We are counting down the hours now to the opening of Dylan@80 and registration remains open for this three-day celebration of the art and the artist. In the coming days, we’ll announce our remaining keynote speakers and open a shop that will provide attendees with discounted books and commemorative t-shirts. As we look ahead, it’s a pleasure to announce that one of our Sunday keynotes will feature Professor Robert Spoo talking about Dylan, creativity, and copyright.
In December 2020, Universal Music announced that it had purchased Dylan’s entire songwriting catalog, including publishing rights to over 600 songs from “Blowin’ in the Wind” to “Tempest.” This occurred at a moment when copyrights now stretch for decades after a creator’s death and yet work of all kinds finds its way to the public through digital channels of all kinds. In this session, Dr. Robert Spoo will explore the complexities of contemporary intellectual property laws and their consequences for artists, scholars, teachers, and fans. Spoo is the Chapman Professor of Law at the University of Tulsa and an internationally recognized expert in copyright law and creativity.
As an attorney, Professor Spoo has represented authors, scholars, documentary filmmakers, record companies, and other creators and users of intellectual property. 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. His teaching interests include copyrights and intellectual property, forms of piracy and theories of the public domain, law and literature, and the copyright-related needs of scholars. 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. His book, Modernism and the Law (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2018), surveys the legal regimes—obscenity, copyright, defamation, privacy, and publicity—that shaped modernist literature, and was written with the support of a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship.