October 2013


At The University of Tulsa College of Law, our faculty are dedicated to testing the boundaries of law and the legal profession.  They recognize that, in reality, the word “law” must always be followed by “and,” that the success of legal scholarship and practice is measured, in part, by openness to interdisciplinary insight.  Some of the fruitful conjunctions recently explored by our faculty include: copyrights, social norms, and modernist authors; the First Amendment and commercial speech; law, healthcare, and bioethics; and the legal contexts that shaped the life and writings of Oscar Wilde.

Researching authors without copyrights

Robert Spoo, Chapman Distinguished Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Faculty Development, has recently published Without Copyrights: Piracy, Publishing, and the Public Domain, with Oxford University Press.  The book probes the failure of US copyright law to protect foreign authors for more than a century after the first federal copyright act in 1790.  American publishers responded to this copyright vacuum by agreeing to recognize each other’s “rights” in uncopyrighted foreign works, often paying authors unrequired honoraria and royalties.  Informal publishing norms—called “trade courtesy”—filled the gap created by law, though these norms were always threatened by “pirate” publishers who refused to play the courtesy game.  Professor Spoo shows how copyright and courtesy affected nineteenth-century writers as well as modern authors such as James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and T.S. Eliot.  The book has received enthusiastic comment in The Nation, Publishers Weekly, and other venues.

Evaluating protections for commercial speech

University of Michigan Press has re-released Tamara R. Piety's book, Brandishing the First Amendment: Commercial Expression in America, in paperback.  Professor Piety is the Phyllis Hurley Frey Professor of Law at The University of Tulsa College of Law and a nationally known critic of commercial and corporate speech.  In her book, she explores strategic litigation by corporations to win more expansive First Amendment speech rights and argues that this expansion imperils public health, safety, and welfare; the reliability of commercial and consumer information; the stability of financial markets; and the global environment.  Professor Piety participated in two major conferences this year - the Freedom of Expression Scholars Conference at Yale Law School in May, and the Privacy Law Scholars Conference at the University of California-Berkeley in June.  She also participated on two panels at the Law & Society Association annual meeting in Boston in June and most recently spoke at The Ethical Society of St. Louis last month.

Hosting a health law policy symposium

The Tulsa Law Review hosted its annual scholarship symposium on Friday, October 4, 2013. This year's event, Health Law Policy: Legal Issues in the Evolving Healthcare Market, honored the work of Einer Elhauge, Petrie Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, and founding director of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics.  We were proud to host a panel of distinguished scholars at John Rogers Hall: I. Glenn Cohen, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School; C. Scott Hemphill, Professor of Law, Columbia Law School; Abigail R. Moncrieff, Associate Professor of Law, Boston University School of Law; Arti K. Rai, Elvin R. Latty Professor, Duke University School of Law; Barak Richman, Edgar P. and Elizabeth C. Bartlett Professor of Law & Business Administration, Duke University School of Law; Christopher Robertson, Associate Professor, James E. Rogers College of Law, University of Arizona; and Talha Syed, Assistant Professor of Law, University of California-Berkeley.

Hosting 'Oscar Wilde & the Law' conference

On November 7-8, 2013, TU College of Law will host an interdisciplinary conference, Oscar Wilde & the Law, exploring the ways in which law shaped the life and legacy of the famous Irish playwright and wit.  Merlin Holland, Wilde’s grandson, will speak on “Copyrights and Wrongs”; other panelists will address the effect on Wilde and his writings of laws regulating homosexuality, blackmail, and libel, as well as the impact of Wilde’s three public trials and his incarceration for “gross indecency.”  Panelists will include Professor Laura Appleman, Willamette University College of Law; Professor Margot Backus, English Department, University of Houston; Professor Russell Christopher, TU Law College; Professor Joseph A. Kestner, TU English Department and Film Studies; Professor Sean Latham, TU English Department and Editor, James Joyce Quarterly; Professor Robert Spoo, TU College of Law; and Professor Simon Stern, Toronto Law Faculty.  Events are open to the public.

I look forward to keeping you posted on the achievements of our fine faculty, thought-provoking conferences, and other developments. I hope the beginning of your academic year has been successful thus far.

Janet K. Levit
Dean and Dean John Rogers Endowed Chair
The University of Tulsa College of Law