Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

Faculty Profile

John Tehranian

John Tehranian

Irwin R. Buchalter Professor of Law

A.B., magna cum laude, Government, 1995, Harvard University; J.D., 2000, Yale University; Phi Beta Kappa; Member, California State Bar

Courses    Publications

Phone: (213) 738-6823
Office: BW319

John Tehranian was appointed to Southwestern's faculty in 2011 and brings a tremendous background as a scholar and practitioner in the areas of entertainment law, intellectual property and civil rights.

Professor Tehranian was most recently a tenured Professor of Law and Director of the Entertainment Law Center at Chapman University School of Law. He was previously a tenured Professor of Law at the University of Utah, S.J. Quinney College of Law, and has served as a Visiting Professor of Law at Loyola Law School. Among other subjects, he has taught Constitutional Law, Cyberlaw, Entertainment Law, Intellectual Property, and Law and Literature. He is also an experienced entertainment and intellectual property litigator, having represented prominent Hollywood, publishing, new media and technology clients in high-profile litigation at O'Melveny & Myers LLP and One LLP.

Professor Tehranian's scholarship focuses on the interface between law and culture, with an emphasis on issues of technology, entertainment and race. In particular, his work explores the impact of the emerging intellectual property and cyberlaw regimes on technological innovation and artistic creation; the growing tension between ownership of knowledge and expressive rights; the link between cultural formation and intellectual property law; and the relationship between legal systems and racial identity. In his new book, Infringement Nation: Copyright 2.0 and You (Oxford University Press, 2011), he presents an examination of copyright pervasiveness and reform in the digital age. His book, Whitewashed: America's Invisible Middle-Eastern Minority (New York University Press, 2009), provides an analysis of the social and legal construction of race and the malleable concept of whiteness through history. Professor Tehranian's articles have appeared in such publications as the Yale Law Journal, UC Davis Law Review, Berkeley Technology Law Journal, Connecticut Law Review, University of Colorado Law Review, Journal of Intellectual Property Law, BYU Law Review, Indiana Law Journal, Utah Law Review, University of Cincinnati Law Review, and University of Hawaii Law Review.

A frequent commentator on legal issues for the broadcast and print media, Professor Tehranian has appeared on ABC's Nightline, among other programs, and has been quoted in such publications as The New York Times, Harper's Magazine, Financial Times, Los Angeles Times, Hollywood Reporter and Christian Science Monitor. He has also served as an expert witness in numerous intellectual property and civil rights infringement suits, and as a speaker at more than 75 conferences and colloquia around the country.

Active in a variety of pro bono legal work, Professor Tehranian has focused on cases involving immigrants, civil rights plaintiffs, and indigent criminal defendants. He has successfully handled numerous appeals in the federal circuit courts on behalf of political asylum seekers from such countries as Colombia, Romania, and Iraq. He has litigated constitutional cases related to free speech, religious establishment, free assembly, due process, race discrimination, gender discrimination, and privacy rights. Professor Tehranian has also served as a court-appointed public defender in numerous criminal appeals. In recognition of his pro bono work, he received the Wiley W. Manuel Award for Pro Bono Legal Services from the California State Bar Board of Governors in 2007.

While an undergraduate student at Harvard, Professor received the Palfrey Exhibition Prize as the most distinguished scholar in the senior class and the John Harvard Scholarship and Detur Prize for academic performance of the highest distinction. At Yale, he was editor of the Yale Law Journal and the Yale Journal of Law and Humanities, and senior editor of the Yale Law & Policy Review, and was also a Teaching Fellow in the departments of Economics, Political Science and Women's Studies.


Books and Chapters

INFRINGEMENT NATION: COPYRIGHT 2.0 AND YOU (Oxford University Press, 2011)

WHITEWASHED: AMERICA'S INVISIBLE MIDDLE-EASTERN MINORITY (New York University Press, 2009; paperback edition, 2010)

Dangerous Undertakings: Sacred Texts and Copyright's Myth of Aesthetic Neutrality in THE SAGE HANDBOOK OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY (M. David and D. Halbert, eds.; Sage Publications, 2014)

From Debbie Does Dallas to The Hangover: The Changing Landscape of Trademark Law in Tinseltown in HOLLYWOOD AND THE LAW (P. McDonald, E. Hoyt, E. Carman and P. Drake, eds.; forthcoming 2014)


Racial Categories are Social Constructions in RACE RELATIONS (K. Miller, ed.; Greenhaven Press, 2011)

The Creation of Legal Identities Proper to the State in NEW CRITICAL WRITINGS IN POLITICAL SOCIOLOGY, VOLUME ONE: POWER, STATE AND INEQUALITY (A. Scott, K. Nash and A. Smith, eds.; with J. Scott and J. Mathias; Ashgate Publishing, 2009)

Et Tu, Fair Use? in FAIR USE--A COPYRIGHT DEFENSE (A. Rao, ed.; Icfai University Press, 2008)

Government Surnames and Legal Identities in NATIONAL IDENTIFICATION SYSTEMS: ESSAYS IN OPPOSITION 11 (with J. Scott and J. Mathias; Carl Watner, ed.; 2004)

Optimizing Piracy: Achieving Efficient Management of Intellectual Property Portfolios in I CONGRESO

Famine and the Rule of Law: Freedom of the Press, Regime Consolidation and the Politics of Starvation. A Study of the 1982-1985 Droughts in Ethiopia, Kenya and Zimbabwe in NOT BY BREAD ALONE: FOOD SECURITY AND GOVERNANCE IN AFRICA 145 (A. Ogunrinade et al., eds.; 1999)

Foreword to TELECOMMUNICATIONS: BRIDGE TO THE 21ST CENTURY (with M. Jussawalla; ed.; 1995)


It'll Break Your Heart Every Time: Flood v. Kuhn, (Baseball) Romanticism and the Fallibility of Courts, NINE: A JOURNAL OF BASEBALL HISTORY AND CULTURE (forthcoming)

Derivative Works 2.0: Reconsidering Transformative Use in the Age of Crowdsourced Creation, 109 NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW (with J. Lipton, forthcoming 2015)

Playing Cowboys and Iranians: Selective Colorblindness and the Legal Construction of White Geographies, 86 UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO LAW REVIEW 1 (forthcoming 2015)

Dangerous Undertakings: Sacred Texts and Copyright's Myth of Aesthetic Neutrality, THE SAGE HANDBOOK OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY (M. David & D. Halbert, eds.; Sage Publications, 2014)

Critical Legal Activism and Netroots Movements, 31 CARDOZO ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT LAW JOURNAL 624 (Symposium on Critical Legal Studies and the Politicization of Intellectual Property and Information Law, 2013)

Of Cheerleaders, Hobbits and Ginger Rogers: Hollywood and Trademark Law, HOLLYWOOD AND THE LAW (P. McDonald, E. Hoyt, E. Carman & P. Drake, eds.; forthcoming 2013)

Guantanamo's Greatest Hits: The Semiotics of Sound and the Protection of Performer Rights under the Lanham Act, 16 VANDERBILT JOURNAL OF ENTERTAINMENT & TECHNOLOGY LAW 11 (2013)

Curbing Copyblight: Three Modest Proposals, 14 VANDERBILT JOURNAL OF ENTERTAINMENT & TECHNOLOGY LAW 993 (invited symposium issue on Copyright & Creativity; 2012), selected as one of the best law review articles in the field of intellectual property by Thomson Reuters (West), republished in 45 INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW REVIEW 603 (Thomson Reuters/West, 2013)

Dangerous Undertakings: The Wind Done Gone, 60 Years Later and Copyright's Myth of Aesthetic Neutrality in THE SAGE HANDBOOK OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY (M. David & D. Halbert, eds.; Sage Publications, 2013)

An Intersystemic View of Intellectual Property and Free Speech, 81 GEORGE WASHINGTON LAW REVIEW 1 (with M. Bartholomew; 2012)

Towards a Critical IP Theory: Copyright, Consecration & Control, 2012 BYU LAW REVIEW 1237 (2012)

Copyright in the 21st Century: The Heart of Every Matter, LOS ANGELES DAILY JOURNAL (August 2011)

Parchment, Pixels and Personhood: Users Rights and the IP (Identity Politics) of IP (Intellectual Property), 82 UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO LAW REVIEW 1 (2011)

The Last Minstrel Show? Racial Profiling, the War on Terrorism and the Mass Media, 41 CONNECTICUT LAW REVIEW 781 (2009); anthologized in NATIONAL SECURITY, CIVIL LIBERTIES AND THE WAR ON TERROR (M. Darmer and R. Fybel, eds.; Prometheus Books, 2011)

The Emperor Has No Copyright: Registration, Cultural Hierarchy, and the Myth of American Copyright Militancy, 24 BERKELEY TECHNOLOGY LAW JOURNAL 1397 (2009)

Selective Racialization: Middle-Eastern Identity and the Faustian Pact with Whiteness, 40 CONNECTICUT LAW REVIEW 1201 (2008; Special Symposium Issue on Unconscious Racism: Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Charles Lawrence's The Id, the Ego and Equal Protection)

Sometimes White, Sometimes Not: Colorblindness, Diversity and the Middle-Eastern American Question, THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION (September 2008; special supplement on "Diversity in Academe")

Infringement Nation: Copyright Reform and the Law/Norm Gap, 2007 UTAH LAW REVIEW 537 (2007)

Compulsory Whiteness: Towards a Middle-Eastern Legal Scholarship, 82 INDIANA LAW JOURNAL 1 (2007)

The Secret Life of Legal Doctrine: The Divergent Evolution of Secondary Liability in Trademark and Copyright Law, 21 BERKELEY TECHNOLOGY LAW JOURNAL 1363 (with M. Bartholomew; 2006)

Whither Copyright? Transformative Use, Free Speech and an Intermediate Liability Proposal, 2005 BYU LAW REVIEW 1201 (2005)

Et Tu, Fair Use? The Triumph of Natural-Law Copyright, 38 UC DAVIS LAW REVIEW 465 (2005)

All Rights Reserved? Reassessing Copyright and Patent Enforcement in the Digital Age, 72 UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI LAW REVIEW 45 (2003)

Sanitizing Cyberspace: Obscenity, Miller, and the Future of Public Discourse on the Internet, 11 JOURNAL OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW 1 (2003)

The Creation of Legal Identities Proper to the State: The Case of the Permanent Family Surname, 44 COMPARATIVE STUDIES IN SOCIETY AND HISTORY 4 (with J. Scott and J. Mathias; 2002); anthologized in NEW CRITICAL WRITINGS IN POLITICAL SOCIOLOGY, VOLUME ONE: POWER, STATE AND INEQUALITY (A. Scott, K. Nash and A. Smith, eds.; 2009)

A New Segregation? Race, Rice v. Cayetano, and the Constitutionality of Hawaiian-Only Education and the Kamehameha Schools, 23 UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII LAW REVIEW 109 (2000)

Performing Whiteness: Naturalization Litigation and the Construction of Racial Identity in America, 109 YALE LAW JOURNAL 817 (2000)

The Economics of Delayed Access: Developing Nations and Satellite Technology, 17 TELECOMMUNICATIONS POLICY 517 (with M. Jussawalla; 1993)

Book review, The Economics of Agricultural Technology in Semiarid Sub-Saharan Africa (J. Sanders, et al.; Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), 35 JOURNAL OF MODERN AFRICAN STUDIES 757 (1997)

Book review, The Diffusion of Advanced Telecommunications in Developing Countries (C. Antonelli; OECD Development Centre Studies, 1991), 5 INFORMATION ECONOMICS AND POLICY 197 (with M. Jussawalla; 1993)