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. 



Without Coprights: Piracy, Publishing, and the Public Domain, Prologue--Growing the American Public Domain--Prologue: Growing the American Public Domain (2013)

Provides a thorough historical survey of the impact of U.S. copyright law on transatlantic modernist...



Without Coprights: Piracy, Publishing, and the Public Domain--Chapter 1: The American Public Domain and the Courtesy of the Trade in the Nineteenth Century (2013)

Provides a thorough historical survey of the impact of U.S. copyright law on transatlantic modernist...



Copyright and Joyce: Litigating the Word: James Joyce in the Courts, Books (2008)

This booklet is based on a talk given by Robert Spoo in November 2007 as...

Three Myths for Aging Copyrights: Tithonus, Dorian Gray, Ulysses, Books (2004)

Myths surrounding the aging of copyrights.


Contributions to Books

Ezra Pound's Copyright Statute: Perpetual Rights and the Problem of Heirs, Copyright Law Volume II: Application to Creative Industries in the 20th Century (2012)
Tres mitos para envejecimiento de los copyrights: Titono, Dorian Gray, Ulises, Funcion Lenguaje: Revista Multidisciplinar (2011)

Specially requested Spanish translation of Three Myths for Aging Copyrights: Tithonus, Dorian Gray, Ulysses, for...

Intellectual Property and Vietnam’s Higher Education System (with Dao Anh Tuan), Reforming Higher Education in Vietnam: Challenges and Priorities (2010)
Pound and the Law, Ezra Pound in Context (2010)



Introduction: Futures of Fair Use (with Paul K. Saint Amour and Joseph S. Jenkins), Law & Literature (2013)


A New Odyssey, Irish Times James Joyce Magazine (2012)


Samuel Roth: Discourteous Reprinter, Dublin James Joyce Journal (2012)

Literary piracy in the context of U.S. copyright law and the informal norms of trade...



Three Myths for Aging Copyrights: Tithonus, Dorian Gray, Ulysses, Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal (2012)

Popular Press


Can We End the Copyright Tower of Babel?, London Show Daily (2013)


Joycean Law, Intellectual Property and Tachnology Law for the Pacific Rim (2007)


Use It or Lose It: Copyright and Fair Use for Researchers and Scholars (with Adrian Alexander, Kevin J. H. Dettmar, Peter Jaszi, Brendan O'Neill, Kate O'Neill, Robert Pickering, Tamara Piety, Paul K. Saint-Amour, Laura Stevens, Sean Latham, and Sam Halabi), Other Lectures and Presentations (2013)

A public forum on Copyright and Fair Use. Panelists included:

  • Adrian Alexander, R.M. and...
Copyright Misuse: Emerging Trends and Consequences for Rights-Holders, Faculty and Alumni Showcase Series (2008)

Prof. Robert Spoo discusses trends in recognizing the use and misuse of copyright law.