The 2013 ‘Global Congress on IP and the Public Interest’ Research Survey


Between July and September, 2013, we surveyed members of the Global Congress community to learn more about their projects and priorities. We invited participation through email lists and solicited anyone who had either been to a Global Congress, been invited to one, or expressed interest in coming.  We received around 90 responses.

Rather than create an agenda document, we’ve decided to let the responses speak mostly for themselves.  We’ve split them into two parts: a searchable, sortable database for Current Projects (below) and a series of posts on Research Priorities (forthcoming on Infojustice) that compile perspectives on research opportunities and its relationship to policymaking in the next several years.

Here are the caveats: The responses are drawn from–but do not exhaustively reproduce–the responses we received.  Responses have been cherry picked, edited, and loosely organized under primary themes.  We favored detailed responses over lists of projects or statements of general interests or concerns.  The list is also quite limited: it attributes projects to the person or persons who reported it–not necessarily to all contributors to a project.   We can, of course, make adjustments where the attribution is clearly inadequate (let us know if that’s the case).  But we are not aiming for a rigorous accounting of the research field, just a useful one given the usual constraints on time and resources.  If this proves popular, we can discuss expanding it as part of future Global Congresses.

View all survey results


Governance, Participation, Trade Agreements

Public Health, Access to Medicines

Practices and Attitudes, Piracy / Informality, Public Understanding of Copyright

Tech Innovation Systems and Patents, Open Innovation, Tech Patents, Patent SystemUniversity Tech Transfer, Biological Patents

Creative Incentives and Remuneration, Collecting Societies, Licensing, Copyright’s Incentives, Remuneration, Creative IndustriesAlternative Business Models

Copyright Reform, Users’ Rights, Access to Cultural Goods, Educational Materials, Libraries

Enforcement, Privacy and Surveillance

Trademark, Geographical Indicators, Traditional Knowledge

IP/A2K Social Movements and Activism, Capacity Building

Adjacent Issues

Geographical Focus

Global, Latin America, Africa, MENA, Europe, South Asia, USA, Brazil, Australia, Canada, Poland, China, Russia, South Africa, India, Ethiopia


Priorities for Future Research

Intro and International Comparison and Cases
Copyright Reform, Users’ Rights, and Enforcement
Trade, Patents, and Health
Cultural Economies
Methods, Communication, and Social Movements


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Primary Investigator(s) and/or Person Who Reported ItResearch VenueProject TitleTopic(s)Geographical FocusDescription
Sara BannermanMacMaster University, CanadaCopyright: A History of Access to KnowledgeGovernance
Traditional histories of international copyright have showcased France, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States. The relative absence of other countries from the dominant history leaves a story with significant blind spots. This project examines the history of international copyright by foregrounding the ‘emerging countries’ of various historical periods. It hypothesizes that emerging and developing countries have almost always been proponents of expanded access to knowledge, and that this can be traced through the international history of copyright.
Sean Flynn
Mike Palmedo
American University Washington College of Law, USASpecial 301 Watch ProjectGovernance
USAThis project provides legal and technical assistance to civil society organizations seeking to make submissions in the annual USTR Special 301 Report process.
Jessica LitmanUniversity of Michigan, USAUsers' RightsUSAI'm writing a book on the interests of readers, listeners and viewers in the copyright system (title: "Copyright Liberties"). I am also working with a small group on an effort to come up with a model copyright law that could be useful in the domestic (US) copyright reform effort.
John BergemayerPublic Knowledge, USAUsers' RightsUSABroadly I work on the ways in which IP, competition law, and Internet policy together shape the future of access to video content, ranging from work on DRM and copyright law (e.g, the scope of the Section 106 rights) to the impact of Internet peering disputes on consumer access to media.
Koleman StrumpfUniversity of Kansas, USABehavior and Attitudes
Piracy / Informal Circulation and Distribution
USAI am working on the economic impact of file sharing downloads on the movie industry. There will be separate papers on theatrical and the home video markets. The paper will utilize fine grained data on downloads and sales.
Inyoung HwangThe Korean Federation of Science and Technology Societies (KOFST), South KoreaTech Innovation Systems and PatentsSouth Korea
I am involved in a study of the Korean knowledge ecosystem model in the Era of Creative Economy, based on semi-structured deep interviews, focused group interviews, simulation modeling, and case studies. There will be comparative dimension exploring parallels in Switzerland, Sweden, US, Germany, Japan, and Israel.
Rochelle DreyfussNYU, USATech Innovation Systems and Patents
Patent Offices and Functioning of the Patent System
USAI’m writing series of articles on specialized adjudication of patent disputes in the United States. I have started to look at the effect of specialization on patent law as it is applied in other countries.
Arlene ZankWay Better Patents, USATech Innovation Systems and Patents
Patent Offices and Functioning of the Patent System
USAWe have undertaken a study of the impact of accelerated examination programs for patents. Do these programs meet their stated goals, who participates in them, and what are the outcomes. We have completed the first phase of work on the impact of the USPTO Green Technology Pilot Program (Analysis of the first 835 patents). We are looking at this program in light of the new authority granted to the Director of USPTO to grant accelerated examination for "economically important" innovations. We are looking at a variety of quantitative and qualitative issues to determine who is benefitting from these efforts.
Arlene ZankWay Better Patents, USATech Innovation Systems and Patents
Patent Offices and Functioning of the Patent System
USAWe are also trying to provide weekly box scores that identify the number of patents granted, the level of co-inventorship across geographic boundaries, and core information on patents in an accessible format. Much of the metrics here focus on assigning patents to countries based on the first named inventors. This information obscures much of the real information on where inventions are coming from because no detailed analysis of the geolocation of the teams is being undertaken.
Arlene ZankWay Better Patents, USATech Innovation Systems and Patents
University Tech Transfer
USAI'm working on an econometric study of the rates at which patents granted to university and academic researchers/inventors are licensed—with licensing being an indicator that the inventions are being commercialized and made available to the public. Since many university patents cover basic research, we are attempting to gain insight into what is actually licensed and when in its patent lifecycle. We believe that this work will help policy makers frame the discussions on how the end products from publicly funded research transfer to the marketplace.
Jorge ContrerasAmerican University Washington College of Law, USANarratives of Gene PatentingTech Innovation Systems and Patents
Biological Patents
Examination of narrative strains in the debate over gene patenting in the US and worldwide.
Peter DiColaNorthwestern University, USAIncentives and Remuneration for Creative Work
USAAnother set of projects involves studying the licensing of copyrighted works for digital platforms. The empirical goal is to study what works well and what does not with private licenses. The policy goal is to learn about government policies that encourage licensing that is socially beneficial. Here, I have focused on the music industry, but not to the exclusion of video, newspapers, and books.
Christopher Sprigman
Jeanne Fromer
Christopher Buccafusco
NYU, USAExperimental Studies of Incentives in Intellectual PropertyIncentives and Remuneration for Creative Work
Incentives and Copyright
USAA series of experiments testing the differential effects of rules conditioning protection of creators’ work on the creators achieving certain thresholds of creativity. The experiments are meant to model existing copyright and patent laws, which set very different thresholds for the amount of creativity necessary to secure IP rights. A second line of experimental research looks at ‘Sequential Innovation Rules in Intellectual Property,’ and tests the differential effects of IP rules governing the right of follow-on creators to build on other’s pre-existing work.
Andrew BridgesFenwick & West LLP, USAIncentives and Remuneration for Creative Work
Incentives and Copyright
USAUS Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante said in 2012 that copyright was for authors first and the nation second. More recently she has retreated from that statement by modifying it: now she says that copyright is for authors, and what is good for authors is good for the nation. Is copyright really for all authors? In reality, it pits authors against two different groups: other authors, and the public. I plan to examine the proposition that copyright law itself does not have a single constituency. I would also like to study the effects of copyright law in pitting author (incumbent) against author (the new author who may want exploit or adapt earlier works, but who faces restrictions on doing so and penalties for violating those restrictions). Also, given that copyright terms extend for the life of the author plus seventy years, during the majority of most copyright terms the "author" who benefits from copyright law is dead. Does copyright law therefore favor dead authors against new authors? Who benefits from such a principle?
Kristin ThomsonNorthwestern University, USAArtist Revenue ProjectIncentives and Remuneration for Creative Work
USAThis project involves surveying musicians in the U.S. about their sources of revenue. The survey was in the field in 2011 and the project team hopes to replicate the survey in 2014, pending funding. The goal is to eventually study changes in the different "revenue streams" of musicians. The hope is that this will shed light on economic theories of copyright and incentives for creation.
Rahul Telang
Mike Smith
Carnegie Mellon University, USAIncentives and Remuneration for Creative Work
Creative Industries
USAMost of our work in this area is about understanding how piracy and anti-piracy measures affect user and firm incentives. The methods are mostly economics and impact is to bring data analysis to the table.
Joel WaldfogelUniversity of Minnesota, USAIncentives and Remuneration for Creative Work
Creative Industries
USAOne big project is quantifying the supply of new creative products since digitization. Earlier work by me and others documented harmful effects of piracy on revenue. But this big question is whether, in light of both the bad news on the demand side (piracy) and good news on the supply side (a reduction of bringing new products to market), consumers continue to experience a robust flow of new products. I have written a series of papers examining this question with data on music. I am now looking at books.
Joel WaldfogelUniversity of Minnesota, USAIncentives and Remuneration for Creative Work
Creative Industries
USAA second large project is concerned with digitization and international trade in music. Now that products are digital - and product discovery channels are broad - does distance continue to matter in international trade? Does the US dominate global markets in music in the same way that it does in movies? Does the move toward more frictionless trade help or hurt consumers and producers in a variety of different markets? The study will examine North America and Europe.
Brandon ButlerAmerican University Washington College of Law, USAThe Strange Case of Pre-1972 Sound RecordingsCopyright ReformUSAThese are protected not by federal copyright law, but by a patchwork of state anti-piracy laws and common law copyright. Many interesting questions follow from this legal oddity. What are the economic consequences of this hybrid regime? Have rights holders suffered from the lack of access to statutory damages, DMCA anti-circumvention protection, etc. etc.?
Barton BeebeNYU, USASubstantial Similarity Tests for CopyrightCopyright ReformUSAI’m currently conducting (with co-authors) an empirical study of ‘substantial similarity’ tests developed through copyright case law as a means of evaluating whether a reproduction of a copyrighted work is infringing. This is a case-counting project, involving the systematic content analysis of all relevant reported federal court opinions.
Corynne McSherryElectronic Frontier Foundation, USACopyright ReformUSAOn the copyright reform front, we’re focusing on statutory damages, first sale (esp digital), and reform of DMCA section 1201. For each of these, EFF's goal is to find ways to restore the balance between copyright and the public interest, so that copyright can better serve the goal of promoting the progress of science and the useful arts. Outside of copyright, we are working to collect data on patent trolls and prior art for certain specific patented inventions, in order to fight back against patent abuse.
Joe Karaganis
Lawrence Liang
Pedro Mizukami
Eve Grey
Miroslaw Filiciak
Pablo Arrieta
Evelin Heidel
Alek Tarkowski
The Ecology of Access to Educational Materials in UniversitiesAccess to Knowledge and Cultural Goods
Access to Educational Materials
South Africa
A large 7-country comparative study of how students and faculty get the materials they need for their work, focusing on Brazil, India, South Africa, Poland, Argentina, Colombia, and the US. Our ‘ecological’ approach links ‘bottom-up’ accounts of student and classroom activity with institutional strategies and public policy on access and educational limitations and exceptions.
Joe KaraganisThe American Assembly, Columbia University, USAOER Demand IndicatorsAccess to Knowledge and Cultural Goods
Access to Educational Materials
Building on the new Open Syllabus Project, I think we’ll be able to provide demand indicators for open access materials in the US and in other countries where we can secure university-level participation. We will be looking for partners able to broker access to university syllabus repositories. Currently Sloan Foundation funded.
Andrew RensDuke University, USAThe Provision of Educational Resources as Public GoodsAccess to Knowledge and Cultural Goods
Access to Educational Materials
USAI examine the provision of 'learning materials' reconceived as educational resources at primary, secondary and tertiary level and by state, intergovernmental and non-profit private agencies and suggest that mandating public licenses such as Creative Commons Attribution can best achieve the objectives of these agencies. The hoped for impact is to provide the advocates of Open Educational Resources with developed arguments for conversation with policy-makers.
Brandon ButlerAmerican University Washington College of Law, USALicensing and fair use issues for librariesAccess to Knowledge and Cultural Goods
USAI'll be following up libraries who have used the ARL 'Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Academic and Research Libraries' to see whether the Code has, in practice, reduced uncertainty and promoted best practices around fair use. I also plan to explore whether the licensing costs associated with use of older academic journal content suppress the market for newer content, such as monographs. Finally, I may look at the types of works held by libraries that are technically covered by copyright but are clearly not produced with any hope of remuneration via licensing, etc. How has copyright changed the fate of those works, made them less available as subjects for scholarship, lay enjoyment, etc.?
Peter Jaszi
Pam Samuelson
American University Washington College of Law, USA
University of California, Berkeley, USA
Best Practices Guidelines for Libraries and ArchivesAccess to Knowledge and Cultural Goods
USAThe Berkeley Digital Library Copyright Project with PIJIP at American University is working to develop best practices guidelines for libraries and archives for making decisions about whether works in copyright are orphan works and whether they can be made available to the public. The project is based on a series of workshops featuring representatives of these heritage groups talking about their policies and practices and an assessment of the legal environment. We believe that many uses of orphan works can be justified as fair use. The best practices guidelines could be very valuable to heritage institutions to facilitate greater access to orphan works.
Peter Jaszi
Pam Samuelson
American University Washington College of Law, USA
University of California, Berkeley, USA
Policy and Judicial Interventions around Fair UseAccess to Knowledge and Cultural Goods
USAThe Berkeley group participates in the ongoing policy and judicial conversations around fair use and other key components of copyright law in the digital era. This work includes submitting comments and reply comments to the Copyright Office in response to its Notice of Inquiry about orphan works and mass digitization, and filing amicus curiae briefs on behalf of academic authors in three pending copyright cases: Authors Guild v Google, arguing both against class certification and that digitizing texts to enable text mining is fair use; Authors Guild v HathiTrust, arguing against the Guild having standing to challenge HT except as to copyrights it owns and making the same argument regarding fair use for text mining; and Cambridge U Press v Becker, arguing that Georgia State's practice of allowing limited uploading of portions of copyrighted works was fair use.
Joe Karaganis
Jennifer Urban
The American Assembly, Columbia University, USA
University of California, Berkeley, USA
Robo-Notice and TakedownEnforcementUSAAn empirical study that examines the integrity of the notice and takedown process as the process is automated by senders and targets.
Vikrant Narayan VasudevaIndian Law InstituteAdjacent IssuesIndia
I’m working on intellectual property management in context of open source software, and the possibility of harmoniously adapting the open source model with the proprietary model for a sui generis software protection model. The approach is a comparative analysis of the jurisdictions of U.S., Germany, Japan and India.
Jason SchultzNew York University, USATech Patents
Copyright Reform
Users' Rights
USACopyright and Patent Exhaustion (First Sale); Fair Use; Digital Libraries and digital lending; Defensive Patenting; Crowd-sourcing prior art searching