Julie E. Cohen

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Julie E. Cohen is an American legal scholar. Since 1999, she has been a professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center, teaching and writing about copyright, intellectual property, and privacy. [1] She is also currently a member of the Advisory Board for public interest organizations Electronic Privacy Information Center [2] and Public Knowledge. Along with academic articles, Cohen is the author of Configuring the Networked Self: Law, Code, and the Play of Everyday Practice and a co-author of casebook Copyright in a Global Information Economy.

Copyright is a legal right, existing in many countries, that grants the creator of an original work exclusive rights to determine whether, and under what conditions, this original work may be used by others. This is usually only for a limited time. Copyright is one of two types of intellectual property rights, the other is industrial property rights. The exclusive rights are not absolute but limited by limitations and exceptions to copyright law, including fair use. A major limitation on copyright on ideas is that copyright protects only the original expression of ideas, and not the underlying ideas themselves.

Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property that includes intangible creations of the human intellect. Intellectual property encompasses two types of rights; industrial property rights and copyright. It was not until the 19th century that the term "intellectual property" began to be used, and not until the late 20th century that it became commonplace in the majority of the world.

Privacy the ability of an individual or group to seclude themselves, or information about themselves

Privacy is the ability of an individual or group to seclude themselves, or information about themselves, and thereby express themselves selectively. The boundaries and content of what is considered private differ among cultures and individuals, but share common themes. When something is private to a person, it usually means that something is inherently special or sensitive to them. The domain of privacy partially overlaps with security (confidentiality), which can include the concepts of appropriate use, as well as protection of information. Privacy may also take the form of bodily integrity.


Education and early career

After receiving her A.B. from Harvard University and her J.D. from Harvard Law School, Cohen went on to be law clerk for Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. From 1992 to 1995, she practiced with the San Francisco firm of McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen, specializing in intellectual property litigation. In 1995, she joined the University of Pittsburgh School of Law as the Assistant Professor of Law.

Harvard University private research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States

Harvard University is a private Ivy League research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with about 6,700 undergraduate students and about 15,250 postgraduate students. Established in 1636 and named for its first benefactor, clergyman John Harvard, Harvard is the United States' oldest institution of higher learning, and its history, influence, and wealth have made it one of the world's most prestigious universities.

Harvard Law School law school in Cambridge

Harvard Law School is one of the professional graduate schools of Harvard University located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Founded in 1817, it is the oldest continuously operating law school in the United States and one of the most prestigious in the world. It is ranked first in the world by the QS World University Rankings and the ARWU Shanghai Ranking.

Stephen Reinhardt American judge

Stephen Roy Reinhardt was a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, with chambers in Los Angeles, California. He was the last federal appeals court judge in active service to have been appointed by President Jimmy Carter.

Academic writing

Intellectual property

Cohen has been an important participant in the discussion surrounding intellectual property and copyright. There has been an ongoing debate about the use of technology instead of, or in addition to, copyright to protect intellectual property in digital form. She has expressed concern about the potential legal impact of these technologies, as well as mass market contracts as they threaten individual privacy and autonomy. [3]

Subjectivity and the self

Cohen uses a philosophical approach to legal theory. She questions and analyzes legal theory's conception of the self, and argues that the assumptions that contemporary legal policy often makes about the self "subtly structure debates about information policy." [4] Cohen introduces postmodernist conceptions of the self into discussions of information policy.

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  1. Georgetown University Law Center. Georgetown Law faculty profile
  2. Electronic Privacy Information Center. EPIC Advisory Board at EPIC.org
  3. Friedman, David D., "In Defense of Private Orderings: Comments on Julie Cohen's "Copyright and the Jurisprudence of Self-Help." 13 Berkeley Tech. L.J. 1151 (1998). Article.
  4. Balkin, Jack M., "Room for Maneuver: Julie Cohen's Theory for Freedom in the Information State," Jerusalem Review of Legal Studies, Vol. 6, No. 1 (2012). pp.79-95.