Call for Papers
Intellectual Property, Information & Communications Law Program (IPIC)

November 9-10, 2012, Michigan State University College of Law

This conference considers how law and policy can nurture diverse creative industries-"Creative Upstarts." Creative Upstarts encompass a range of commercial enterprises from independent artists and producers in developed countries to emerging content industries such as Nigeria's "Nollywood," Jamaican dancehall and Brazilian tecnobrega music, and Chinese digital publishing. Creative Upstarts exemplify the potential for creative industries to spearhead economic and cultural development. They are often less constrained by the imperatives of the mass market than traditional media. Yet, as commercial enterprises, they are capable of more ambitious and sustained creative investments than amateurs who produce user-generated content. Their interests have been overlooked in recent debates on intellectual property and information policy. This conference seeks to remedy that gap.

While Creative Upstarts may be better positioned to exploit alternative paradigms than traditional media companies, as commercial entities, they do need to monetize their creative investments. Greater capacity to access existing intellectual property regimes could benefit them. A Creative Upstarts lens thus imposes a pragmatic focus often missing from existing debate. Rather than arguing over whether we should have "more" or "less" IP, we must examine more precisely how current IP laws and related policies both help and hinder.
THEMES: Creative Upstarts. Relevant questions and considerations include:
- To what extent are Creative Upstarts threatened by digital piracy?
- How could existing legal regimes function more effectively? What new legal tools or reforms would facilitate Upstart industries?
- Do collective rights regimes serve the interests of Creative Upstarts?
- How should law and policy respond to the increasingly transnational nature of creative content flows, and especially to the "borderless" realm of cyberspace?
- Should Creative Upstarts embrace alternative licensing models, e.g., creative commons?
- Should "copyright trolls" be encouraged or condemned?
- How can capacity-building help Creative Upstarts overcome obstacles they face?

PAPER SUBMISSION PROCEDURE: Recognizing that there are no "one size fits all" solutions, this conference seeks to clarify a menu of policy options through a mix of paper presentations and roundtable discussions. In addition, the Michigan State International Law Review will publish a symposium issue comprising selected internationally-focused conference papers. To present a paper, please submit abstracts by August 17, 2012; completed conference drafts will be due October 19, 2012.

For further details, visit or contact Professor Sean Pager at

Posted 7/23/12