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Book Launch and Lunch Reception: For the Encouragement of Learning by Myra Tawfik, Windsor Law

Join Windsor Law's LTEC Lab for a lunch reception and Professor Myra Tawfik's book launch: For the Encouragement of Learning: The Origins of Canadian Copyright Law. The launch will begin with remarks by Professor Myra Tawfik, Don Rodzik Family Chair in Law and Entrepreneurship at the University of Windsor, followed by discussions with Professor Ysolde Gendreau, full professor and vice-president of ALAI at the Université de Montréal, and Professor Robert Spoo, Chapman Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Tulsa College of Law.

For the Encouragement of Learning addresses the contested history of copyright law in Canada, where the economic and reputational interests of authors and the commercial interests of publishers often conflict with the public interest in access to knowledge. It chronicles Canada’s earliest copyright law to explain how pre-Confederation policy-makers understood copyright’s normative purpose.

Using government and private archives and copyright registration records, Myra Tawfik demonstrates that the nineteenth-century originators of copyright law intended to promote the advancement of learning in schools by encouraging the mass production of educational material. The book reveals that copyright laws were integral features of British North American education policy and highlights the important roles played by teachers, education reformers, and politicians in the emergence and development of the laws. It also explains how policy-makers began to consider the relationship between copyright and cultural identity formation once British interference into domestic copyright affairs increased, and as Canadian Confederation neared. Using methodologies at the intersection of legal history and book history, For the Encouragement of Learning embeds the copyright legal framework within the history of Canada’s book and print culture.

Myra Tawfik is Distinguished University Professor and the inaugural Don Rodzik Family Chair in Law and Entrepreneurship at the University of Windsor. She is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). Professor Tawfik also served as Associate Dean (1998-2000), Acting Dean (2011) and Interim Dean (2017) of the Faculty of Law.

Professor Tawfik is an expert in intellectual property law, especially copyright law, copyright history and capacity-building in IP literacy for start-ups and entrepreneurs. In relation to copyright history, she was the recipient of a visiting scholarship from the American Antiquarian Society, and a fellowship from the University of Windsor’s Humanities Research Group. She was the President of the Canadian Association for the Study of Book Culture from 2016-2019, and its Vice-President from 2012-2016.

Among her copyright history publications, she was the co-editor of a Special issue of the Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada and her research on copyright history has been cited by the Supreme Court of Canada. Her book For the Encouragement of Learning: The Origins of Canadian Copyright Law (University of Toronto Press, 2023) is the culmination of nearly 20 years of research and, to date, is the subject of podcast interviews for New Books Network and the Champlain Society’s Witness to Yesterday.

Professor Tawfik has also founded and led a number of multidisciplinary clinics, knowledge mobilization and community outreach projects designed to provide Canadian start-ups and innovators with IP literacy skills and access to affordable IP legal services. She was a member of the province of Ontario’s expert panel on the commercialization of public sector IP and is an advisor to the province on IP education. Her co-authored massive open online course, Foundations of IP Strategy, has become the provincial standard curriculum on intellectual property literacy for start-ups.

Ysolde Gendreau is Professeure titulaire (Full Professor) at the Université de Montréal. A graduate of McGill University (B.C.L., LL.B., LL.M.) and Université Paris II (Doctorate in Law) and member of the Barreau du Québec, Professor Ysolde Gendreau has taught intellectual property law and competition law at the Faculty of Law since 1991. Her research focuses on copyright in a comparative and an international perspective. Professor Gendreau has equally taught at McGill University, Universités Paris II, Paris XII, Nantes, Strasbourg III, Lyon 2 and Monash University (Australia). She has also participated in summer schools at University of Victoria (in Victoria and Oxford) and at University of San Diego (in Florence, Italy). She is the author of numerous publications both in Canada and abroad and has edited two major works: An Emerging Intellectual Property Paradigm – Perspectives from Canada (Cheltenham, Edward Elgar: 2008) and, together with Abraham Drassinower, Langues et droit d'auteur / Language and Copyright (Éditions Yvon Blais: Bruylant, 2009). Ysolde Gendreau has acted as member of the Patented Medicine Price Review Board (the PMPRB) (1995-2000), President of the International Association for the Advancement of Teaching and Research in Intellectual Property (ATRIP) (2003-2005) and President of the Canadian branch of the Association littéraire et artistique Internationale (ALAI) (2006-2011), on whose Executive Board she still serves. Professor Gendreau is also an associated member of the International Academy of Comparative Law and a member of the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada.

Robert Spoo is an Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Chapman Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Tulsa College of Law.

Professor Spoo earned his JD from the Yale Law School, where he was Executive Editor of the Yale Law Journal and received the Michael Egger Prize for best student publication on current social problems in volume 108 of the Yale Law Journal. After graduating, he served as law clerk for the Honorable Sonia Sotomayor, of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and practiced for several years with law firms in New York, Oklahoma, and San Francisco, providing litigation services and advice in the areas of copyrights, trademarks, and other intellectual property. As an attorney, Professor Spoo has represented authors, scholars, documentary filmmakers, record companies, and other creators and users of intellectual property. His litigation work has included serving as co-counsel, with the Stanford Center for Internet & Society and other attorneys, for Professor Carol Shloss of Stanford against the Estate of James Joyce. Prior to his legal career, Professor Spoo received his MA and PhD in English from Princeton University and taught for more than ten years as a tenured faculty member in the English Department at The University of Tulsa, where he was also Editor of the James Joyce Quarterly. He has published numerous books and articles on James Joyce, Ezra Pound, and other modern literary figures. His teaching interests include copyrights and intellectual property, forms of piracy and theories of the public domain, law and literature, and the copyright-related needs of scholars. His publications have appeared in the Yale Law Journal, the Stanford Law Review, the UCLA Law Review, and other law and humanities journals, as well as in collections published by Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press. Professor Spoo's book, Without Copyrights: Piracy, Publishing, and the Public Domain (New York: Oxford University Press, July 2013), offers a legal and cultural history of the impact on non-US authors of the protectionist and isolationists features of US copyright laws from 1790 on. His book, Modernism and the Law (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2018), surveys the legal regimes—obscenity, copyright, defamation, privacy, and publicity—that shaped modernist literature, and was written with the support of a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. Professor Spoo is a copyright advisor to numerous academic journals and projects, and acts as general counsel for the International James Joyce Foundation. In June 2008, he received the Lucia R. Briggs Distinguished Achievement Award for "outstanding contributions and achievements in a career field," from his undergraduate institution, Lawrence University. He has also received Outstanding Professor Awards at the College of Law, and in 2010-11 received The University of Tulsa's Outstanding Teacher Award. In 2020-21 he received the University's Outstanding Researcher Award. Also during 2020-2021, he was a Law and Public Affairs (LAPA) Fellow at Princeton University.


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