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Dr Smita Kheria

Senior Lecturer in Intellectual Property Law

Deputy Director of Research

LLB (Hons), LLM, PhD

Office hours:

On Research Leave 2022/2023

Tel: +44 (0)131 650 2055


View my full research profile

Smita is a Senior 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 commercial and intellectual property 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 to 5th edns, OUP).

Smita is the founding and acting 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 a member of the executive committee of the Socio-Legal Studies Association, and is also on the editorial advisory board of The IP Law Book Review.

Smita also promotes IP awareness through speaking to creative communities (e.g. young publishers, comic artists, visual artists, Edinburgh Fringe performers), and is active in public engagement events (Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas shows in Edinburgh Festival Fringe)

Smita welcome applicants for doctoral study and post-doctoral mentoring. She is particularly interested in proposals for postgraduate research in the area of copyright and related rights, and also 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. Her recent socio-legal research evaluates the complexities of copyright in a ‘real world’ context focussing on the intersection of copyright law with the everyday lives of creative practitioners. Her work addresses fundamental policy questions such as: Does copyright law matter? Who does it matter to and why? Who is it resisted by and why? How can copyright remain relevant and fit for purpose for artists working in social, technological, and economic conditions that are both uncertain and changing at pace?

Smita was lead Investigator on two Research Councils UK funded CREATe (RCUK Centre for Copyright and New Business Models in the Creative Economy) projects. The first project investigated the role of copyright in day to day creative practice and resulting business models of individual creators. Through the project, she actively engaged with a broad range of creators and performers and her research included over 130 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 explored the relationship between copyright policy and creators' organisations. It involved a socio-legal study of creators’ organisations (Musicians’ Union, the Performing Right Society, the Society of Authors, and the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society) as participants and shapers of copyright policy.

She was co-Investigator on an 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.

Twitter: @creatorsncopyrt