Pitt's IPI Hosts a Public Lecture on IP and Virtual Worlds

In recent posts here and here, I've started to sketch out the mission of Pitt Law's new Innovation Practice Institute.  It's time to turn to some details.  These will come out more or less in the order that they happen or the order in which they strike me as timely and interesting, rather than in order of importance.

First up:  Some public programming.  The IPI is taking over sponsorship of an existing lecture series at the law school, what in recent years has been called "The Distinguished Intellectual Property Lecture" because the speakers have been big-name intellectual property law professors or "figures" (or both).  That tradition may continue, but the focus of the lecture will shift a bit:  we'll try to connect the speaker and the topic to something concrete in Pittsburgh's innovation space.

So, the upcoming "Distinguished Intellectual Property Lecture" will take place on Thursday, March 24, 2011 at 4 pm at Pitt's law school.  It's free and open to the public.

The speaker is Professor Dan Burk, Chancellor's Professor of Law at University of California - Irvine and a senior figure in IP and cyberspace law scholarship worldwide.  He's the co-author of a recent book titled "The Patent Crisis and How the Courts Can Solve It" from the University of Chicago Press.

At Pitt, his talk is titled "Virtual Worlds, Virtual Property."  Here's the summary:  Online computer games have become an important part of the Internet society, attracting millions of players and creating virtual economies larger than those of many actual nations. Game developers are increasingly turning to copyright and other intellectual property laws to police behavior in these virtual worlds. On March 24, Prof. Burk will discuss the emerging relationship of copyright to computer games and the texts that surround them."  It's a timely topic from the standpoint of Pittsburgh's software, app, and game developer communities, and it's a timely topic from the standpoint of some important recent legal developments, particularly the ruling of the Ninth Circuit in MDY v. Blizzard, having to do with the legality of botting in World of Warcraft.  (You can read a long-ish summary of that case and its implications at my other blog.)

The Pitt Law lecture isn't just for lawyers.  If you are a lawyer, however, we're offering 1 hour of PA CLE credit for the bargain price of $25.  Register for that at www.law.pitt.edu/events.  After the talk, Prof. Burk will be part of a free reception for everyone, at the law school.

See you there.


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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]gmail.com. Mike also blogs at Madisonian.net, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

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