Intellectual property expert a winner at ‘Make the News’

  • Date

    Wed 14 Jul 21

An Essex Early Career Researcher has been named as one of four winners in a national competition which looks to help academics bring their research to public attention.

Dr Eden Sarid, an intellectual property expert from our School of Law, was ‘thrilled’ to be picked as one of four winners of Make The News, a new competition from The Society of Legal Scholars.

The competition seeks to provide Early Career Researchers in law with ‘a unique experience to learn more about getting your research noticed by a wider audience.’

Dr Sarid’s focus is on looking at intellectual property law from the standpoint of those involved in the creative industries.

Dr Sarid said: “Intellectual Property Law, as it stands, makes assumptions about why we create, how we create, how innovation happens and how we advance creativity. I really like to look at creative industries or creative spaces where people follow different patterns than what we know in IP law.

“So I might look at Wikipedia, or cuisine and chefs, the fashion industry, even drag queens – each industry or space works differently. They fascinate me because of what they tell us about creativity and how we can implement what they do in British law and innovation policy.”

Dr Sarid had to provide a short submission, based on his existing research into orphan works.

Dr Sarid said: “Orphan works are items such as photos, books, radio broadcasts, and music that are out there but nobody knows who created them. Because we can’t identify the creator, we can’t get a license to use them. There are hundreds of millions of them.

“Some of these orphan works, of course, were created many, many years ago. The BBC and British Library, for example, have millions of photos, diaries, letters, and books in their archives. These include photos of the British soldiers from the World Wars, or books about life in the UK in the 50s and 60s, but nobody knows who took them. If you want to pick one and send your Nana a copy, or you just want to put it online or write an article about it, you're not allowed to, because nobody knows who the copyright holder is.

“So there are tens of millions of works in the UK, right now, that are stuck in this legal limbo, and some are huge cultural treasures which are lost for many years.”

Having been shortlisted, Dr Sarid presented his work to an expert panel. Following the announcement of the four winners, he then had the opportunity to explain his work and receive feedback from a panel including legal correspondent Joshua Rozenberg QC (hon), barrister and freelance journalist Catherine Baksi and Professor Thom Brooks, President of the Society of Legal Scholars.

Dr Sarid said: “What really attracted me to this competition was that it is focuses on making an impact beyond academia. Sometimes you focus for a long time on a very small question which could have huge ramifications for the economy, or for British culture, and it's very important to get it out there into the public eye, because people just don't know.

“Also, it's nice to represent Essex and also my subject area. I always tell my students that, in intellectual property, we have to appreciate that nobody creates out of the ether, everybody builds on other people's ideas. With this win, I have a personal feeling of accomplishment but also a sense of bringing attention to a community of people working on important intellectual property issues.”