Something Completely Different

I do have a day job, teaching and writing about intellectual property law (especially copyright and trademark law). If you'd like to see a tiny bit of me and what I do, for free (that is, no law school tuition expected!), then stop by the William Pitt Union in Oakland tomorrow afternoon (Friday, December 4) for an academic conference:

You are invited to a book launch and symposium for Music and Cultural Rights (University of Illinois Press, 2009), co-edited by Andrew Weintraub and Bell Yung, on Friday December 4, 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm, in the Kurtzmann Room in the William Pitt Union.

Framing timely and pressing questions concerning music and cultural rights, Music and Cultural Rights illustrates the ways in which music--as a cultural practice, a commercial product, and an aesthetic form--has become enmeshed in debates about human rights, international law, and struggles for social justice.

We will celebrate the publication of this landmark volume with food, drink, and live music! Copies of the book will be available for examination and purchase.

The keynote speaker at the Symposium will be Dr. Beverley Diamond, Canada Research Chair in Ethnomusicology and Director of the Research Centre for Music, Media and Place, Memorial University of Newfoundland. Other speakers include Mike Madison (Professor of Law, University of Pittsburgh); Damien Pwono (Executive Director of the Global Initiative on Culture and Society, The Aspen Institute), and the two co-editors, Bell Yung and Andrew Weintraub (Department of Music, University of Pittsburgh). Please refer to our website for further information:


I will be speaking around 4 pm. If you come, I hope that you'll buy a book. I didn't contribute to the book; I was simply invited to speak as part of the launch. I'll be talking about IP theory and some applications to contemporary pop music - specifically The Beatles and Bruce Springsteen.

More information about Music and Cultural Rights:

"The best perspective to date on the issues of music and cultural rights. This anthology speaks to the many scholars who believe that engaged scholarship is the way of the future."--Beverley Diamond, author of Native American Music in Eastern North America: Experiencing Music, Expressing Culture

"A volume on music and cultural rights is both timely and welcome, particularly one that relies upon diverse ethnographic studies as this one does. An innovative interdisciplinary contribution to ethnomusicology."--Rosemary J. Coombe, Senior Canada Research Chair in Law, Communication and Culture, York University

Supported by the Human Rights Division under the Peace and Social Justice Program of the Ford Foundation, the essays in this volume examine how interpretations of cultural rights vary across societies; how definitions of rights have evolved; and how rights have been invoked in relation to social struggles over cultural access, use, representation, and ownership. The individual case studies, many of them based on ethnographic field research, demonstrate how musical aspects of cultural rights play out in specific cultural contexts, including the Philippines, China, Hawaii, Peru, Ukraine, and Brazil.

Contributors are Nimrod Baranovitch, Adriana Helbig, Javier F. León, Ana María Ochoa, Silvia Ramos, Helen Rees, Felicia Sandler, Amy Ku'uleialoha Stillman, Ricardo D. Trimillos, Andrew N. Weintraub, and Bell Yung.


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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at] Mike also blogs at, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

All opinions expressed at Pittsblog 2.0 are those of their respective authors and of no one (and no thing) else, least of all the University of Pittsburgh.

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