Latest Scholarship

July 13, 2013

New Book: The Electronic Silk Road, by Anupam Chander

Yale University Press has just published The Electronic Silk Road: How the Web Binds the World Together in Commerce. The book has been hailed as a "tour de force" by leading trade economist Jagdish Bhagwati of Columbia University, a "must read" by Senator Chris Coons, and "engaging" and "important" by Ricardo Ramírez-Hernández, Chair of the Appellate Body, World Trade Organization.

The hardcover is available from Amazon here, as is a Kindle version.

Former World Trade Organization Director-General Michael Moore, currently New Zealand's Ambassador to the United States, tweeted: "What am I reading? "The Electronic Silk Road" by @AnupamChander explains essential issues for modern trade agenda."

The book has received extensive advance praise from key figures in international law and economics.

  • "An extraordinarily lucid and colorful description of the way cybertrade is changing global commerce -- and global society. Chander proposes realistic legal arrangements that can secure the Web’s benefits and avert its perils. This is an important book."—Michael Reisman, Yale Law School
  • "The world of commerce has changed for services. A masterly analysis of the implications of this development, this book is a tour de force."— Jagdish Bhagwati, University Professor, Columbia University
  • “A must read for those interested in globalization in the information age and the public policy challenges, opportunities, and pitfalls that will result. Anupam Chander offers an insightful primer on international cyberlaw and a thoughtful set of proposals for adapting to a changed world.” —Chris Coons, United States Senator
  • “This engaging book makes a powerful argument for embracing trade, without displacing law, along the new digital trade routes. Indeed, it recognizes law as crucial to promoting both trade and consumer protection. This is an important contribution to thinking about the international legal order.”—Ricardo Ramírez-Hernández, Chair of the Appellate Body, World Trade Organization
  • “Chander examines how international trade is ordering human rights and free expression in the digital age. Virtual borders and transnational corporations are here to stay, and Chander’s notion of ‘net-work’ offers us a sobering analysis of the dangers, and the possibilities.”—Deji Olukotun, PEN American Center
  • “Chander accentuates what is often forgotten--the importance of law underlying the digital evolution. Highly readable and enjoyable, The Electronic Silk Road is a piece of sound intellectual work, which is handsomely written.”—Mira Burri, University of Bern
  • “Anupam Chander takes us on a fascinating journey, raising provocative questions on how to balance competing global and local interests when managing new trade dynamics. Anyone interested in the digital transformation of commerce should consider carefully Chander’s insights.”—Mark Wu, Harvard Law School

The Electronic Silk Road

May 10, 2012

Madhavi Sunder's Important New Book Now Available for Pre-Order

Most scholarship on intellectual property considers this law from the standpoint of law and economics. Under this conventional wisdom, intellectual property is simply a tool for promoting innovative products, from iPods to R2D2. In this highly original book Madhavi Sunder calls for a richer understanding of intellectual property law’s effects on social and cultural life. Intellectual property does more than incentivize the production of more goods. This law fundamentally affects the ability of citizens to live a good life. Intellectual property law governs the abilities of human beings to make and share culture, and to profit from this enterprise in a global Knowledge economy. This book turns to social and cultural theory to more fully explore the deep connections between cultural production and human freedom.

Should be available on May 21, 2012--Order here.

November 10, 2011

Call for Papers: Tribute to Keith Aoki

UCLA Asian Pacific American Law Journal

Volume 17

Call for Submissions: 

Tributes in Remembrance of UC Davis Law Professor Keith Aoki

The UCLA Asian Pacific American Law Journal is currently seeking original pieces in tribute of UC Davis Law Professor Keith Aoki for publication in Volume 17.  Professor Aoki was an activist and prolific legal scholar, having contributed to a variety of fields, including Asian American issues, critical race, property, local law, immigration, and intellectual property. Pieces may reflect upon Professor Aoki's impact in these fields of law or upon his personal impact and legacy as an artist, professor, scholar, friend, and mentor.

Submissions should be written in the form of a short editorial. Relevant references and connections to Asian Pacific American issues are highly encouraged, such as, but not limited to, critical responses centering on themes of affirmative action, higher education admissions, the model minority myth, race and legal education/academia, etc. 

Please limit responses to 2,000 words, double-spaced with 1-inch margins, in 12 point Times New Roman font. However, the Editorial Board will not enforce a strict word limit. Submissions must be e-mailed in Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF format to with Vol. 17 Submission: Tribute to Keith Aoki in the subject line.  Any footnotes should follow The Bluebook Uniform System of Citation.  Please submit responses no later than December 1st, 2011. If you have questions regarding the submission or slating process, please e-mail

Established in 1991, the UCLA Asian Pacific American Law Journal (APALJ) is one of only two law journals in the nation that focuses exclusively on the legal, social, and political issues affecting Asian Pacific American communities.  APALJ provides a forum for legal scholars, practitioners, and students to discuss emerging issues affecting South Asian, Southeast Asian, East Asian, and Pacific Islander communities in the United States.  APALJ publishes written work regarding these issues for dissemination to the general public.  Through publication, APALJ hopes to move Asian American jurisprudence in a direction that will aid Asian Pacific Americans in their struggles.

November 8, 2011

Remembering Keith Aoki on His Birthday

Keith would have been 56 today.  The UC Davis Law Review will publish a major symposium on his work in the Spring, as will the University of Oregon Law Review.  The sketch below is by Sam Sellers--and accompanied a beautiful set of posters delivered to Keith in his last days.

September 23, 2011

More Jasmine Revolutions? Or Better Big Brothers?

Should dictators fear, or welcome, the Internet?  I grapple with this question in a new essay, Jasmine Revolutions, forthcoming in the Cornell Law Review.  The draft of the paper is available here.

Here is the abstract for the paper:

Will the Internet help topple tyrants, or will it help further cement their control? Prominent skeptics challenge the notion that the Internet will help rid the world of dictators. They suggest that the Internet will simply serve as a new opiate of the masses, or worse, will assist autocrats in manipulating popular opinion. I defend the liberalizing promise of cyberspace. Where others have set out the value of the Internet to dissidents, I answer the main critiques of that position - that Internet activism is futile, that the Internet is simply the new opiate of the masses, and that autocrats will benefit more from the Internet than dissidents. I argue that dictators have revealed their own appraisals of the Internet: when threatened, they shut it down. Tyrants today fear the Internet more than they benefit from it. This summer’s events again confirmed this truth: On the day when the rebels marched into Tripoli, they restored Libya to the Internet.


August 8, 2011

Download This: The Asian Century?

With sovereign debt crises afflicting both the United States and Europe, it is more important than ever to understand what the rise of Asia means for the world.  In this article, I compare two visions of internationalism--Henry Luce's framework of an American Century with Rabindranath Tagore's vision of an international order.  The paper marks in my own way an homage to Tagore, whose 150th birth anniversary we mark this year.

Download here.

The abstract for the paper:

How might an Asian Century to come differ from the American Century just past? Will an Asian Century, should it come to pass, mark a retreat for human rights, including women’s rights and gay rights? In this introduction to a UC Davis Law Review symposium, I contrast Henry Luce’s vision for an American Century with the internationalism of his near contemporary, the Indian Poet Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. As the United States entered World War II, Luce, publisher of TimeLife, and Fortune, asked, “What are we fighting for?” Luce’s manifesto declaring an “American Century” answered that it was the internationalization of American ideas—promulgated from Hollywood to Washington. Luce’s vision presaged American support for human rights after the war and its forceful, if inconsistent, critique of despots during the latter half of the Twentieth Century. 

In the Post-War era, China and India embraced the sovereign nation-state, often proving reluctant to support intervention in the affairs of other countries, even when human rights were at stake. Tagore offered an alternative vision. Hailing from a land that long suffered at the hands of British traders and imperialists, Tagore proposed an internationalism led by neither the merchant nor the soldier. Instead, Tagore offered a world order founded on a kind of critical friendship, unflinchingly focused on human dignity for all.








May 18, 2011

A Book of Remembrances in Honor of Keith Aoki

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Jamie Boyle has made available a book he produced remembering our UC Davis colleague Keith Aoki, available for $10.05 (at cost).

Keith Aoki: 1955-2011 Life as the Art of Kindness, A Remembrance (Paperback)

The book, produced by Duke Law Professor Jamie Boyle, with Duke's Jennifer Jenkins and Balfour Smith, offers remembrances of UC Davis Law Professor and graphic artist Keith Aoki, who passed away from a terminal illness this year. There are remembrances from John Perry Barlow and countless law professors across the country, in fields such as intellectual property and critical race theory. The book includes a dazzling array of Twitter messages, including one from Larry Lessig, on the day of Keith's passing. And it includes some great cartoons done by Keith, as well as art from his early years. A beautiful tribute from a few of the many who loved Keith.


May 13, 2011

Congratulations, Class of 2011!

After three years of hard work (see, e.g., here and here) and a lot of fun (see, e.g., here), you have earned your right to walk across the stage of the Mondavi Center. We toast your achievements thus far, and look forward to your accomplishments in the law and in life in the years to come.


Congratulations, Class of 2011!

April 5, 2011

New John D. Ayer Bankruptcy Chair Honors Leading Bankruptcy Scholar

Professor Emeritus Jack Ayer has long been recognized for his national leadership in bankruptcy law.  The John D. Ayer Bankruptcy Chair honors Professor Ayer for the lasting legacy he leaves in this area.  I was delighted to join other faculty in San Francisco yesterday evening to launch this chair.  Thanks to our hosts, the McNutt Law Group, who have spectacular offices overlooking the Bay and Yerba Buena Island.


April 1, 2011

Finding Liability in the Fukushima Disaster

Who should bear responsbility for the nuclear disaster in Fukushima prefecture? Nuclear liabilty law in many states often assigns liability to the operator alone. In an op-ed in the L.A. Times, I note that there were similar claims of limited liability based on law in the Gulf Oil Spill. Both BP and Transocean were thought to have limited exposure. But BP still agreed to a $20 billion fund to help those harmed by the spill.