Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Crash Course in Intellectual Property

In my professional life, I deal with intellectual property questions on a routine basis. As a property professor, and a biolaw scholar, patent (and sometimes copyright) issues are my bread and butter. But, recent events in my life have reminded me just how much there is that I don't know.
My partner Allen wrote a children's opera, Gargoyle Garden that is being performed as part of the 2008 NYC Fringe Festival. Allen and his collaborator Jeff LaGreca have been pelting me with copyright questions. It has become embarrassingly clear (to me, at least) that I can answer few if any of them. To them I am the "expert." And, within a short period of time I have been able to provide answers to every question they have posed. But, my scramble to get up to speed has made me think long and hard about what an expert actually is. Is it someone who knows the answers or someone who knows how to find out the answers? If I didn't know the answer an hour ago, am I still an expert? Do experts really only exist in the eyes of novices?

Since my current research focuses on how perceptions of expertise affect regulatory trust, this process has been an extremely fruitful one for my scholarship. Life imitating art?
drawing credit here.
UPDATE: In response to this post, Ed over at Blawgreview sent me the following quote of the day from July 21, 2008

My definition of an expert in any field is a person who knows
enough about what's really going on to be scared.

P. J. Plauger, Computer Language, March 1983

Thanks Ed!
UPDATE: The Gargoyle Garden just finished a very successful run. Thanks to everyone who sent good wishes. For those interested, here are two of the reviews
Review 1: TimeOut New York gave the show 4 starts: see gargoyle garden musical by schulz & lagreca
Review 2: The American Theatre Web gave a nice review: see gargoyle garden musical by schulz & lagreca
The Daily News also gave the show a nice plug: see gargoyle garden musical by schulz & lagreca

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