Boston University School of Law


Wendy Gordon

Wendy J. Gordon

William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor
Professor of Law
BA with distinction in all subjects, Cornell University
JD, University of Pennsylvania Law School

Full CV

Phone: 617-353-4420

Areas of Interest:
  • Copyright
  • Trademark
  • Unfair Competition
  • Jurisprudence
  • Theory of Torts & Property
  • Restitution
  • Law & Economics
  • Law & Literature
  • Social Justice
  • Free Speech
Recent Course Topics:
  • Copyright
  • Law, Language, Literature (with Christopher Ricks)
  • Intellectual Property Workshop


Professor Wendy J. Gordon has taught at Boston University since 1993, and was recently named to one of its ten William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professorships. An advisor to BU's Intellectual Property Concentration, she also tremendously enjoys interdisciplinary dialogue. Her scholarship utilizes economics as well as both ethical and analytic philosophy to understand copyright, trademark, and related forms of property and tort law. Although based in BU’s School of Law, she has developed and co-taught courses with philosopher Aaron Garrett, Shakespearean actor Jonathan Epstein, and (this past semester) literary critic Sir Christopher Ricks. She is increasingly turning to art (fiction, opera, poetry, and narrative nonfiction) as an additional source of insight.

Wendy’s current scholarly project seeks to develop an “ideal” model of copyright law, with particular attention to the doctrine known as fair use. The project examines how various legal rights against harm, and legal rights of control, interact with justified personal liberties such as free speech. Her ultimate goal is to reform the law to improve those interactions, from varying perspectives of morality, economics, and internal consistency.

Wendy has served as a Fulbright scholar, was elected by Oxford’s St. John’s College to a Visiting Senior Research Fellowship, and was selected as a resident at the Rockefeller Foundation retreat in Bellagio. She has also been the Bacon-Kilkenny Distinguished Visitor at Fordham, a Visiting Fellow at Oxford’s Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policy, and the “Intellectual Property Distinguished Visitor” at the Lewis and Clark Law School; she has received grants including a New Jersey Governor's Fellowship in the Humanities. Wendy has held the Philip Beck Chair and other endowed posts, and has twice served as the Chair of the Association of American Law Schools Section on Intellectual Property. The United States Supreme Court has cited her scholarship three times.

Her articles, often anthologized and translated, have also been cited by courts in nations outside the US. Her publications include “Fair Use as Market Failure” (Columbia Law Review), “A Property Right in Self-Expression” (Yale Law Journal; also published in Chinese), “An Inquiry into the Merits of Copyright” (Stanford Law Review), the chapter on Intellectual Property in The Oxford Handbook on Legal Studies (chapter also published in Japanese), “On Owning Information” (Virginia Law Review), “Render Copyright Unto Caesar: On Taking Incentives Seriously” (University of Chicago Law Review; also translated into Croatian).

In addition to Boston University, Wendy has taught in various capacities at the law schools of the University of Chicago, Fordham University, Georgetown University, University of Michigan, NYU, Oxford (U.K.), Rutgers University/Newark, University of Toronto, Western New England College, and the Yale Law School. In 2002, she received the RA Cass Award for Committment to Teaching from the Fund for Teaching Excellence.


Economics of Copyright Wendy Gordon Economics of Copyright Wendy Gordon

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