The University of St. Thomas will hold a conference titled “Intellectual Property and Religious Thought,” on April 5, 2013, co-sponsored by the Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law, and Public Policy and The University of St. Thomas Law Journal. The conference will be held at the University of St. Thomas School of Law building in downtown Minneapolis.
The conference will bring together legal scholars, religious ethicists, religion scholars, and theologians for an interdisciplinary discussion of how religious themes, practices, and communities may inform and shape intellectual property law and policy. The time is ripe for such a conversation. The long, rich tradition of religious thought concerning property rights and obligations has only begun to be applied to the problems concerning intellectual property (IP) that are so central to the Information Age. The foundations for analyzing these issues are deeply contested culturally, as evidenced by the warring slogans “Copying is theft” and “Intellectual property is theft.” The Catholic Church and other religious bodies have issued brief but non-systematic statements on certain issues, such as biotechnology patents and access to patented medicines or seeds. Underlying cases such as Bowman v. Monsanto, now before the U.S. Supreme Court, are deep debates about social justice and the ownership of artificially created but naturally replicating things (in that case, patents on seeds)—both matters to which major religions have historically spoken. The conference and papers from it published in the University of St. Thomas Law Journal will be catalysts for this interdisciplinary conversation.
Keynote/featured speakers confirmed for the conference include (further invitations pending):
Two broad themes provide the framework for conference papers: the idea of creativity as gift, and the idea of stewardship of property as fundamental to ownership. These are meant to be highly flexible and allow for a wide range of topics, including but not limited to:
Depending upon the number of accepted papers, they may be presented in plenary or concurrent sessions. Accepted papers will be considered for publication in the University of St. Thomas Law Journal.
Abstracts of proposed papers should be one page and should include the author’s name, affiliation, mailing address, and e-mail address. The deadline for submission of proposals is December 3, 2012. Notification of acceptance will be made by December 13, 2012. Abstracts should be sent by e-mail to email@example.com or by first-class mail to
Professor Thomas Berg
c/o Terrence J. Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law, and Public Policy
Re: Intellectual Property and Religious Thought Conference
University of St. Thomas
MSL 400, 1000 La Salle Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55403-2015