Marquette Law School to Host First Annual Mosaic Conference

Canterbury-mosaicI am very excited to announce that this weekend, Marquette will host the First Annual Mosaic Conference: Diverse Voices in IP Scholarship, co-sponsored by Marquette University Law School and Institute for Intellectual Property and Social Justice, and with additional funding provided by William Welburn, Associate Provost of Diversity and Inclusion, Marquette University. The goal of this first Mosaic Conference is to bring together intellectual property scholars, policy makers, and activists of diverse and multicultural backgrounds and perspectives to explore socially progressive and non-traditional ideas in IP law, policy, and social activism. The Conference begins with a Reception and Dinner tonight and will conclude on Sunday morning.

Throughout the global community, intellectual property regimes play a critical role in human development, socio-economic empowerment, and the preservation and promotion of social justice. Many IP regimes, however, have been structured or interpreted to reflect only the interests of an entrenched status quo; socially cognizant IP theses are often ignored or rejected as tangential or antithetical to commoditization-centered theories of IP protection, often impeding broader social utility concerns including equitable access to IP protection and output and stimulating innovation. Through the First Annual Mosaic Conference, IP scholars and practitioners will come together with policy makers, social activists, and others to present ideas for progressive and activist-oriented scholarship for assessment as to social relevance, legal significance, and doctrinal integrity.

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What I Wish I Had Known When I Started Law School, Part II: (Dis)Orientation

I have to say, I found my first year of law school (at Duke — go Blue Devils!) like getting off the plane after a twenty-four trip to South Africa: profoundly disorienting.   Current 1Ls, I hope your orientation group was better than mine (I called my Mom and cried), I hope that you understand your reading somewhat, and I hope that you have gone out a least once with the one nice person in your orientation group.  So, now that stuff is over, what else do you need to know?

I divide this up into two sections:  How to Orient Yourself as a Human and How to Orient Yourself as a Law Student.

How to Orient Yourself as a Human

1.    It gets better.  Well, kind of better, in a relative sense of the word:  You will understand what your teachers are saying at some point.   You will know how to write a legal memorandum well.  You will be able to speak clearly when a judge is impatiently looking at you.   It may not happen your first year, but it will happen.   

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“Rah-Rah-Ah-Ah-Ah, Roma-Roma-Ma-Ma, Gaga, Ooh-La-La”: Persona, Authenticity, and the Right of Publicity Now

Yesterday, I posed the following questions: What is identity? As we define the right, should we only protect a person’s authentic identity (name, likeness, voice, etc.), or do we protect that constructed identity? Are Madonna’s many personas as valid as Janet’s one? These questions of authentic and constructed personas are still very much an issue in today’s video culture. Our current great video stars, Lady Gaga and Beyonce, have often played with this question of authenticity versus construction.

In fact, I would argue that Beyonce and Gaga can be seen as “baroque” versions of the authentic Janet and the constructed Madonna. Beyonce heightens the authentic tradition in her videos. For example, in the video “Crazy in Love” she sings, standing next to the man who would become her husband, Jay-Z, about how much she loves him. Like Janet, Beyonce uses her given name. Lady Gaga, very obviously, extends the constructed tradition. In the video for “Bad Romance,” Lady Gaga changes personas fourteen times in one video. Lady Gaga makes us call her Lady Gaga.

Lately, however, Beyonce and Lady Gaga themselves have sought to confuse these boundaries, between the authentic and constructed, through their two videos “Videophone” and “Telephone.” 

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