Copyright in the Era of Big Data

24 Oct 2016 18:00
24 Oct 2016 19:30






The Centre for Literary and Intermedial Crossings, the Institute for European Studies and Vesalius College at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the Institute for German Studies / Literary and Media Studies at the University of Duisburg-Essen invite you to an evening lecture with Prof. Michael Madison (University of Pittsburgh) on copyright in the era of big data.

Copyright law faces unprecedented challenges in the era of Big Data. Big Data shows that society is immersed in new information and knowledge. We are drowning in it. At small scales, this poses an enforcement challenge. Creators, rights holders, platforms and intermediaries have little choice but to turn to algorithms to manage the enormous amounts of creative works that surround them — and that surround us. In many ways, "algorithmic" copyright is being detached from its foundation as a human-centered institution. But the challenge of Big Data involves not only copyright enforcement; it goes beyond maintaining traditional levels of incentives and protections. Big Data also hints at challenges in cultural creation. Massive amounts of information and knowledge in Big Data implicate equally massive challenges in coordinating, collaborating, combining, and curating creative works. At larger scales, the larger challenge posed by Big Data is re-focusing copyright on institutions that enable sharing as much as they enable exclusivity. If humans are to remain at copyright's core, a new conceptual framework is needed to understand the relationships among law and culture.

Speaker: Prof. Michael Madison

Professor Michael Madison is Professor of Law and Faculty Director of the Innovation Practice Institute at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. He writes and teaches about intellectual property law and policy, and about questions concerning the production and distribution of knowledge and innovation. He is the author of more than 30 journal articles and book chapters, the co-author of The Law of Intellectual Property (Wolters Kluwer, 4th edition 2013) and the co-editor of Governing Knowledge Commons (Oxford University Press 2014). He is the co-founder of the global research network titled the Workshop on Governing Knowledge Commons. Classroom subjects include various disciplines of intellectual property law, contracts and commercial law, and property law. His research and scholarship address the emerging discipline of knowledge commons, governance of innovation institutions, and knowledge as a subject of legal regulation. He joined the Pitt Law faculty in 1998. Before becoming a law professor, Professor Madison practiced law in San Francisco and Silicon Valley for nine years. He received his JD from Stanford University and his BA from Yale.

Registration and Venue

The event starts at 18:00h and will end at approximately 19:30h. Participation is free of charge and open to all but due to space limitations, registration is mandatory. To register, please send an email to


Karel Van Miert Building
Conference Rooms Rome 
Pleinlaan 5
1050 Brussels


18:00-18:05    Welcome (Dr. Thomas Ernst)
18:05-19:00    Lecture (Prof. Michael Madison)
19:00-19:30    Q&A


Dr. Thomas Ernst
Institute for German Studies / Literary and Media Studies at the University of Duisburg-Essen

Prof. Inge Arteel
Centre for Literary and Intermedial Crossings at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Dr. Trisha Meyer
Institute for European Studies and Vesalius College