Ipse Dixit


Mala Chatterjee on the Role of Volition in Copyright

Season 1, Ep. 257

In this episode, Mala Chatterjee, a JD/PhD student in philosophy at New York University, fellow at the NYU Law School Engelberg Center for Innovation, Law, and Policy, and visiting fellow at the Yale Law School Information Society Project, discusses her article "Minds, Machines, and the Law: The Case of Volition in Copyright Law," which she co-authored with Jeanne Fromer of NYU Law, and which will be published in the Columbia Law Review. Chatterjee begins by explaining why mental states and the concept of volition matter in the law. She describes the role of volition in copyright law, and how the presence of absence of volition may affect the culpability of an action under copyright law. She outlines how philosophers of mind distinguish between conscious and functional mental states, and how thinking about mental states functionally may affect our understanding of how to treat the actions of machines under copyright law. And she reflects on how thinking about mental states and volition from a functional perspective may affect how we think about legal doctrine more generally. Chatterjee is on Twitter at @nirrvala.

This episode was hosted by Brian L. Frye, Spears-Gilbert Associate Professor of Law at the University of Kentucky College of Law. Frye is on Twitter at @brianlfrye.

More Episodes


Aliza Shatzman on Holding Judges Accountable

Season 1, Ep. 758
In this episode, Aliza Shatzman, an attorney and advocate based in Washington, DC, discusses her article "Untouchable Judges? What I've learned about harassment in the judiciary, and what we can do to stop it," which will be published in the UCLA Journal of Gender & Law. Here is the abstract:Drawing from the author’s own experience of gender discrimination, harassment, and retaliation during her clerkship and in the years following it by a former DC Superior Court judge, this Article analyzes the deficits in current federal and DC judicial reporting systems to demonstrate the urgent need for reform. I argue that harassment in the judiciary is pervasive, due to both enormous power disparities between judges and law clerks, and various institutional barriers that perpetuate misconduct and discourage reporting. I survey existing methods of judicial discipline in both the federal and DC Courts and argue that these provide insufficient redress for workplace misconduct. I then discuss the Judiciary Accountability Act (JAA) (HR 4827/S 2553), which would finally protect judiciary employees, including law clerks and federal public defenders, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, enabling employees to sue their harassers and seek damages for harm done to their careers, reputations, and future earning potential. Furthermore, I argue that the DC Courts should be included in the JAA, because they are Article I courts created and regulated by Congress, and DC Courts judges are arguably federal judges for Title VII and disciplinary purposes. I also offer a variety of other proposed reforms, which would both strengthen the JAA and provide additional protections to uniquely vulnerable judiciary employees. I conclude by reflecting on my attempts to report the misconduct I experienced, how the systems failed me when I tried to report, and my efforts to seek justice for myself and accountability for the misbehaving former judge.This episode was hosted by Brian L. Frye, Spears-Gilbert Professor of Law at the University of Kentucky College of Law. Frye is on Twitter at @brianlfrye.