Dr Elena Cooper
- Senior Research Fellow (School of Law)
CREATe, No. 10 The Square, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, G12 8qq
Elena Cooper is Senior Research Fellow at CREATe, the copyright law research centre at School of Law, University of Glasgow. She joined CREATe in 2014.
Elena is a member of the British Art Network (organised by the Tate to connect specialists in British art) and the Institute of Art and Law. Elena became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2020 and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 2021. She is also an Associate of the Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law, University of Cambridge, where she was based for nine years before joining CREATe.
Elena is currently working on a research project funded by The Leverhulme Trust (Early Career Fellowship) and mentored by Prof. Lindsay Farmer (Professor of Criminal Law, Glasgow) uncovering the history of the role of the criminal law in intellectual property law. The project is due to conclude in January 2025, and she is currently working on papers about the pre-history of performers’ rights in the early twentieth century and criminal prosecutions under the Merchandise Marks Acts in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. She is co-convenor of The CREATe Trade Mark Seminar Series, where she chairs the trade mark history strand.
Elena’s first monograph – Art and Modern Copyright: The Contested Image (Cambridge University Press) – was published in 2018 and provides the first in-depth account of the history of artistic copyright (painting, engraving and photography) over a longitudinal period (1850-1911). Based on significant original archival work Art and Modern Copyright uncovers perspectives on copyright that have been long forgotten today, challenging the way we think about copyright and its history. The book was launched in December 2018, with an event at the Victorian Picture Gallery, Royal Holloway, University of London. Art and Modern Copyright was shortlisted by the Society of Legal Scholars for the Birks book prize for outstanding legal scholarship in 2020.
Elena has written and presented on topics exploring the relation between art history and copyright history, including two articles published in The Burlington Magazine (in 2021 and 2022), a presentation for the British Literary and Artistic Copyright Association held in The Hunterian Gallery, Glasgow before Whistler’s ‘Portrait of Lady Eden’, as well a talk in Keble College Chapel, Oxford, before Holman Hunt’s ‘The Light of the World’, for the University of Oxford’s IP Research Centre. She is currently co-editing a special issue of Art Antiquity and the Law (with Steph Scholten, Director of the Hunterian Gallery) about the ethical and legal issues raised by donor restrictions on galleries and museums. She has also been invited to contribute to the final anthology of the AHRC funded project ‘Theatre and Visual Culture in the Long Nineteenth Century’, following her presentation on nineteenth century theatre, visual art and copyright at the annual conference of the Association for Art History in 2021.
Elena has also authored a number of articles on the challenges of multiple authorship for copyright law, published in Law and Philosophy (identifying insights for copyright from 20th century institutional art theories), Journal of the Copyright Society of the USA (explaining history of divergence between UK and US) and Social and Legal Studies (original archival work into copyright issues arising from the involvement of thousands of unpaid volunteers in the making of the nineteenth century Oxford English Dictionary and comparing to Wikipedia). She has also undertaken empirical work, exploring the collaborative practices of digital artists today (published in the anthology The Work of Authorship: Creativity that Counts) which she developed into examples of paradigms for creative practice for the Arts Council funded digital arts residency programme run by Questlab Network (held at Wayne McGregor’s studio in Stratford, East London in 2018 and 2019).
Elena’s work has also been published in Legal Studies (jointly authored with Sheona Burrow, connecting empirical work on the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court today, to the historical experience of photographer litigants in the nineteenth century), as well as in edited anthologies on intellectual property (Landmark Cases in Intellectual Property Law, The Research Handbook on the History of Copyright Law and the forthcoming volume The Research Handbook on the History of Trade Mark Law).
Elena is co-editor for Britain of the CREATe funded digital resource ‘Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900)’ eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer, www.copyrighthistory.org . She was the academic lead organising the 10th Annual Workshop of the International Society for the History and Theory of Intellectual Property, hosted by CREATe, Glasgow in 2016, on the theme ‘Intellectual Property and Resistance’. She was also co-convenor of the CREATe Copyright Symposium (with Ronan Deazley) in 2015 and convenor of the CREATe Public Lectures Autumn 2021 on the theme ‘Intellectual Property and its History’, both events resulting in authoring an Opinion published in the European Intellectual Property Review (2016 and 2021) exploring the continuing relevance of copyright history.
Elena has presented widely, including as an invited speaker at the Centre for Intellectual Property Policy, McGill University, Canada (2013), and Cardozo Law School, NYC (2012), and at conferences hosted by Emory Law School, Atlanta (Annual Conference of the Association for Law, Culture and the Humanities, 2022), Columbia University’s Institute, Paris (‘Art Copyright and the Image Revolutions of the 19th century’ convened by Will Slauter and Stephanie Delamaire, 2019), Universities of Edinburgh and Leeds (British Crime Historians Symposium, 2016 and 2021), the Royal Society of Arts, London (CREATe Festival 2018), the Watts Gallery, Surrey (British Art Network conference, 2017), University of Oxford (EPIP, 2016), IVIR University of Amsterdam (HERA project, 2011 and 2013), Griffith University, Australia (ISHTIP 2011) and Universities of Cambridge and Glasgow (British Legal History Conference 2011 and 2013).
Before joining CREATe, Elena was at the University of Cambridge: as Orton Fellow in Intellectual Property Law at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, as a Research Associate on the Research Council funded project ‘Of Authorship and Originality’ (funded by a 1 million Euro grant from HERA, involving scholars in law, sociology and philosophy at the Universities of Cambridge, Amsterdam and Bergen) and as a PhD student (at Caius College and the Centre for IP and Information Law, Faculty of Law). Her PhD, supervised by Prof. Lionel Bently, on the history of photographic copyright law 1850-1911, was awarded a Yorke Prize by the Faculty of Law, Cambridge, in 2011, as ‘of exceptional quality’.
Prior to her time at Cambridge, Elena spent five years working for a City of London law firm and worked as an Associate Solicitor specialising in Intellectual Property litigation gaining a broad experience of IP disputes. This included pharmaceutical patent litigation (infringement and revocation), trade mark and domain name disputes for a leading retail brand, copyright litigation for photographers and IP advice for the offshore shipping industry, and encompassed litigation in the High Court, the UK Trade Marks Registry and the Privy Council. Elena graduated with a first class honours degree in Law from the London School of Economics in 1999 and a distinction in a Master's in Intellectual Property Law from King's College London in 2000 for which she was awarded the Derby/Bryce prize for Law by the University of London.
History of artistic copyright, multiple authorship in copyright law, criminal law in intellectual property law, history of trade mark law, history of performers' rights.
- Burgess, Janet
'Copyright Law and Amateur Music: Why Social and Commercial Value Diverge'
- Abkowicz-Bienko, Nika
“Translator, traitor, copyright violator”. Unauthorised translation as a copyright infringement in theory and practice
- Iramina, Aline
Copyright Governance by Algorithms: Towards a More Transparent Regime?