Robert Spoo PhD, JD

Chapman Distinguished Professor of Law College of Law
Curriculum Vitae [PDF]


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. In 2005, he was asked to travel to Vietnam to advise the Ministry of Education and Training on issues of intellectual property and higher education.

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, media and entertainment law, law and literature, and the copyright-related needs of scholars. His publications have appeared in the Yale Law Journal, 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.

Professor Spoo is a member of the Modernist Studies Association Task Force on Fair Use, serves as copyright advisor to numerous academic journals and projects, and acts as general counsel for the International James Joyce Foundation. He also serves on the advisory board of the National Library of Ireland and has assisted with proposed copyright legislation for the Republic of Ireland and other copyright issues affecting Irish cultural institutions. 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 University Teacher Award.

J.D., Yale Law School
Ph.D., Princeton University
M.A., Princeton University
B.A., Lawrence University

His publications on authorship, copyrights, and the public domain include James Joyce and the Language of History: Dedalus’s Nightmare and Without Copyrights: Piracy, Publishing, and the Public Domain, both with Oxford University Press.

Copyrights and Intellectual Property; Contracts
Constitutional Law; Wills and Trusts; Internet Law; Obscenity Law and Civil Forfeiture; Law and Literature; Modern British, Irish, and American authors; Literary and legal history and theory; and 20th-century war literature.

The following may be selected publications rather than a comprehensive list.

Law Reviews

Courtesy Paratexts, Informal Publishing Norms and the Copyright Vacuum in Nineteenth-Century America, 69 Stanford Law Review 641 (2017).

The Uncoordinated Public Domain, 35 Cardozo Arts and Entertainment Law Journal 107 (2016).

'Ah, you publishing scoundrel!' A Hauntological Reading of Privacy, Moral Rights, and the Fair Use of Unpublished Works, 25 Law & Lit. (Special Issue, Futures of Fair Use) 85 (2013).

Introduction: Futures of Fair Use, (Special Issue, Futures of Fair Use of Unpublished Works) (with Paul K. Saint Amour & Joseph S. Jenkins guest eds.) 25 Law & Lit. 1 (2013).

Samuel Roth: Discourteous Reprinter, Dublin James Joyce Journal 99–111 (2012).

A New Odyssey, Irish Times James Joyce Magazine 6–7 (2012).

Preparatory to a Retrospective Arrangement, 50 James Joyce Quarterly 181–84 (2012).

Three Myths for Aging Copyrights: Tithonus, Dorian Gray, Ulysses, (special issue on literary estates) 31 Cardozo Arts & Ent. L.J. 77 (2012).

Publishing the Unpublished Correspondence, (with Kevin J.H. Dettmar and William S. Brockman) 49 James Joyce Quarterly 143–53 (2011).

Does Gender Influence Attitudes Toward Copyright in the Filk Community?, (with Melissa L. Tatum & Benjamin Pope) 18 Am. U. J. Gender & Soc. Pol'y & L. 219 (2010).

Claire A. Culleton & Karen Leick eds., Modernism on File: Writers, Artists, and the FBI, 1920-1950 (2008), (review) 23 James Joyce Literary Supplement 7–8 (2009).

Ezra Pound’s Copyright Statute: Perpetual Rights and the Problem of Heirs, 56 The UCLA L. Rev. 1775 (2009).

Your Tax Dollars at Work (reviewing Claire A. Culleton and Karen Leick eds., Modernism on File: Writers, Artists, and the FBI, 1920-1950), 23 James Joyce Literary Supplement 7–8 (2009).

Archival Foreclosure: A Scholar’s Lawsuit Against the Estate of James Joyce, 71 The American Archivist 544–551 (2008).

Fair Use of Copyrighted Works in the Digital Age, 23 California Business Law Practitioner 37–47 (2008).

Copyrights and 'Design-Around' Scholarship, 44 James Joyce Quarterly 563 (2007).

James Joyce: Copyright, Fair Use, and Permission—Frequently Asked Questions, (with Paul Saint-Amour, Carol Loeb Shloss & Michael Groden) 44 James Joyce Quarterly 753–784 (2007).

Why Public Performances of James Joyce’s Works Are Not a Thing of the Past, 20 James Joyce Literary Supplement 2–3 (2006).

The Weight of Intangible Property and its Laws, reviewing Paul K. Saint Amour, The Copywrights: Intellectual Property and the Literary Imagination (2003), 19 James Joyce Literary Supplement (2005).

Why Public Performances of James Joyce’s Works Are Not a Thing of the Past.” James Joyce Quarterly, Vol. 41 (Summer 2004): 619-25. Also published in International James Joyce Foundation Newestlatter (Summer 2006): 4-6 and James Joyce Literary Supplement, Vol. 20 (Spring 2006): 2-3.

A Rose Is a Rose Is a Roth: New/Old Theories of Legal Liability in the Joyce World, 16 James Joyce Literary Supplement 3–5 (2002).

Current Copyright Law and Fair Use, 33 Journal of Scholarly Publishing 125–141 (2002).

In Memoriam John Dixon, 39 James Joyce Quarterly 214–15 (2002).

Copyright Law and Archival Research, 24 Journal of Modern Literature 205–212 (2001).

Deluxe Editions and the Copyright Monopoly, 14 James Joyce Literary Supplement 7–8 (2000).

Introduction: Injuries, Remedies, Moral Rights, and the Public Domain, (Special Issue, Joyce and the Law - Guest Editor) 37 James Joyce Quarterly 333–351 (2000).

‘No Word Is an Island’: Textualism and Aesthetics in Akhil Reed Amar’s The Bill of Rights, (essay) (special issue on Akhil Amar’s The Bill of Rights) 33 U. Rich. L. Rev. 537 (1999).

Copyright Protectionism and Its Discontents: The Case of James Joyce’s Ulysses in America, 108 Yale L.J. 633 (1998).

Developments in the Ulysses Copyright Controversy, 35 James Joyce Quarterly 229–231 (1998).

Fair Use of Unpublished Works: Scholarly Research and Copyright Case Law Since 1992, 34 Tulsa L.J. 183 (1998).

Joyce Scholars, Editors, and Imaginary Readers, 60 College English 330–35 (1998).

Copyright and the Public Domain, 34 James Joyce Quarterly 250–252 (1997).

Manifestly Wrong: A Schoolmaster’s Edition of Ulysses, 11 James Joyce Literary Supplement 3–4 (1997).

The People’s Ulysses, 34 James Joyce Quarterly 253–255 (1997).

Tribute to Darcy O'Brien, 35 James Joyce Quarterly 7–10 (1997).

Ulysses and the Ten Years War: A Survey of Missed Opportunities, 10 TEXT: An Interdisciplinary Annual of Textual Studies 107–118 (1997).

The Sociomaterial Turn, 33 James Joyce Quarterly 353–365 (1996).

Editing H.D.’s Asphodel: Selected Emendations and Notes, 14 Sagetrieb 13–26 (1995).

Michael North, The Political Aesthetic of Yeats, Eliot, and Pound (1991), (review) 24 Paideuma 251 (1995).

Out of the Archives, 32 James Joyce Quarterly 493–496 (1995).

Reports on “On the Nature of Evidence,” 32 James Joyce Quarterly 176–178 (1995).

Statement Regarding Scholarly Use of Twentieth-Century Literary Materials, (co-signed with Karen Lawrence, Morris Beja, Thomas F. Staley, Zack Bowen & Fritz Senn) 33 James Joyce Quarterly 13–16 (1995).

Unpublished Letters of Ezra Pound to James, Nora, and Stanislaus Joyce, 32 James Joyce Quarterly 533–81 (1995).

Joyce and Homosexuality, 31 James Joyce Quarterly 135–136 (1994).

Reed Way Dasenbrock, Imitating the Italians: Wyatt, Spenser, Synge, Pound, Joyce, (book review) 32 English Language Notes 78–81 (1994).

Report on 'California Joyce: Joyce and Culture', 31 James Joyce Quarterly 5–7 (1994).

Richard Sieburth, ed., A Walking Tour in Southern France: Ezra Pound Among the Troubadours, (book review) 23 Paideuma 259–62 (1994).

The Making of Modern American Poetry: Four Aspects, 55 Princeton Univ. Library Chron. 365–86 (1994).

Introduction, (special issue on Vladimir Dixon) 29 James Joyce Quarterly 471–477 (1992).

Report on the 13th International James Joyce Symposium in Dublin (June 14-20, 1992), 30 James Joyce Quarterly 5–9 (1992).

The Letters of Ezra Pound and Vladimir Dixon, 29 James Joyce Quarterly 533–56 (1992).

A Bibliography of Criticism on Joyce and History, 28 James Joyce Quarterly (special issue on Joyce and History) 903-933 (1991). Also published in Joyce and the Subject of History (Mark Wollaeger, Victor Lufti, & Robert Spoo eds., Univ. of Michigan Press 1996).

H.D.’s Dating of Asphodel: A Reassessment, 4 H.D. Newsletter 31–40 (1991).

Introduction, (special issue on Dubliners) 28 James Joyce Quarterly 337–342 (1991).

Pound’s Cavalcanti and Cravens’s Carducci, 20 Paideuma 77–88 (1991).

Tropics of Joycean Discourse: Representations of the Historical Process in The Critical Writings, 28 James Joyce Quarterly 819–825 (1991).

An Interview with Donald Freed, 28 James Joyce Quarterly 71–79 (1990).

Introduction, (special issue on Finnegans Wake) 27 James Joyce Quarterly 721–723 (1990).

Report on the 12th International James Joyce Symposium in Monaco (June 10-17 1990), 28 James Joyce Quarterly 7–12 (1990).

Report on “Miamafesta: Gender in Joyce” Conference (Miami, Feb 1-3, 1990), 27 James Joyce Quarterly 435–438 (1990).

Report on “’A Poem Including History’: The Cantos of Ezra Pound,” 27 James Joyce Quarterly 193–199 (1990).

’Authentic Sisters’: H.D. and Margaret Cravens, 3 H.D. Newsletter 35–43 (1990).

Introduction, (special issue on "European Perspectives") 27 James Joyce Quarterly 5–10 (1989).

Jules Laforgue and the Nightmare of Stephen Dedalus, 26 James Joyce Quarterly 445–449 (1989).

Rival Confessors in Chamber Music: Meaning and Narrative in Joyce’s Lyric Mode, 26 James Joyce Quarterly 483–498 (1989).

Teleology, Monocausality, and Marriage in Ulysses, 56 English Literary History 439–462 (1989).

Usurper: A Word on the Last Word in Telemachus, 26 James Joyce Quarterly 450–451 (1989).

Joyce’s Attitudes Toward History: Rome, 1906-07, 14 Journal of Modern Literature 481–497 (1988).

Omar S. Pound, Arabic and Persian Poems in Translation, (book review) 69/70 The Antigonish Review 69–71 (1987).

Una Piccola Nuvoletta: Ferrero’s Young Europe and Joyce’s Mature Dubliners Stories, 24 James Joyce Quarterly 401–410 (1987).

’Nestor’ and the Nightmare: The Presence of the Great War in Ulysses, 32 Twentieth Century Literature 137–153 (1986).


Robert Spoo, Without Copyrights: Piracy, Publishing, and the Public Domain (Oxford Univ. Press, 2013).

Contributing Author, Copyright Law: A Practitioner’s Guide (Bruce P. Keller et al. eds., Practising Law Institute revs. 10-12/2009-2012).

Robert Spoo, Copyright and Joyce: Litigating the Word: James Joyce in the Courts (James Joyce Centre, 2008).

Robert Spoo, Three Myths for Aging Copyrights: Tithonus, Dorian Gray, Ulysses (National Library of Ireland Joyce Studies Series, No. 6, 2004).

Robert Spoo & Omar Pound, Ezra and Dorothy Pound: Letters in Captivity, 1945-1946 (Oxford Univ. Press, 1999).

Robert Spoo, H.D. (Hilda Doolittle), Kora and Ka (New Directions, 1996).

Robert Spoo et al., James Joyce and the Subject of History (Univ. of Michigan Press, 1996).

Robert Spoo, James Joyce and the Language of History: Dedalus's Nightmare (Oxford Univ. Press, 1994).

Robert Spoo, Asphodel H.D. (Duke Univ. Press, 1992).

Robert Spoo & Omar Pound, Ezra Pound and Margaret Cravens: A Tragic Friendship, 1910-1912 (Duke Univ. Press, 1988).

The Dying Sorcerer: Poems by Omar Pound (R. Spoo ed., Tarlane Press 1985).

Book Chapters

The Novel and the Law, in The Cambridge Companion to the Novel (Eric Bulson, ed., 2018).

Ulysses as Deodand: Books, Automobiles, and the Law of Forfeiture in Joyce and the Law (Jonathan Goldman ed., 2017)(Gainsville, FL, 2017).

Ezra Pound's Copyright Statute: Perpetual Rights and the Problem of Heirs, in Copyright Law Volume II: Application to Creative Industries in the 20th Century (Brian Fitzgerald & Benedict Atkinson eds., Ashgate 2012). Previously published in 56 UCLA L. Rev. 1775 (2009) and also appearing in Copyright Law Anthology: 2010 Edition (Rodney A. Smolla ed., Thompson Reuters West, 2010).

Tres mitos para envejecimiento de los copyrights: Titono, Dorian Gray, Ulises (Three Myths for Aging Copyrights: Tithonius, Dorian Gray, Ulysses, Iris Bernal and Ernesto Bottini trans.), 1 Funcion Lenguaje: Revista Multidisciplinar 11 (2011).

Ezra Pound, Legislator: Perpetual Copyright and Unfair Competition with the Dead, in Modernism and Copyright 39–64

Pound and the Law, in Ezra Pound in Context 125–135

Intellectual Property and Vietnam’s Higher Education System, in Reforming Higher Education in Vietnam: Challenges and Priorities 117–127

For God’s sake, publish; only be sure of your rights’: Virginia Woolf, Copyright, and Scholarship, in Woolf Editing/Editing Woolf: Selected Papers from the 18th Annual Conference on Virginia Woolf 227–231

Introduction to Omar Shakespear Pound: A Bibliography

Litigating the Right To Be a Scholar, in Joyce Studies Annual 2008 12–21

Uncanny Returns in 'The Dead', in Dubliners: New Casebooks Series (Andrew Thacker ed., MacMillan-Palgrave 2005): 135-55. Reprinted in revised form from Uncanny Returns in 'The Dead': Ibsenian Intertexts and the Estranged Infant, in Joyce: The Return of the Repressed (susan Stanford Friedman ed., Cornell Univ. Press 1993): 89-113.

Copyright, Fair Use, Fair Dealing, and Scholarship, Bloomsday 100, Proceedings of the centennial Bloomsday week in Dublin, Ireland, June 2004.

Ulysses, Bloomsday, and Copyright, in Yes I Said I Will Yes: A Celebration of James Joyce, Ulysses, and 100 Years of Bloomsday 95–97

The Cacophony of Writing Styles in ‘Aeolus, in Bloom’s Major Novelists: James Joyce (Harold Bloom ed., Chelsea House 2002). Reprinted from James Joyce and the Language of History: Dedalus's Nightmare (Oxford Univ. Press 1994).

Fair Use of Unpublished Works: Scholarly Research and Copyright Case Law Since 1992, in Intellectual Property in Higher Education: A Legal Compendium (Abigail Byman & Randolph Geller eds., 2d ed. 2001). Previously published in 34 Tulsa L.J. 183 (1998).

Genders of History in ‘Nestor,’ in “Ulysses”: En-Gendered Perspectives

Copyright and the Ends of Ownership: The Case for a Public-Domain Ulysses in America, in Joyce Studies Annual 1999 5–62

H.D. Prosed: The Future of an Imagist Poet, in The Future of Modernism 201–221

A Bibliography of Criticism on Joyce and History, in Joyce and the Subject of History 211–39

’Nestor’ and the Nightmare: The Presence of the Great War in Ulysses, in Joyce and the Subject of History (Mark Wollaeger, Victor Luftig & Robert Spoo eds., Univ. of Michigan Press 1996). Reprinted from 32.2 Twentieth Century Literature 137-154 (1986).

Uncanny Returns in ‘The Dead’: Ibsenian Intertexts and the Estranged Infant, in Joyce: The Return of the Repressed 89–113

Introduction to The Dying Sorcerer: Poems by Omar Pound (R. Spoo ed., Tarlane Press 1985).


Robert Spoo, Ballot Direction Remains Unclear: Justice Sotomayor's Rulings expected to Follow Law, Not Public Feelings, Tulsa Daily Commerce & Legal News Vol. 100 Iss. 161 (2009), (2009)

Robert Spoo, Alumni Awards: Lucia R. Briggs Distinguished Achievement Award, Lawrence Today (2008)., (2008)

Robert Spoo, Law and Literature Future Class: Sophocles, Joyce, Shakespeare Among Works Due Examination, Tulsa Daily Commerce & Legal News Vol. 99 Iss. 117 (2008)., (2008)

Robert Spoo, Joycean Law, Intellectual Property and Technology Law for the Pacific Rim (2007)., (2007)

Recent Developments Concerning Anti-SLAPP Motions, (with Sean M. SeLegue & Rebecca M. Kahan), California Lawyer (Dec 2007): 39-42.

Robert Spoo, James Joyce Inspires Literary and Legal Career: Literature Lover Left Ivory Tower to Apply Expertise in IP Arena, San Francisco Daily Journal Vol. 119 Iss. 211 (2006)., (2006)

Robert Spoo, Portrait of the Scholar as an IP Ace, IP Law & Business (2006)., (2006)

Robert Spoo, Cravens, Margaret (1881-1912), in The Ezra Pound Encyclopedia (Greenwood Press 2005)., Greenwood Publishing (2005)

Robert Spoo, Patronage of the Arts, in The Ezra Pound Encyclopedia (Greenwood Press 2005)., Greenwood Publishing (2005)

Rose Macaulay, in An Encyclopedia of British Women Writers (Paul & June Schlueter eds., rev. ed. 1998) (1988).

Book Review

Reviewing Authors in Court: Scenes from the Theater of Copyright , Mark Rose, 8 IP Law Book Review 1 (2017).