Jessica Silbey – “The Eureka Myth: Creators, Innovators and Everyday Intellectual Property”
Jessica Silbey, professor at the Northeastern University School of Law, is a leading scholar and nationally recognized expert on intellectual property and the use of film to communicate about law. Silbey has altered the national conversation about creativity and invention with her recent book, The Eureka Myth: Creators, Innovators and Everyday Intellectual Property (Stanford University Press). Based on a set of 50 interviews with authors, artists, inventors and lawyers, Silbey’s work challenges the traditional notion of intellectual property as merely creating financial incentives necessary to spur innovation. Drawing on her interdisciplinary background and qualitative empirical training, Silbey’s research sheds new light onto the roles intellectual property law play to sustain and frustrate the creative and innovative communities in the work they seek to accomplish.
Silbey earned her law degree as well as her PhD in comparative literature from the University of Michigan. She served as law clerk to Judge Robert E. Keeton of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts and Judge Levin H. Campbell of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. She also spent three years in private law practice, focusing on intellectual property and reproductive rights.
Silbey is co-editor of the book Law and Justice on the Small Screen (with Peter Robson) and author of numerous law review articles and publications in other venues. In addition to her research on intellectual property, Silbey writes about the use of film as a legal tool (body cams, surveillance video, medical imaging) and the representations of law in popular culture (courtroom dramas, reality television). She is an affiliate fellow at Yale’s Information Society Project and a faculty associate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. In January 2016, Silbey was elected chair of the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) national Section on Intellectual Property and appointed to serve on the AALS Presidential Conference Film Committee. She currently serves as co-chair of the New England Chapter for the Copyright Society of the United States.