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Danielle Conway on intellectual property and ‘The miracle at Marrakesh’

Doing Justice for the Blind and Visually Impaired While Changing the Culture of Norm Setting at the World Intellectual Property Organization

Danielle Conway

Professor Danielle Conway

Imagine a world where new digital technologies create even more access to content in printed publications for sighted people while simultaneously and disproportionately reducing access even further to the same content in printed publications for blind people. To those who would suggest that intellectual property law is rational, objective, dispassionate, and neutral, the fact that blind people are excluded from the knowledge diffusion enterprise by the deployment of intellectual property law’s dogged protection regimes for the benefit of institutional copyright holders should be sobering.

The international system of copyright protection is in dire need of reform, historically structured around consensus on minimum standards of protection for the benefit of copyright holders, now the digital landscape and the human rights elements of access to information call for an express recalibration of the proprietary/public interest calculus. The state of affairs before the Marrakesh Treaty is a stark example of the international copyright system’s failure to achieve its most significant constitutional tenet—the obligation to provide the public with access to knowledge. The Marrakesh Treaty offers a watershed moment in the debate about overprotecting intellectual property with its focus on an international approach to the balance of proprietary rights of copyright holders with the public interest rights of users.

Professor Conway will be speaking on Thursday, February 27 at 3:30 p.m. at the University of Hawaii Hamilton Library, Room 301.  Admission is free and refreshments are provided.

Professor Conway teaches in the areas of Intellectual Property Law; Licensing Intellectual Property; International Intellectual Property Law; Internet Law & Policy, and Government Contract Law. Named Outstanding Professor of the Year in 2003, and awarded the University of Hawaiʻi Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Teaching in 2004, Professor Conway completed a 2006–07 Fulbright Senior Scholar post in Australia. In academic year 2007-08, Professor Conway held the Visiting E.K. Gubin Professor of Government Contract Law Chair at the George Washington University Law School; as well, she was selected as the 2008 Godfrey Visiting Scholar at the University of Maine School of Law. In 2008, Professor Conway was selected to hold a Chair-In-Law position at La Trobe University Faculty of Law & Management in Melbourne, Australia.

Professor Conway co-authored the treatise, INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, SOFTWARE, AND INFORMATION LICENSING: LAW AND PRACTICE (BNA, 2006) (2008-2013 Supplements) and the casebook, LICENSING INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: LAW AND APPLICATION (Aspen, 3d ed. 2014, forthcoming). Professor Conway is a founding member of the Hawai‘i Procurement Institute and is one of the nation’s leading experts on public procurement law. Her most recent book, STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENT, was published by the American Bar Association. Her publications also appear in numerous journals and law reviews, including the Washington University Global Studies Law Review, Computer Law Review and Technology Journal, Southern Methodist University Law Review, and Michigan Journal of Race and Law. She has lectured in the United States, Europe, the United Kingdom, China, Japan, Ghana, Palau, Micronesia, Australia, New Zealand, and Mongolia on topics including globalization, government contract law, intellectual property law, intellectual property licensing, and Indigenous Peoples’ rights. She currently serves as a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve assigned to Headquarters, United States Pacific Command (USPACOM). She is also of Counsel at Alston Hunt Floyd & Ing, LLP.

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