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students in hallway after a conference

In recent years, the Intellectual Property Program has inaugurated a lecture series and hosted a number of major conferences on IP and related issues. A sampling of these is described below. View the webcasts of these and other events.

Annual “Hot Topics” Symposia
Duke Law’s Intellectual Property and Cyberlaw Society has hosted five annual “Hot Topics” symposia focusing on a variety of topics relevant to intellectual property law. These events feature panel debates, keynote addresses, and individual talks by academics, practitioners, judges, industry representatives, and others. Topics have included patent reform, P2P file sharing, patent versus open source approaches to software development, and appropriate limits to copyright protection. Keynote speakers have included the Honorable Judges Arthur Garjasa and Randall R. Rader of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and George Gilder of the Discovery Institute’s Technology & Democracy Project.

Framed!! How Law Constructs and Constrains Culture
This conference, held in association with Full Frame, the premier documentary film festival in the United States, examined the impact of intellectual property law on documentary filmmaking and music. It brought together artists - documentary filmmakers and directors, classical composers and audio collage artists - with a distinguished roster of legal experts to explore the complex interplay between law and art. The participants explored issues such as hurdles faced by filmmakers in clearing rights and renewing limited licenses for images and music, and how the line between permissible borrowing and theft in music has shifted in recent years (such that the evolution of genres like jazz, which relied on practices of borrowing and referencing, might not be possible under today's regime). The panelists also discussed legal reforms that might better promote creativity and take into account artists' perspectives.

International Public Goods and Transfer of Technology under a Globalized Intellectual Property Regime
This April 2003 conference was the first to examine, from both a legal and economic perspective, the recent strengthening and expansion of global intellectual property rights, and how a globalized intellectual property regime might strike a workable balance between public and private interests. An exceptional roster of distinguished economists, political scientists, legal scholars and other experts in the field brought to light the legal, economic and human impacts of international intellectual property policy on a wide range of areas, including public health, agriculture, technology transfer, sustainable development and culture. These areas are particularly crucial to the future of developing countries. The insights generated by the conference demonstrated the need for a more democratic, balanced debate on global intellectual property, and confirmed that the optimal line between intellectual property and the public domain is increasingly an international rather than a national issue.

Duke Conference on the Public Domain
In Fall 2001, Duke Law hosted the first-ever major conference to focus squarely on the topic of the public domain. This "extraordinary meeting" (Seth Shulman, Technology Review) drew together "an elite group of intellectuals and scientists" (Patti Waldmeir, Financial Times) from a range of disciplines including law, computer science, music, and cultural theory. The event ultimately confirmed that the public domain plays a vital role in areas ranging from the human genome to appropriationist art, and from the production of scientific data to the architecture of our communications networks.

Music and Theft: Technology, Sampling, and the Law
This Spring 2002 event brought together practitioners and theorists to discuss music sampling's technological foundations, artistic and cultural implications, and legal ramifications. Participants included sampling wunderkind DJ Spooky, seminal cultural theorist Dick Hebdige, music theorists and composer-professors Anthony Kelley and Scott Lindroth, music historian and BMI archivist David Sanjek, several prominent music attorneys and legal academics, as well as public domain fellow and conference organizer Daphne Keller.

Lecture Series

Information Ecology Lecture Series
In 2003, the Center for the Study of the Public Domain launched an interdisciplinary lecture series on "The Information Ecology." This series features presentations by scholars from Duke and around the country on intellectual property and related areas - such as innovation economics, global health and access to medicines, Internet and communications policy, cyberlaw, genomics, and a variety of other subjects. Through these events, the Center hopes to build connections between scholars across disciplines and between universities.

Meredith and Kip Frey Lecture in Intellectual Property
Each year, the Frey Lecture brings an outstanding thinker on intellectual property issues to Duke Law School to deliver a major address. Follow the links to webcasts of previous Frey Lectures.