Lecturer in Intellectual Property Law

LLB (Hons), LLM, PhD
View my full research profile

  • Tel: +44 (0)131 650 2055
  • Email: smita.kheria@ed.ac.uk
  • Office hours for current students:
    Semester 1: Fridays 2pm-3pm (except 4 Nov & 2 Dec)
    Semester 2: Thursdays 4.15pm - 5.15pm

Biography

Smita is a Lecturer in Intellectual Property Law  in Edinburgh Law School. She studied at the University of Buckingham (LLB (Hons)), the University of Cambridge (LLM), and at Queen's University Belfast (PhD). Before undertaking her doctoral studies, she also practised as an advocate in corporate and commercial law.

She combines legal expertise in copyright and related rights with socio-legal research on intellectual property law in the real world. She has been involved in several research projects that have examined how copyright intersects with the everyday lives and creative practices of digital artists, online creative communities, arts and humanities researchers, and professional creators and performers. She is also a co-author of the textbook Contemporary Intellectual Property: Law and Policy (3rd and 4th edns, OUP).

Smita is the Programme Director for the on-campus LLM in Intellectual Property Law. She teaches on a number of Intellectual Property law courses (including specialist masters courses on copyright and related rights and on the relationship between intellectual property law, innovation, and creativity) and also contributes to teaching outside Edinburgh Law School. She is Supervising editor (Intellectual Property) for SCRIPT-ed: A journal of Law, Technology & Society and Section Editor: Law & Legal Studies for the Open Library of Humanities. She is also on the editorial advisory board of The IP Law Book Review.

Willingness to take Ph.D. students: Yes

Available Ph.D. research projects:
Smita welcomes proposals for postgraduate research in the area of copyright and related rights. She is also interested in projects that use empirical methodologies to study issues in Intellectual Property Law.

Current Research Interests

Smita is interested in substantive law on copyright and related rights, in using empirical research to address questions pertaining to copyright law and policy, and, in exploring connections between Intellectual Property law and new forms of property and culture through the lens of creators and users.

Smita is a lead Investigator on two CREATe projects. The first project is investigating the role of copyright in day to day creative practice and resulting business models of individual creators. She has engaged with a broad range of creators and performers and her research, so far, includes over 120 semi-structured in-depth interviews with a range of creative practitioners (writers, comic-book artists, musicians, and visual artists), fieldwork at literary and art festivals and events, and secondary data from social media sources such as Facebook and Twitter. The second project is exploring the relationship between copyright, creators' organisations and business models.

She was co-Investigator on a recent AHRC project which offered a new evaluation of the copyright challenges faced by arts and humanities researchers, in their everyday practice of developing and making available publicly funded research content. Based on in-depth case studies of six different AHRC-funded projects, the research highlighted: both pertinent and lesser known challenges faced by researchers, such as in negotiating access to and the use of out-of-copyright materials in archives; and the benefits that could be derived from the acknowledgement of authorship and collaborative research itself.

Research Groups

Smita is co-director (IP) of SCRIPT Centre for IT and IP law at Edinburgh Law School. Smita is also a member of CREATe (Centre for Creativity, Regulation, Enterprise & Technology), the RCUK Centre for Copyright and New Business Models in the Creative Economy. She was a co-convener of the Empirical Legal Research Network (2013-15). She is also a member of Creative Interdisciplinary Research in Collaborative Environments (CIRCLE).

Courses Taught

Intellectual Property Law Innovation and Creativity (LLM) (Course Organiser)

Intellectual Property Law 1: Copyright and Related Rights (LLM) (Course Organiser)

Commercial Law (Ordinary)

Copyright and Creative Industries (Others) (Course Organiser)

Intellectual Property (Honours) (Course Organiser)

PhD Supervisees

Evgenia Kanellopoulou  'New Business Models for the Music Industries: the new role of Copyright in Relevant Markets for music'

Nevena Kostova  'The Relationship between Copyright, Creators' Organisations and Business Models'

Books and Reports

Charlotte Waelde, Abbe Brown, Smita Kheria, Jane Cornwell, Contemporary Intellectual Property: Law and Policy, (Oxford University Press, 2016)
Abstract: Contemporary Intellectual Property: Law and Policy offers a unique perspective on intellectual property law. It goes beyond an up-to-date account of the law and examines the complex policies that inform and guide modern intellectual property law at the domestic (including Scottish), European and international levels, giving the reader a true insight into the discipline and the shape of things to come. The focus is on contemporary challenges to intellectual property law and policy and the reader is encouraged to engage critically both with the text and the subject matter.Carefully developed to ensure that the complexities of the subject are addressed in a clear and approachable manner, the extensive use of practical examples, exercises and visual aids throughout the text enliven the subject and stimulate the reader.

Graeme Laurie, Charlotte Waelde, Abbe Brown, Smita Kheria, Jane Cornwell, Contemporary Intellectual Property: Law and Policy, (Oxford University Press, 2013)
Abstract: Contemporary Intellectual Property: Law and Policy offers a unique perspective on intellectual property law, unrivalled amongst IP textbooks available today. Beyond providing an up-to-date account of intellectual property law, the text examines the complex policies that inform and guide modern IP law at the domestic (including Scottish), European and international levels, giving the reader a true insight into the discipline and the shape of things to come. The focus is on contemporary challenges to intellectual property law and policy and the reader is encouraged to engage critically both with the text and the subject matter. Carefully developed to ensure that the complexities of the subject are addressed in a clear and approachable manner, the extensive use of practical examples, exercises and visual aids throughout the text enliven the subject and stimulate the reader. Online Resource Centre: Students and lecturers alike can access extensive updates to the key areas of law, as well as pointers on answering the discussion points posed in the text. Also included are two bonus chapters; 'History of Registered Design Law in the UK to 1988' and 'History of Unregistered Design Protection in the UK'.

Articles

Gillian Black, Rachael Craufurd-Smith, Smita Kheria, Gerard Porter, 'Scotland the Brand – Marketing the Myth? ', (2015), Scottish Affairs, Vol 24, pp 47-77
Abstract: The paper considers the role of Scottish culture and history, real or imagined, in the commercialisation of iconic Scottish creations such as tartan and Scotch whisky. It notes that many of the forms of legal protection available to the producers of such products were developed to encourage individual innovation, not designed to address communal interests in the preservation of national or group identities and heritage. This may be one reason why, as is illustrated by the case of tartan, these rights offer patchy and incomplete protection to ‘authentic’ Scottish products. Over time, however, the UK has developed various forms of collective protection for cultural products such as Harris Tweed, the effectiveness of which is explored in this article. The final part of the paper considers the importance, in a globalising world, of European Union and international protection for valuable cultural ‘products’. But protection, whether at the national or international level, necessitates a difficult balance to be drawn between the interest in cultural innovation and development, on the one hand, and cultural preservation and the protection of the commercial interests of specific communities, on the other. The article concludes by exploring some of the practical and conceptual challenges associated with determining whether a product should be considered part of the cultural patrimony of the world or, rather, the property of a specific nation or cultural group.

Smita Kheria, 'Copyright and Digital Art Practice: The 'Schizophrenic' Position of the Digital Artist', (2013), Leonardo Electronic Almanac, Vol 19, pp 114-27

Chapters

Smita Kheria, Daithi Mac Sithigh, Judith Rauhofer, Burkhard Schafer, '(Mis)appropriation Art? Copyright and Data Protection implications of 'CCTV Sniffing' as Art' in E Schweighofer, F Kummer, W Hötzendorfer (ed.) Abstraktion und Applikation (OCG 2013) 489-98
Abstract: This paper discusses the legal implications of CCTV sniffing and war walking, legally problematic uses of wireless networks, for the purpose of art. Using Bitnik’s “surveillance chess” as starting point, it asks if new forms of computer enabled art require new forms of protection, especially in countries without constitutional guarantee of freedom of art.

Working Papers

Charlotte Waelde, Smita Kheria, Nadine Levin, 'Copyright and Publicly-Funded Arts and Humanities Research: Identifying and Developing Sustainable Exploitation Models in the Digital Economy' 2015
Abstract: In this paper, we report our findings from a pilot project, where we examined the relationships between copyright, publicly funded arts and humanities research, and research processes in the digital era. Our examination was based on case studies of six different AHRC-funded projects: three funded under the Digital Transformations theme, and three funded by one of the Knowledge Exchange Hubs for the Creative Economy, Research and Enterprise in the Arts and Creative Technologies (REACT). To study the six cases, we conducted semi-structured interviews with selected participants from each of these funded projects. We used this empirical data to address the following research questions: (1) How do researchers engage with copyright during the research process and in the production of creative works, and what copyright related challenges emerge? (2) How is researchers’ engagement with copyright affected by digitisation, collaboration, legislation, and government policies? (3) Does copyright provide benefits to researchers as they undertake publicly funded research? (4) What range of works is produced during research, what do researchers identify to be of value in their projects, and can any of the benefits provided by copyright be mapped onto these values?

Smita Kheria, Daithi Mac Sithigh, Judith Rauhofer, Burkhard Schafer, '“CCTV Sniffing”: Copyright and Data Protection Implications' 2013
Abstract: This paper discusses the legal implications of CCTV sniffing and war walking, legally problematic uses of wireless networks, for the purpose of art. Using Bitnik’s “surveillance chess” as starting point, it asks if new forms of computer enabled art require new forms of protection, especially in countries without constitutional guarantee of freedom of art.

Smita Kheria, 'Copyright and Digital Art: Through the Looking Glass' 2012
Abstract: This chapter explores the interaction between copyright and everyday life of artists in the digital environment. It focuses on the role of copyright in the every day context of a specific creative activity: digital art practice. It draws upon findings from a qualitative empirical study consisting of first-hand accounts from digital artists on their perspective and practice on matters such as creation, dissemination and exploitation of their artworks. The chapter provides a flavour of the life that copyright law and policy take, in ways which contrast with their own purpose, because of the various connections and complexities between the digital artist and other actors in an artistic practice. It emphasises that understandings of ‘copyright in action’ in new creative activities in the digital environment, particularly through the creators’ perspective, can offer valuable insights for policy making.Section I briefly introduces relevant policy discussions on copyright in United Kingdom. Section II contextualizes the empirical study and outlines the methodology employed. Section III presents some of the findings on the perceived role of copyright in digital artists’ creative practice, specifically the lack of belief in both the prevention of copying in the digital domain and in the usefulness of copyright law for creators. It illustrates how various actors influenced the artists’ understandings and decisions on the role of ‘copying’ and ‘copyright’ for their practice. Section IV provides concluding remarks.

Conference Papers

Smita Kheria, Nevena Kostova, 'Creators' Organisations ' presented at CREATe All Hands Conference 2014 Glasgow United Kingdom 2014

Smita Kheria, 'Individual creators ' presented at CREATe All Hands Conference 2014 Glasgow United Kingdom 2014

Jane Cornwell, Smita Kheria, 'Some Reflections on Experiences with Innovative Assessment ' 2011
Abstract: Presented at 5th EIPTN annual workshop, Charles University, Prague.Recent years have seen increasing emphasis on developing innovative assessment models in higher education. This presentation will discuss 3 case studies demonstrating use of innovative assessment in IP at Masters level: a poster exercise; a draft consultation response; and an ongoing wiki case study. We will outline positive experiences showing how these support student learning by complementing traditional methods of assessment and promoting a range of 'real-world' skills such as communication, problem-solving, collaborating, advising, advocacy and appreciation of legal issues in a policy context. We will also reflect on challenges in setting instructions, applying assessment criteria and addressing student expectations.

Smita Kheria, 'Moral Rights and New Technologies ' 2010
Abstract: Presented at The Indian Society of International Law, New Delhi.