s Kernochan Center for Law, Media, and the Arts  hosted a symposium to address the evolution in the field and to analyze what constitutes authorship in the 21st century.    

June M. Besek, executive director of the
Kernochan Center for Law, Media, and the Arts at Columbia Law School, introduced the event.
“We looked at situations where there may exist genuine creativity but there are other factors, like the possible lack of fixation, or the participation of nature or animals or third persons, that bring into question the availability of copyright protection,” said June M. Besek, executive director of the Kernochan Center. New technologies and so-called “fringe works,” like type fonts and yoga sequences, have raised interesting questions of copyright and the scope of protection.
The daylong event, “Copyright Outside the Box,”  included keynote speeches delivered by Boston College Law School Professor Joseph Liu and Robert Kasunic, the associate register of copyrights and director of registration policy and practices at the United States Copyright Office. Four panel discussions featured noted legal scholars, attorneys, and even a visual artist, Agnieszka Kurant, whose work has challenged ideas of authorship and originality.
A video of the symposium, and background reading materials, can be viewed on the Kernochan Center’s website.
Robert Kasunic, left, of the United States Copyright Office, and Joseph Liu, a professor at Boston College Law School,
were the event's keynote speakers.

The Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts was established to contribute to a broader understanding of the legal aspects of creative works of authorship, including their dissemination and use. The center has encouraged the development of instruction at the Law School in topics such as intellectual property, copyright, trademarks, the regulation of electronic media, and problems arising from new communications technologies.