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More on Comic Norms, and Virtual Symposia

[Cross-posted in part from Concurring Opinions]

I posted earlier about the Virginia Law Review In Brief responses to Dotan Oliar’s and Chris Sprigman’s UVa Law Review article, There’s No Free Laugh (Anymore): The Emergence of Intellectual Property Norms and the Transformation of Stand-Up Comedy, 94 Va. L. Rev. 1787 (2008).

In Brief just published Oliar and Sprigman’s great response to all of the critiques, From Corn to Norms: How IP Entitlements Affect What Stand-Up Comedians Create.

The collection of pieces makes up an engaging virtual symposium on a topic that is simultaneously important (the relationship between law and social norms) and entertaining (how often do legal scholars get to dedicate professional energy to Lenny Bruce?). 

This kind of extended public colloquy among scholars is among the best uses of the online supplements that many of the top law reviews have created.   The “virtual symposium” could be even more effective if the elements of virtual symposia were collected (tagged, perhaps) and publicized as such (”Symposium on Law and Social Norms in Stand-Up Comedy”, or something like that) in both new and traditional electronic media (Westlaw, Lexis/Nexis, CILP, the law review websites themselves and their posts to this blog and others, SSRN, etc.) 

That suggestion is directed to all those students, librarians, indexers, and bloggers who contribute to the ecology of online information about scholarship, and it comes from the perspective of the reader.  Here’s a suggestion from the perspective of the author.  If your piece is being pitched at a journal that hosts an online supplement, consider offering to partner with the student editors in soliciting critiques and responses, and designing an issue of the supplement that constitutes, in effect, a low-cost symposium on your work.