Dr. Robert "Bob" E. Spoo

Of Counsel
Tulsa, Oklahoma
D: 918.591.5260
F: 918.925.5260
Williams Center Tower II
Two West Second Street, Suite 700
Tulsa, OK 74103-3117
Robert E. Spoo

Dr. Robert E. Spoo provides copyright and intellectual property advice and litigation assistance to universities, libraries, writers, scholars, sports media, record companies, filmmakers and software companies. He has advised Vietnam's Ministry of Education and Training regarding the development and protection of intellectual property within the country's university system.

Bob is Professor and Chapman Distinguished Chair at the University of Tulsa College of Law, where he teaches Copyright and Intellectual Property Law, Contracts, and Decedents' Estates and Trusts. Previously, he served as law clerk to the Honorable Sonia Sotomayor, then on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and worked as an attorney with law firms in New York and San Francisco.

Prior to entering the legal profession, Bob was a tenured member of the English Department at the University of Tulsa and served for ten years as Editor of the James Joyce Quarterly. He has authored or edited numerous books and articles on modern fiction and poetry, and regularly publishes and speaks on copyright law and other legal subjects.

Representative Experience

  • Represented a Stanford University English professor in her lawsuit against the James Joyce Estate concerning issues of fair use and copyright misuse.  Our client obtained a very favorable settlement; payment of her attorney’s fees was ordered against the Joyce Estate.
  • Advised major Irish cultural institutions regarding their copyright needs.
  • Advised a major British broadcasting company on copyright issues relating to its planned broadcast of James Joyce’s Ulysses.
  • Represented a noted New York poet in his negotiations to donate his literary papers to an American university.
  • Advised a British-based record company in its efforts to put out a CD based on potentially copyrighted poems of a major twentieth-century author.
  • Advised a Canadian website on copyright issues affecting its plans to make use of well-known literary works from the early twentieth century.
  • Assisted an Oklahoma-based entrepreneur with plans to produce a ballet based on Native American stories and traditions.
  • Represented a Virginia-based documentary filmmaking company in its efforts to produce and distribute award-winning films.

Selected Writings on Copyright Law and Other Legal Subjects

  • Contributing Author.  Bruce P. Keller et al., Copyright Law: A Practitioner’s Guide (New York: Practising Law Institute, 2009-2013).
  • Without Copyrights: Piracy, Publishing, and the Public Domain (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013).  [335 pages + index + 15 illustrations.]
  • Copyright and Joyce.  Litigating the Word: James Joyce in the Courts (Dublin, Ireland: James Joyce Centre, 2008).  [26 pages + illustrations.]
  • Three Myths for Aging Copyrights: Tithonus, Dorian Gray, Ulysses.  CARDOZO ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT LAW JOURNAL, Vol. 31 (2012) (special issue on literary estates): 77-112.
  • Ezra Pound's Copyright Statute; Perpetual Rights and the Problems of Heirs.  UCLA LAW REVIEW, Vol. 56 (2009): 1775-1834.
  • Ulysses, Bloomsday, and Copyright, in Yes I Said I Will Yes (New York: Vintage Books, 2004).
  • Copyright Protectionism and Its Discontents: The Case of James Joyce's Ulysses in America. YALE LAW JOURNAL, Vol. 108 (1998): 633-67.  [Cited in Nimmer on Copyright]
  • Fair Use of Unpublished Works: Scholarly Research and Copyright Case Law Since 1992.  TULSA LAW JOURNAL, Vol. 34 (1998): 183-200.
  • Current Copyright Law and Fair Use, JOURNAL OF SCHOLARLY PUBLISHING, Vol. 33 (2002): 125-41.
  • Copyright Law and Archival Research, JOURNAL OF MODERN LITERATURE, Vol. 24 (Winter 2000/2001): 205-12.

Professional, Community and Pro Bono Involvement

Honors and Awards

  • Lucia R. Briggs Distinguished Achievement Award - Lawrence University, 2008
  • Listed in Best Lawyers for Litigation- Intellectual Property and Copyright Law, 2010-2017
  • Listed in Super Lawyers, Rising Stars, 2010
  • Outstanding College of Law Professor for First-Year and Upper-Class Courses, University of Tulsa, 2010
  • Outstanding University Teacher, University of Tulsa, 2011

Professional Associations and Memberships:

  • International James Joyce Foundation, Legal Counsel
  • Twentieth Century Literature, Copyrights Editor
  • Journal of Modern Literature, Copyrights Editor
  • James Joyce Quarterly, Copyrights Editor
  • Modernist Journals Project, External Advisor
  • Board of Directors, National Library of Ireland (Dublin, Ireland, 2010-Present)


  • J.D., Yale Law School, Michael Egger Prize, The Yale Law Journal, Executive Editor, 2000
  • Ph.D., English, Princeton University, 1986
  • M.A., English, Princeton University, Whiting Fellowship in the Humanities, 1984
  • B.A., magna cum laude, English, Lawrence University, Phi Beta Kappa, 1979

Bar & Court Admissions

  • Oklahoma, 2003
  • New York, 2001
  • California, 2007
  • United States Court of Appeals Ninth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals Tenth Circuit
  • United States District Court Northern District of California
  • United States District Court Eastern District of New York
  • United States District Court Southern District of New York
  • United States District Court Northern District of Oklahoma
  • United States District Court Western District of Oklahoma

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