Intellectual Property, Copyright, Media & Communications, Technology and Innovation, Globalisation and domestic law reform, Indigenous Rights Law, Cultural policy
Fields of Research (FoR)Intellectual property law, Law and humanities, Law and society and socio-legal research, History of empires, imperialism and colonialism, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the law
Dr Kathy Bowrey is a Professor in the Faculty of Law, UNSW, Sydney. She is a legal historian and socio-legal researcher whose research explores laws and practices that inform knowledge creation and the production, distribution and reception of technology and culture. Her primary expertise relates to intellectual property, information technology regulation, regulatory theory, media practice, business history, feminist scholarship and a concern...view more
Dr Kathy Bowrey is a Professor in the Faculty of Law, UNSW, Sydney. She is a legal historian and socio-legal researcher whose research explores laws and practices that inform knowledge creation and the production, distribution and reception of technology and culture. Her primary expertise relates to intellectual property, information technology regulation, regulatory theory, media practice, business history, feminist scholarship and a concern for Indigenous rights. She has a strong interest in higher education research policy and research management. She has acted as a Consultant to the Council of Australian Law Deans (CALD) concerning research assessment exercises in law. She was a member of the Australian Research Council College of Experts (2018-2020).
Professor Bowrey is a foundation member of the International Society for the History and Theory of Intellectual Property established in 2008 and and she became the Co-Director in 2019. This organisation sprang from international interest across law, humanities and the sciences to foster intellectual property research and better communication across national and disciplinary boundaries. She is a Visiting Scholar at the State Library of New South Wales (2021) and a Research Fellow at the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Australia.
2019 - 2022 Prof Kathy Bowrey; Prof Kimberlee Weatherall; Dr Kylie Pappalardo; Prof Irene Watson; Prof Jill McKeough; Em/Prof Thomas Cochrane, Australian Research Council Discovery Project Grant DP200101578 Producing, managing and owning knowledge in the 21st century university
2014 - 2016 Prof Kathy Bowrey, Dr Catherine Bond, Australian Research Council Discovery Project Grant DP140100172, Australian Made: A History of Australian Copyright Law and Creator Success 1868-1968
2009 - 2011 Prof Kathy Bowrey, Mr Michael Handler, Australian Research Council Discovery Project Grant DP 0985948, Entertainment Rights in the Age of the Franchise: A reappraisal of personality rights under Australian Intellectual Property Laws
Doctor of Juridical Studies (SJD), University of Sydney 1994. Dissertation Title: Don't Fence Me In. The Many Histories of Copyright.
BA LLB Macquarie University 1988; Admitted as a Solicitor, Supreme Court of NSW, 1989.
Herchel Smith Visitor, Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law/Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge, 2016.
Research Visitor, Faculty of Law, Kent University, 2015.
My Research Activities
Professor Bowrey is the author of two new monographs.
Copyright, Creativity, Big Media and Cultural Value. Incorporating the Author (Routledge 2021) address big questions about how copyright generated income and how distributions of profits were allocated in the publishing, film and music industries across the 20th century. Authors and artists discussed include Hugh Conway, Fergus Hume, Arthur Conan Doyle, Hall Caine, Dame Nellie Melba, Margaret Atwood, Radiohead and Banksy. The commentary includes discussion of the creation of new formats, the interplay between old media and new technologies, the rise of Hollywood and the implications for playwrights, international copyright reform and cross-industry relations.
Adventures in Childhood. Intellectual Property, Imagination and The Business of Play, co-authored with Dr Jose Bellido, (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming), traces the commercial empires that have grown up around Alice in Wonderland, Peter Rabbit, Meccano, Felix the Cat, Mickey Mouse, Peter Pan, Eagle Magazine, Davy Crockett, Mr Men, Dr Who, The Magic Roundabout and the Wombles, amongst many others. We consider law as a creative force, an enabler of business, showing how playful conduct came to be overlaid with reference to authorised and unauthorised activity and rights were imagined and reimagined to create the most distinctive features of intellectual property: merchandising and licensing.
Her current research projects include:
- David Unaipon and the culture of invention. How did Unaipon exercise his intellectual property rights at a time when there were so few local role models for intellectual property commercialization? How were his efforts impacted by his status as an Aboriginal Australian given the restrictions in civil and political rights in this period? This project is supported by an appointment as a Visiting Scholar (2021) State Library of NSW and Research Fellow at the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Australia.
- Festschrift in Honour of Professor Jill McKeough. Feminist Perspectives on Law, Law Schools and Law Reform: Intellectual Property & Beyond (Federation Press, forthcoming).
- Producing, managing and owning knowledge in the 21st century university (2019-2022). (ARC DP200101578): Lead CI Bowrey; Prof Kimberlee Weatherall; Dr Kylie Pappalardo; Prof Irene Watson; Prof Jill McKeough; Em/Prof Thomas Cochrane. The use, creation and dissemination of the products of research is a core function of Australian universities, and critical if research is to have impact in the real world. It is regulated by intellectual property laws, sector-wide grant conditions, licensing agreements with libraries and university policies on intellectual property ownership, authorship, open access and engagement. International law and practice creates another layer of regulation. Navigating this terrain is the responsibility of every academic and manager, but it is a complex, incoherent framework. Mapping it with an eye toward harmonization and coherence will better advance public goals, in particular improve access to research for impact and engagement.
My Research Supervision
Areas of supervision
Intellectual property, cultural history
Huiyang Li, Exploring the Problems as to Orphan Films in Australia A Doctrinal, Empirical and Cost-Benefit Analysis (co-supervisor, Michael Handler)
Hai-Yuean Tualima, Traditional knowledge and intellectual property rights in Samoa, (co-supervisor, Daniel Robinson)
Arpan Banerjee, Film Censorship in India, (co-supervisors, Michael Handler & Catherine Bond)