Robert Spoo

Robert Spoo

Chapman Distinguished Chair in LawAssociate Dean for Faculty DevelopmentAssistant: Shaye Guilfoyle 918.631.2401John Rogers Hall 230
918.631.2447 PublicationsCurriculum Vitae

Article: "Can We End the Copyright Tower of Babel?" - published by Publishers Weekly and London Show Daily, April 17, 2013.  Read full article

Professor Spoo earned his JD from the Yale Law School, where he was Executive Editor of the Yale Law Journal and received the Michael Egger Prize for best student publication on current social problems in volume 108 of the Yale Law Journal. After graduating, he served as law clerk for the Honorable Sonia Sotomayor, of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and practiced for several years with law firms in New York, Oklahoma, and San Francisco, providing litigation services and advice in the areas of copyrights, trademarks, and other intellectual property. As an attorney, Professor Spoo has represented authors, scholars, documentary filmmakers, record companies, and other creators and users of intellectual property. His litigation work has included serving as co-counsel, with the Stanford Center for Internet & Society and other attorneys, for Professor Carol Shloss of Stanford against the Estate of James Joyce. In 2005, he was asked to travel to Vietnam to advise the Ministry of Education and Training on issues of intellectual property and higher education.

Prior to his legal career, Professor Spoo received his MA and PhD in English from Princeton University and taught for more than ten years as a tenured faculty member in the English Department at The University of Tulsa, where he was also Editor of the James Joyce Quarterly.  He has published numerous books and articles on James Joyce, Ezra Pound, and other modern literary figures.  His teaching interests include copyrights and intellectual property, media and entertainment law, law and literature, and the copyright-related needs of scholars.  His publications have appeared in the Yale Law Journal, the UCLA Law Review, and other law and humanities journals, as well as in collections published by Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press.  Professor Spoo's book, Without Copyrights: Piracy, Publishing, and the Public Domain (New York:  Oxford University Press, July 2013), offers a legal and cultural history of the impact on non-US authors of the protectionist and isolationists features of US copyright laws from 1790 on. 

Professor Spoo is a member of the Modernist Studies Association Task Force on Fair Use, serves as copyright advisor to numerous academic journals and projects, and acts as general counsel for the International James Joyce Foundation.  He also serves on the advisory board of the National Library of Ireland and has assisted with proposed copyright legislation for the Republic of Ireland and other copyright issues affecting Irish cultural institutions.  In June 2008, he received the Lucia R. Briggs Distinguished Achievement Award for "outstanding contributions and achievements in a career field," from his undergraduate institution, Lawrence University.  He has also received Outstanding Professor Awards at the College of Law, and in 2010-11 received The University of Tulsa's Outstanding University Teacher Award.


Education and Degrees Earned

  • JD, Yale Law School, 2000
  • PhD, English, Princeton University, 1986
  • MA, English, Princeton University, 1984
  • BA, magna cum laude, Lawrence University, 1979

Areas of Academic Specialty

  • Copyrights and Intellectual Property
  • Media and Entertainment Law
  • Internet Law
  • Obscenity Law and Civil Forfeiture
  • Law and Literature
  • Property
  • Contracts
  • Modern British, Irish, and American authors
  • Literary and historical theory
  • Textual editing
  • 20th-century war literature

Previous Teaching Experience

  • 2012-present Chapman Distinguished Chair (endowed).  The University of Tulsa.
  • 2011- present Professor of Law (tenured).  The University of Tulsa.
  • 2008-2011 Associate Professor of Law (tenured).  The University of Tulsa.
  • 2004-2006 Adjunct Professor of English and Law.  The University of Tulsa.
  • 1994-2000 Associate Professor of English (tenured).  The University of Tulsa.
  • 1988-94 Assistant Professor of English.  The University of Tulsa.
  • 1984-88 Lecturer in English; Teaching Assistant.  Princeton University.
  • 1987-88 Assistant for Graduate English Studies.  Princeton University.
  • 1979-81 Admissions Counselor.  Lawrence University.

Previous Relevant Work Experience

  • 2008-present.  Of Counsel.  Doerner, Saunders, Daniel & Anderson, LLP.  Tulsa, OK.
  • 2006-2008.   Attorney.  Howard Rice Nemerovski Canady Falk & Rabkin, P.C.  San Francisco, CA.
  • 2003-2006.  Attorney.  Doerner, Saunders, Daniel & Anderson, LLP.  Tulsa, OK.
  • 2001-02 Law Clerk.  The Honorable Sonia Sotomayor, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.
  • 2000-01  Attorney.  Debevoise & Plimpton.  New York, NY.
  • 1999   Summer Associate.  Dewey Ballantine LLP.  New York, NY.
  • 1998 & 1999 Summer Associate.  Doerner, Saunders, Daniel & Anderson LLP.  Tulsa, OK.

Professional Affiliations

  • General Counsel, International James Joyce Foundation
  • 2004-present Copyrights Editor, Twentieth Century Literature
  • 2000-present Copyrights Editor, James Joyce Quarterly
  • 2000-present Copyrights Editor, Journal of Modern Literature.
  • 1999-present External Advisor, Modernist Journals Project (Brown Univ. and Univ. of Tulsa)
  • 1996-present Advisory Editor, Twentieth Century Literature.
  • State Bars of California, New York, and Oklahoma 
  • United States Courts of Appeals for the Ninth and Tenth Circuits
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of California
  • United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York
  • United States District Courts for the Northern and Western Districts of Oklahoma

Courses Taught at TU

  • Contracts
  • Copyright Law
  • Decedents Estates and Trusts
  • Law and Literature

Awards & Recognition

  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America
  • University of Tulsa Outstanding Teacher (2010-2011)
  • College of Law Outstanding Professor (2009-2010)
  • University of Tulsa College of Law Summer Research Grant. 2008-Present
  • Lucia R. Briggs Distinguished Achievement Award (for “outstanding contributions and achievements in a career field”), Lawrence University, Appleton, WI. June 2008.
  • Donald C. Gallup Fellowship in American Literature, Beinecke Library, Yale Univ. 1995.
  • University of Tulsa Summer Fellowship. 1993.
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Fellowship. 1989