‘Performing Copyright’ : Luke McDonagh (LSE) in conversation with Jane Wessel (USNA) & Kathy Bowrey (UNSW)

27 April 2022 BST 1pm; CET 2pm; EST 8 am; PST 5am; AEST 10pm

Performing Copyright. Law, Theatre and Authorship.

Luke M. McDonagh (LSE) in conversation with Jane Wessel (USDA) and Kathy Bowrey (UNSW).

Chaired by ISHTIP Co-Director, Eva Hemmungs Wirtén, (Linköping University) .

Based on empirical research, this innovative book explores issues of performativity and authorship in the theatre world under copyright law and addresses several inter-connected questions: who is the author and first owner of a dramatic work? Who gets the credit and the licensing rights? What rights do the performers of the work have? Given the nature of theatre as a medium reliant on the re-use of prior existing works, tropes, themes and plots, what happens if an allegation of copyright infringement is made against a playwright? Furthermore, who possesses moral rights over the work?

To evaluate these questions in the context of theatre, the first part of the book examines the history of the dramatic work both as text and as performative work. The second part explores the notions of authorship and joint authorship under copyright law as they apply to the actual process of creating plays, referring to legal and theatrical literature, as well as empirical research. The third part looks at the notion of copyright infringement in the context of theatre, noting that cases of alleged theatrical infringement reach the courts comparatively rarely in comparison with music cases, and assessing the reasons for this with respect to empirical research. The fourth part examines the way moral rights of attribution and integrity work in the context of theatre. The book concludes with a prescriptive comment on how law should respond to the challenges provided by the theatrical context, and how theatre should respond to law.

Luke McDonagh is Assistant Professor at the Law Department at the London School of Economics (LSE) where he undertakes research in the areas of Intellectual Property Law and Constitutional Law. His new book Performing Copyright. Law. Theatre and Copyright is published by Bloomsbury Press, 2021.

Jane Wessel is Assistant Professor of English at the US Naval Academy. Her forthcoming book is Owning Performance | Performing Ownership. Literary Property and the Eighteenth-Century British Stage (Michigan University Press, 2022).

Kathy Bowrey is a Professor in the School of Law, Society and Criminology, Faculty of Law and Justice, University of New South Wales, Australia and ISHTIP Co-Director.

CFP: Patents in the service of War And Peace

We invite contributions to the 3rd workshop of the ERC-funded project PASSIM (Patents as Scientific Information, 1895–2020), in collaboration with The International Society for the History and Theory of Intellectual Property (ISHTIP).

Deadline is soon: October 30, 2021

Dates: May 16–18, 2022
Venue: Norrköping, Sweden
Call closes: October 30, 2021
Proposal format: 500 Word proposal/200 Word bio
Submit to: 2022workshop@passim.se

Although legal historians and humanities scholars have studied patent law and its histories beyond their economic effects, it is surprising that they have devoted less attention to their military entanglements. The workshop welcomes papers on patents, relating to the theme of ‘war and peace’. In this sense, patents are understood as both legal documents and property rights, and conceptualised in a variety of disciplinary ways, ranging from legal tools to secure economic monopolies, to ‘weapons’ protecting national interests. In so doing, the workshop aims to explore patents as devices that create and redistribute power, and as active protagonists fuelling and constituting so-called “patent wars”.

More about the workshop and how to submit papers (PDF)

Any questions can be directed to the organizers of the workshop: Johanna DahlinJosé BellidoMartin Fredriksson.


Machines of Law and Intellectual Property as Legal Machinery.


20 June 2022

BST 12.00-12.15; CET 13:00-13:15; EST 7.00-7.15; PST 7.00-7.15; AEST 21.00-21.15
Welcome, Organisers.

BST 12.15-13.00; CET 13:15-14:00; EST 7.15-8.00; AEST 21.15-22.00
Devaluing Trademarks in an AI Driven Marketplace, Christine Haight Farley.
Commentator: Marc Stuhldreier.
Chair: Matilda Arvidsson.


BST 13.15-14.00; CET 14:15-15:00; EST 8.15-9.00; PST 5.15-6.00; AEST 22.15-23.00
Human Labour and AI Creativity: Beyond the Author/Tool Dichotomy, Kristofer Erickson.
Commentator: Ulf Petrusson.
Chair: Véronique Pouillard.


BST 14.15- 15.45; CET 15:15-16:45; EST 9.15-10.45; PST 6.00-7.45; AEST 23.00-00.45
Technologies of Peace: Enemy Patents, Custodial Functions, and the Interwar Construction of Security, Anna Saunders.

UNESCO on the Stage: UNESCO and Algerian Performers Approaching the Rome Convention, Minja Mitrovic.

Chair: Shane Burke.

16:45-17:45 Mingle event.

Day 2

21 JUNE 2022

BST 8.15-9.00; CET 9:15-10:00; EST 3.15-4.00 PST 0.15-1.00; AEST 17.15-18.00
Artefactual history of copyright’s subject matter, Ewa Laskowska-Litak.
Commentator: Kathy Bowrey.
Chair: Martin Fredriksson.


BST 9.15-10.00; CET 10:15-11:00; EST 4.15-5.00; PST 1.15-2.00; AEST 18.15-19.00

Hovering between institutions: Negotiating bureaucracies and the harmonization of intellectual property in a European context, Marius Buning.
Commentator: Fiona Macmillan.
Chair: Merima Bruncevic.


BST 10.15-11.00; CET 11:15-12:00; EST 5.15-6.00; PST 2.15-3.00; AEST 19.15-20.00
Replicability Crisis and Intellectual Property Law, Ofer Tur-Sinai & Or Cohen Sasson.
Commentator: Gabriel Galvez-Behar.
Chair: Frantzeska Papadopoulou.


BST 12.30-13.15; CET 13:30-14:15; EST 7.30-8.15; PST 4.30-5.15; AEST 21.30-22.15
Inking IP: Tattoo Machines & Law-Making, Melanie Stockton-Brown.
Commentator: Jeanne Fromer.
Chair: José Bellido.

BST 13.15-14.00; CET 14:15-15:00; EST 8.15-9.00; PST 5.15-6.00; AEST 22.15-23.00
Machines, surveillance and forced labour, Johanna Dahlin.
Commentator: Stina Teilmann Lock.
Chair: Kara Swanson.


BST 14.15-15.45; CET 15:15-16:45; EST 9.15-10.45; PST 6.15-7.45; AEST 23.15-00.45
Emergent Spaces of the Mechanical Author: Ernst Krenek and Interwar Mechanical-Musical Rights, Johan Larson Lindal.

Looming Questions: Could an Indian Weaver Patent a Loom in the Early-Twentieth, Subhadeep Chowdhury.

Chair: Marta Iljadica.

BST 16.00-17.00; CET 17:00-18:00; EST 11.00-12.00; PST 8.00-9.00; AEST 1.00-2.00
Governing board only, Board meeting.

19:00 Dinner.

Day 3

22 June 2022

BST 9.00-9.45; CET 10:00-10:45; EST 4.00-4.45; PST 1.00-1.45; AEST 18.00-18.45
The Machinery of Creation. Oulipo Poetry, Copyright & Rules of Constraint, Kathy Bowrey and Janet Chan.
Commentator: Eva Hemmungs Wirtén.
Chair: Marius Buning.


BST 10.00-11.30; CET 11:00-12:30; EST 5.00-6.30; PST 2.00-3.30; AEST 19.00-20.30
The voice and the machine: Performing music and theatre on the early radio (1921-1928), Anna Marie Skråmestø Nesheim.

Towards Innovations in Intellectual Property Studies: Using Topic Modeling to Explore the Limits of Copyright Law, Jamaica Jones. 

Chair: Hyo Yoon Kang.

BST 11.40-12.15; CET 12:40-13:15; EST 6.40-7.15; PST 3.40-4.15; AEST 20.40-21.15
Closing remarks, Organisers/Ulf Petrusson.

The workshop is hosted by Merima Bruncevic and the Center for Intellectual Property at the Department of Law, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

This is a hybrid event : in person & on Zoom.

For further details see University of Gothenburg Events Page.

Call For Papers

Machines of Law and Intellectual Property as Legal Machinery

20-22 June 2022

The 13th Annual Workshop of the International Society for the History and Theory of Intellectual Property (ISHTIP) will be hosted by Center for Intellectual Property at the Department of Law, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

The workshop will have a hybrid form, meaning we will cater for both physical and online participation.

We are going to be exploring themes connected to machines in and of law, specifically how law in general, and intellectual property law in particular, can be, and are, affected by machines and by machinic agencies. Machines and machinery resonate across the IP spectrum and across disciplines, from early modern innovations to the contemporary challenges of artificial intelligence. We are especially interested in papers that explore historical and contemporary connotations that encourage disciplinary self-reflexivity and conversations. Interdisciplinary approaches are strongly encouraged, particularly with respect to:

  • legal subjecthood e.g. technologically augmented human beings as well as non-human, less-than-human and more-than-human agencies;
  • materialities e.g. legal classification, administration, properties;
  • practices e.g. creative and scientific, information management, knowledge circulation, sharing; and
  • conceptions of rights and domain e.g. IP Constitutionalism, private power etc.

We invite participants to discuss how machines have influenced and challenged regulation over time. It could both be a matter of exploring contemporary challenges to law, speculative or artistic approaches or responses to machine regulation, as well as historical and theoretical discussions on the broad theme of law and machines. We particularly invite contributions on:

  • creation: e.g. automatic cultural production and invention
  • immaterial labour: e.g. immaterial machinic production, decision making and creativity
  • agency: e.g. machinic rights, responsibility and sustainability, artificial intelligence 
  • jurisdiction: e.g. decentralisation, territoriality, smart or technologically intensified spaces
  • law as machine: e.g. systemic boundaries, ontologies of IP law, convergences of public and private regulation
  • social engineering in the service of IP objectives: e.g. public goals and constitutionalism, dehumanisation of decision-making, trolls, bots, etc.

Guidelines for contributors

We welcome papers from all academic disciplines. Papers that address this call from an historical, artistic or theoretical perspective are particularly welcomed, as are contributions from scholars working across disciplines or using speculative and alternative methods. Established and junior scholars are encouraged to submit papers.

Proposers should be aware that authors (except for PhD students) do not present their own papers at ISHTIP workshops. Rather, a discussant, normally from a discipline other than the home discipline of the author, presents a brief summary and critique of papers to facilitate a more interdisciplinary discussion and build scholarly discourse across disciplines.

To allow this, complete papers must be submitted by 10 May 2022. The papers should not have been previously published.

To be considered for the workshop, please submit a 300-word abstract of your proposed paper as well as a one-paragraph bio and 2-page CV by 30 January 2022 by email to: merima.bruncevic@law.gu.se

Important dates

Date for Submission of proposals: 30 January 2022

Expected Date for notification of acceptance: 10 March 2022

Date for submission of full papers: 10 May 2022

Hosted by the Center for Intellectual Property, Department of Law, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Workshop Organising Committee: Merima Bruncevic; Matilda Arvidsson; Frantzeska Papadopoulou; Anna Holmberg Berkmann; Eva Hemmungs Wirtén; Kathy Bowrey; Fiona Macmillan; Isabella Alexander; Maurizio Borghi.

Identity and IP: how who we are informs our work

ISHTIP Online Discussion. 19/20 July 2021

A discussion of personal and identity-based perspectives exploring how these connect in some way with IP writing and research.

Attendees: Fady Aoun, Kathy Bowrey, Veit Erlmann, Susy Frankel, Hyo Yoon Kang, Jessica Lai, Sharon Le Gall, Toni Lester, Charleston Thomas, Hai-Yuean Tualima, Andrew Ventimiglia, Andrea Wallace.

Academic Open Letter in Support of the TRIPS Intellectual Property Waiver Proposal

July 2021

ISHTIP members Prof Graham Dutfield (University of Leeds), Dr Hyo Yoon Kang (Kent Law School), Dr Luke McDonagh (London School of Economics), along with Dr Aisling McMahon (Maynooth University) and Dr Siva Thambisetty (London School of Economics) have drafted an open letter signed by over 100 IP academics in support of the Indian and South African proposal for temporary TRIPS waiver “as a necessary and proportionate legal measure towards the clearing of existing intellectual property barriers to scaling up of production of COVID-19 health technologies in a direct, consistent and effective fashion”.

Drawing upon the history and theory of intellectual property, the letter acknowledges that patents have never been absolute rights. They are monopoly rights granted to serve the public interest. Patents “ must not be allowed to stand in the way of measures designed to make accessible the health technologies needed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, where universal global access is essential for the global public good.”

Monopolies over tacit and informal information, are also implicated in the current lack of global capacity for vaccine production and other health technologies, as well as in enabling their inequitable distribution.

The letter calls on the governments of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Australia, Brazil, Japan, Norway, Switzerland and the European Union to drop their opposition at the World Trade Organisation and to support the TRIPS waiver proposal.

You can read the full letter and list of signatories here:

Panel Discussion on Intellectual Property Law Scholarship and Pedagogy 
in Times of Covid-19 Pandemic

Co-hosted by 
Center for Social Critiques of Law, Kent Law School and 

International Society for the History and Theory of Intellectual Property (ISHTIP)

Graham Dutfield (Leeds)
Hyo Yoon Kang (Kent)
Fiona Macmillan (Birkbeck)
Luke McDonagh (LSE)
Aisling McMahon (Maynooth)
Alain Pottage (Kent/ SciencesPo)
Els Torreele (UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose) 

Traditionally IP law, and patent law in particular, had been regarded a legal technical and technocratic subfield. This panel discussion intends to review and discuss the state of the IP scholarship and pedagogy in light of the fissures within the field that have been laid bare at least since the so-called “TRIPS IP waiver” discussion. 

Over the course of the pandemic, issues around intellectual property law, especially regarding monopoly rights and trade secrets around the Covid-19 vaccine, have been problematised in general media. These have often centered around the ongoing battle for TRIPS IP waiver since October 2020. 

Amidst the ongoing discussions, intellectual property law and particularly patent law, have been catapulted into the public eye. After US threw in its limited support, there has been a divergence of perspectives on the Waiver proposal argued by IP scholars, both in favour and against the proposal and its significance. 

Diverse approaches to IP law and its purpose within the scholarship are not new. The current crystallisation of IP law’s current role in the prolonging of the Covid-19 pandemic, however, affords an apt opportunity to take review the scholarly field of of intellectual property law itself and its political and social role. 

The panel will discuss existing IP law scholarship and pedagogy, identifying their epistemological and ontological foundations, methodologies, and their relation to the current political economy. It will critically assess the past and present of the IP scholarly field and offer some thoughts for its improvement. 

Free registration: https://kent-ac-uk.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYqdeCqpzoqHdKMtjgmGkh8LL04sBAPFQO7

‘Cultural Heritage and IP’, Fiona Macmillan in conversation with Jose Bellido and Kathy Bowrey

May 20 BST 11am/CET 12 noon/ Pacific 3am/EST 6am/AEST 8pm

‘Cultural Heritage and IP’, Fiona Macmillan (Birkbeck) in conversation with Jose Bellido (Kent) and Kathy Bowrey (UNSW)

The encounter between creativity and cultural production, on the one hand, and legal regulation, on the other, demonstrates the systemic and conceptual limits of the law. It raises a host of questions that traverse – in multiple senses and contexts – distinctions between things like public and private, property and the commons, individual and community, product and process, idea and expression, tangible and intangible, movable and immovable, conservation and destruction, authentic and fake, and, perhaps most fundamentally, nature and culture. This book is about these binary distinctions – about how they hold and how they do not hold – in the context of the legal regimes governing copyright and cultural heritage. While the book argues that these two legal regimes are held together by a common approach to these binary distinctions, they are also held apart by their dominant frames of reference. While copyright as a private property right locates all relationships in the context of the market, the context of cultural heritage relationships is the community, of which the market forms a part but does not – or, at least, should not – control the whole. The current international law concept of cultural heritage, however, is weakened and hollowed out by a fossilized vision of heritage that is not up to the task of resisting the constant impositions of the market. The book proposes a radicalized concept of cultural heritage/property that locates and regulates cultural production within the dynamic and mutually constitutive process of community formation. Only such a concept, the book argues, will provide a basis for resisting the reduction of everything to its value in the market, for resisting the commodification, and creeping propertization, of all our cultural production.

Fiona Macmillan is Professor of Law at Birkbeck, University of London, and Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Roma Tre and the University of Technology, Sydney. She is a member of the ISHTIP Executive Committee. Her new book, Intellectual and Cultural Property. Between Market and Community, was published by Routledge, 2021.

Jose Bellido is Reader in Law at Kent University. He is a member of the ISHTIP Governing Board and a PASSIM project team member.

Kathy Bowrey is Professor at the Faculty of Law & Justice, University of New South Wales and Co-Director, ISHTIP. She is a Visiting Scholar, State Library of NSW (2021) and Research Fellow, Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Australia.

To download a transcript of this discussion:

Coming soon

‘Patent Capital in the Covid-19 Pandemic’, Hyo Yoon Kang in conversation with Mario Biagioli and Javier Lezaun

May 4 BST 10am/CET 11am/Pacific 2am/EST 5am/ AEST 7pm

‘Patent Capital in the Covid-19 Pandemic’, Hyo Yoon Kang (Kent) in conversation with Mario Biagioli (UCLA) and Javier Lezaun (Oxford)

In the present pandemic, there has been increased public interest and media reporting on intellectual property, in particular patents and know-how, in relation to the vaccine and other medicines against Covid-19. The WTO is still considering the proposed waiver of TRIPS related enforcement of intellectual property rights in Covid-19 medicines. Such an interest in the purpose and effects of patent rights has also been accompanied by some misunderstandings and misleading polemics.

Drawing on her recent writing about ‘Patent Capital in the Covid-19 Pandemic’ as a starting point, Hyo Yoon Kang will be in conversation with Mario Biagioli and Javier Lezaun. In light of the current extraordinary mobilisation of scientific, technical and financial resources, the panel will discuss the justification for patents and the notions of commons and publics, and consider them within the interdisciplinary intellectual property, science and technology studies scholarships.

Hyo Yoon Kang is Reader in Law at University of Kent. She leads Kent Law School as a project partner in the ERC PASSIM project.

Mario Biagioli is Distinguished Professor of Law and Communication at the University of California at Los Angeles. He is a member of the ISHTIP Advisory Board.

Javier Lezaun is Associate Professor in the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography and Director of the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society (InSIS) at the University of Oxford.

To download a transcript of this discussion:

‘Commodification of creativity’, Kathy Bowrey in conversation with Martin Fredriksson and Brad Sherman

22 April BST 11am/CET 12 noon/ Pacific 3am/EST 6am/AEST 8pm

‘Commodification of creativity’, Kathy Bowrey (UNSW) in conversation with Martin Fredriksson (Linköping) and Brad Sherman (Uni of Queensland)

There is an enduring and wide-reaching interest in understanding how copyright interacts with creativity, free speech, national cultures and new technologies. Without tracing the incorporation of authorship into the actual business practices of the global book, music and film industries we can’t begin to fully appreciate creator investments in copyright philosophy. How was the author’s right to intangible property as established in the 19th century so effectively mobilised by multinational corporations to create the modern cultural industries of the 20th century? Despite the image projected in advocacy that highlighted the benefits of copyright to all in the abstract, not all writers exploited copyright in the same manner or had access to the same social privileges, though standard forms of exploitation did emerge. To understand why some benefited and why others did less well, the relevance of writers’ different personalities, personal objectives, knowledge, experience, social networks and fortunes needs to be taken into account, but these factors play out differently depending upon genre, anticipated market, commodity forms and geographical location. Change in the significance of copyright and better outcomes for creators can come about when the value of authorship is reconsidered in light of a deeper understanding of how law functions in the cultural marketplace. It is hoped that readers of this book will support this endeavour by drawing upon a more critical understanding of copyright’s history in the 20th century and, in helping shift how relationships between art, law and society are perceived, deliver more control over creative lives than was evident in the previous century.

Kathy Bowrey is Professor at the Faculty of Law & Justice, University of New South Wales and Co-Director, ISHTIP. Her new book Copyright, Creativity, Big Media and Cultural Value. Incorporating the Author was published by Routledge, 2021.

Martin Fredriksson is Associate Professor at the Unit for Culture and Society (Tema Q), Linköping University. He is a member of the ISHTIP Governing Board.

Brad Sherman is Professor of Law and UQ Laureate Fellow at the TC Beirne School of Law, University of Queensland. He is a member of the ISHTIP Advisory Board.

To download a transcript of this discussion:

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Passim Workshop 2020


Call for Papers

We invite contributions to the workshop “Patents as Capital,” which forms the 2nd workshop of the ERC- funded project PASSIM (Patents as Scientific Information, 1895-2020), in collaboration with The International Society for the History and Theory of Intellectual Property (ISHTIP).

Dates: 8-10 September 2020
Venue: Nobel Museum, Stockholm, SWEDEN
Call closes: 14 February 2020
Proposal format: 500 Word proposal/200 Word bio
Submit to: 2020workshop@passim.se

Patents are regarded as central techniques and indicators of value in the ‘knowledge economy’ by linking immaterial knowledge to capital. In intellectual property scholarship, particularly that approaches law as economics or as a regulatory tool, patents are commonly studied as means of commercial and economic strategies. But this focus leaves out the other ways in which patents act as both instruments and representations of diverse kinds of capital: intellectual, cultural, scientific and financial capital(s). The concrete processes by which patents are implicated in and give rise to various practices of capitalisation and valuation remain relatively underexplored. Rather than equating patent with value, or presuming that patents generate intellectual capital, this workshop aims to examine and delineate the workings of patents as capital in their multiple manifestations: as personal privilege, scientific credit, cultural symbol, instrument of credibility and as financial proxies. These are only examples of the queries that we would like to discuss.We welcome cross-disciplinary and interdisciplinary contributions that problematise and analyse the promises and failings of patents as capital and that study the role of patents in such capitalisation processes.

We will give preference to unpublished papers that seek substantive feedback from participants of the workshop. PASSIM will cover the travel and accommodation cost of the selected participants.

Any questions can be directed to the organizers of the workshop:

Björn Hammarfelt (bjorn.hammarfelt@hb.se)
Gustav Källstrand (gustav.kallstrand@nobelcenter.se)
Hyo Yoon Kang (h.y.kang@kent.ac.uk)

PASSIM is a five-year (2017-2022) project funded by an ERC Advanced Investigator Grant (741095) to Professor Eva Hemmungs Wirtén, Linköping University, Sweden, PASSIM focuses on the “openness” aspect of patents, considering their role as technoscientific documents in the history of information and intellectual property. For more information on the project and the team, send us an e-mail: contact@passim.se, follow us on twitter @passimproject or visit our website www.passim.se.

Details of last year’s PASSIM workshop can be found here.

International Society for the History and Theory of Intellectual Property (ISHTIP)