Book talk with Jessica Silbey, Professor of Law, Boston University School of Law

Nov. 28, 2023
12:00PM - 1:30PM
SLB Room 128
Open to the YLS Community Only

Against Progress: Intellectual Property and Fundamental Values in the Internet Age

When first written into the U.S. Constitution, IP aimed to facilitate ‘progress of science and the useful arts’ by granting rights to authors and inventors. Today, when rapid technological evolution accompanies growing wealth inequality and political and social divisiveness, the constitutional goal of “progress” may pertain to more basic, human values, redirecting IP’s emphasis to the commonwealth instead of private interests. Against Progress considers contemporary debates about IP law as concerning the relationship between the constsitutional mandate of progress and fundamental values, such as equality, privacy, and distributive justice, that are increasingly challenged in today’s internet age. Following a legal analysis of various IP cases, Silbey examines the experiences of everyday creators and innovators navigating ownership, sharing, and sustainability within the internet eco-system and current IP laws. Crucially, the book encourages refiguring the substance of ‘progress’ and the function of IP in terms that demonstrate the urgency of art and science to social justice today.  

Jessica Silbey is Professor of Law at the Boston University School of Law. She has a PhD in comparative literature and a JD in law, both from the University of Michigan. She is the author  of The Eureka Myth: Creators, Innovators, and Everyday Intellectual Property (Stanford, 2015), and was a Guggenheim Fellow in 2018. Her most recent book is Against Progress: Intellectual Property and Fundamental Values in the Internet Age (Stanford, 2022). She also has written and co-edited several books on law and film and dozens of law review articles and books chapters.  She teaches and researches in the area of intellectual property, constitutional law, and law and the humanities. Before teaching full time, Professor Silbey was a law clerk to Robert E. Keeton (D. Mass.) and to Levin H. Campbell (Court of Appeals for the First Circuit). And she was also an attorney in the disputes department at Foley Hoag LLP. 

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Information Society Project and YJOLT