Why does IP law require a critical race lens today?

A critical race lens can illustrate major gaps in traditional doctrinal and theoretical IP approaches. African-American creators have been disadvantaged as the “Invisible Men”–and women–of IP theory. These “race-neural” analyses fail to account for the many ways that IP law–from structural hostility to oral and improvisational norms to restrictive registration standards have facilitated the fleecing of African-American cultural production.

How do you hope to advance the discourse of race and IP through your work?

My work re-imagines a copyright regime that rewards creation and innovation from the “faces at the bottom” of creative communities, and where principles of distributive and corrective justice would trump formalities and arcane doctrines.

How does your work contribute to re-imagining IP in the twenty first century?

I hope my work can advance the discourse of race, gender and IP by showing how  racialized creators have both been impacted by IP law and have also impacted it. Appropriation of the great African-American songbook is not some relic of the past, but rather an on-going dynamic that taints the very legitimacy of the copyright regime. Addressing this dynamic–the invisible “black elephant in the room”–should be a key focus of copyright reform