Keith Aoki

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Keith Aoki (1955 – April 26, 2011) was an American law professor who served on the faculty of UC Davis and the University of Oregon. He illustrated the comic books Bound by Law, which explains copyright and fair use, and Theft! A History of Music -- Musical Borrowing from Plato to Hip-Hop.,[1] both in collaboration with the Center for the Study of the Public Domain at the Duke Law School. His scholarship covered topics such as intellectual property, racial equality, and immigration reform. His work was covered in memorial tributes in the law reviews where he had taught[2][3] and by other colleagues[4]

Education and law career[edit]

Aoki studied art at Wayne State University and Hunter College.[5] Changing fields to law he studied at Harvard Law School and the University of Wisconsin Law School.[5]

Aoki may have been responsible for coining the word "paracopyright"[6] in a 1997 letter of concern about the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty.

He wrote extensively about racial issues and immigration. In his personal life, Aoki's father was affected by the Japanese American internment: during World War II, his "father was interned at the Gila River camp in Arizona" during World War II.[7]


Aoki's art has been shown in retrospectives about Detroit and its artists such as the "Another Look at Detroit" exhibit shown in Chelsea, New York City[8][9][10] and the "Subverting Modernism: Cass Corridor Revisited 1966-1980"[11]

Wayne State University where he was a student holds some of his work,[12][13][14][15] which has been showcased in "Up from the streets: Detroit art from the Duffy warehouse collection"[16]

Prominent works[edit]

  • Seed Wars: Controversies And Cases On Plant Genetic Resources And Intellectual Property, by Keith Aoki. NC: Durham: Carolina Academic Press, 2008. 280pp. ISBN 9781594600500[17]
  • Race, Space, and Place
  • (In)visible Cities: Three Local Government Models and Immigration Regulation (co-authored, 2008)
  • Is Chan Still Missing? An Essay About the Film Snow Falling on Cedars and Representations of Asian Americans in U.S. Films (2001)


  1. ^ "Theft: A History of Music : Musical Borrowing from Plato to Hip Hop". Retrieved 2016-09-11.
  2. ^ UC Davis Law Review, Volume 45, Number 5, June 2012: Super Aoki - A tribute to Keith Aoki
  3. ^ Oregon Law Review, Volume 90, Number 5, 2012: Symposium (Un)Bound by Law: Keith Aoki Memorial Symposium
  4. ^ Hing, Bill Ong. "Superman Had Nothing on Keith Aoki." UCLA Asian Pac. Am. LJ 17 (2011): 148.
  5. ^ a b "UC Davis School of Law - Faculty & Administration - aoki - Keith Aoki". 2011-04-26. Retrieved 2016-09-11.
  6. ^ "paracopyright". Word Spy. Retrieved 2016-09-11.
  7. ^ In Spirit of Healing, Residents Remember Wartime Camps by Greg Bolt, The Register Guard (Eugene, OR). February 19, 2002.
  8. ^ "ART COLLECTION NEWSLETTER" (PDF). 2015. Retrieved 2016-09-11.
  9. ^ "Another Look at Detroit". Marlborough Chelsea. Retrieved 2016-09-11.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-01-13. Retrieved 2015-01-08.
  11. ^ "EMU's 'Subverting Modernism' exhibit offers fascinating look at Cass Corridor art". 2013-04-03. Retrieved 2016-09-11.
  12. ^ "Picture of the Week - University Art Collection - Wayne State University". Retrieved 2016-09-11.
  13. ^ "Picture of the Week - University Art Collection - Wayne State University". Retrieved 2016-09-11.
  14. ^ System, WCS Content Management. "Picture of the Week - University Art Collection - Wayne State University". Retrieved 2017-03-11.
  15. ^ "Time and Place : Art of Detroit's Cass Corridor from the Wayne State University Collection" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-09-11.
  16. ^ "Up from the streets: Detroit art from the Duffy warehouse collection" Elaine L. Jacob Gallery, Wayne State University, 2001, page 59
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-05-02. Retrieved 2011-05-04.


  • Loss of a Legend by David Pluviose, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, June 9, 2011.

External links[edit]