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Seminal Talk - Friends Hold All Things in Common: Confucian and Erasmian Perspectives on Copyright and Creativity

When: Monday, March 16, 2020 - 16:00 to 17:00
Venue: SMU School of Law, 55 Armenian Street, Meeting room 5.04, Level 5, Singapore 179943


This is an exploratory talk on Confucian and Erasmian teachings, and how copyright may be viewed through them. Confucius has long been the poster boy for unmitigated piracy and low IP enforcement in China and other Asian countries. His teachings have been used to account for the apparent differences in attitude towards IP in the West and East. While this stance is highly contestable, few scholars have considered the converse i.e. that Confucianism may account for recent movements and developments in copyright law. While copyright law has progressively strengthened in scope and duration over time, there has been a reactive backlash to this in the form of moderate calls for a more balanced copyright regime e.g. Lessig and the Creative Commons, to more extreme crusades e.g. the formation of copyright abolitionist groups such as The League of Noble Peers. Confucianism holds important insights into these developments, as does the teachings of Erasmus, the foremost intellectual in 16th Century Europe.


Dr Tania Cheng-Davies is a Lecturer in Law at the University of Bristol, UK, specialising in intellectual property law. Previously, she practised law in Singapore and taught on an LLM in IP programme at the UK Intellectual Property Office. Her PhD thesis focused on moral rights in the United Kingdom, which was supported by the prestigious Modern Law Review Scholarship. Parts of her thesis have been published in leading law journals such as the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies and Intellectual Property Quarterly. Her recent article on the destruction of art works under copyright law was awarded the prestigious John McLaren Emmerson QC Prize by the Intellectual Property Society of Australia and New Zealand. She has been awarded a research grant by the Society of Legal Scholars UK to conduct further research on moral rights, artists and culture in Singapore in 2020. Her other current research projects include an examination of Confucian and Erasmian perspectives of copyright and a study of music copyright/privileges in 17th and 18th century England. She can be contacted at University of Bristol, School of Law, Wills Memorial Building, Queens Road, BS8 1RJ, United Kingdom; email: tania.cheng-davies [at]



Kung-Chung LIU holds an LL.B. and LL.M. from National Taiwan University and a Doctorate from the Ludwig Maximilian Universitaet (University of Munich). He was a Research Fellow at Academia Sinica, Taiwan until 2017. In 2003, he was a Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Law of the National University of Singapore and a Visiting Senior Research Fellow for the IP Academy of Singapore. Professor Liu has served as one of the founding Commissioners of the National Communications Commission in Taiwan between 2006 and 2007. In 2014-15, he was a Visiting Professor at the School of Law, Singapore Management University, and the Founding Director of the Applied Research Centre for Intellectual Assets and the Law in Asia (ARCIALA). In addition, he has been co-appointed Professor at the Renmin University, China (2017), and the Graduate Institute of Technology, Innovation & Intellectual Property Management, National Chengchi University, Taiwan (since 2010).

The event is by-invitation only.

Last updated on 12 Mar 2020 .