The future of ownership is changing, especially for what we buy digitally. We see this all around us and online in how we buy books, music, and even art. We also see this impacting physical items we own that include digital software or content, sometimes limiting how, when, and where we can use or even fix them. This raises many questions about the future of digital ownership and what laws and policies need to be in place to preserve the benefits of ownership in the digital age.
The Engelberg Center on Innovation Law & Policy at NYU Law is looking for a Research Fellow to help us investigate the future of digital ownership, especially in the world of book publishing. The role would involve working with Engelberg Center faculty to research the current state of the ebook market, including interviews with key stakeholders, to understand the impact of the shift from physical to digital books and how and why these trends have coincided with a shift towards licensing and away from selling. The Fellow will prepare public reports and academic publications on the state of the industry, maps of how it may change, and organize events to explore these questions in more depth.
The Fellowship is a 2-year full time position based in NYC.
The Engelberg Center strongly encourages all people to apply (please circulate widely), especially those who hold the following intersecting identities: Black, Native or Indigenous, People of Color, LGBTQIA+, non-binary, poor or working class, persons living with disabilities, neurodivergent, young, undocumented, speak English as a second language, and others with lived experience in overlooked and/or underestimated communities.
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What we do. We work to understand the intersection of innovation law & policy from practical, research, and conceptual perspectives. That involves bringing communities together, exploring ideas, and documenting what we learn about challenges, opportunities, and possibilities.
Who we are. Housed within New York University Law School, we are a team of professors, researchers, fellows, and students. We explore issues related to intellectual property, innovation, competition, privacy, and more. We bring experience from government, nonprofit, business, and academia to understand and contextualize the questions we approach. Students work as part of our team, learning to become the innovative leaders of the future.
How we do it. We identify important questions and support experts and communities working to answer them. We help bring those answers to the broader world so that they can help drive action and impact.
Role and Responsibilities
The Future of Digital Ownership Research Fellow will work to understand the current state of the digital ownership market, with a special focus on books. Physical books have traditionally been sold, allowing owners to share, modify, resell, or donate their copy as they see fit. The ebook market has evolved away from that model and towards a licensing model. This shift toward licensing has raised questions about the ability of purchasers to own the books they license.
Working with Engelberg Center faculty and staff, the Research Fellow will develop, manage, and execute a plan to document a nuanced understanding of these trends, including why the digital book market has moved towards this licensing model. This understanding will include how stakeholders view the differences between sale and licensing, the way in which decisions to elect to license instead of sell are made, and what type of infrastructure exists to support various transactional models in the ebooks marketplace.
The Fellow will explore these questions by interviewing existing stakeholders, convening working group discussions, and researching the technical infrastructure of the publishing industry. The Fellow will work to communicate the answers to these questions in the form of whitepapers, public reports, academic publications, blog posts, events, and other channels as appropriate.
The ideal candidate:
Has a background in the legal and technical foundations of book publishing, including copyright law
Has a strong understanding of the social, cultural, and economic structures of the publishing industry, including a working relationship with at least some stakeholders
Can distill and explain complex information to a wide range of audiences, both in writing and in conversation
Can develop and execute a rigorous research plan
The Fellow will do all of this as part of the Engelberg Center community. This position will be based primarily in New York City. The Fellow will have access to office space at the Engelberg Center's Greenwich Village and Brooklyn MetroTech locations, and will be expected to be in the office on at least a part-time basis (consistent with evolving health safety protocols).
Candidates for this position must have:
Understanding of the publishing industry
Demonstrated strong research and writing skills, including rigorous methodological approaches to interviewing.
Experience interviewing individuals and managing group discussions
Demonstrated ability to develop and fulfill a research plan
Ideal candidates for this position will also have:
An existing network of business contacts within the book publishing industry
The Future of Digital Ownership Fellow is a full-time, two-year term. The salary for the fellowship is $70,000 per year plus NYU benefits. These benefits include a wide range of health coverage, retirement plans, tuition reimbursement, as well as a range of life and wellness benefits.
Please answer the questions in this google form and attach a resume/CV by clicking on the "Apply Now" button.
Applications will be reviewed starting on June 1 and on a rolling basis thereafter until the position is filled.
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