Professor Lea Shaver Presents Scholarship on Right to Science and Culture


Professor Lea Shaver discussed her scholarship surrounding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) at the law school on January 31, 2013. It was the third installment in the new Graduate Studies Lecture Series that began in Fall 2012.

What Professor Shaver terms “the right to science and culture” is taken from Article 27 of the UDHR, which states in part: “Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.”

Drawn to law school because of what she calls her passion for human rights, Professor Shaver began to consider how the socioeconomic rights of the poor, such as the right to health care, education, and the like, are impacted negatively by intellectual property law. IP makes everything more expensive, she said, pointing to a best-selling book that retails for $27.99 in print form with a digital reader version that sells for $12.74, compared to the print version of a Charles Dickens classic – no longer protected by copyright – that sells for $3.50 for a print version and is free on most digital readers. She also talked about a prescription drug, the brand name of which sells for $2 per tablet, while the generic version sells for 3 cents.

“It cannot be entirely left up to the market to create access to ensure advances in science and culture are available to everyone,” she said.

Professor Shaver taught at Yale Law School and Hofstra Law School before she joined the law school in Fall 2012. She teaches intellectual property, copyright, and patent law.

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