Edinburgh Research Explorer

Smita Kheria

Senior Lecturer

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Willingness to take PhD students: Yes

Smita welcomes proposals for postgraduate research in the area of copyright and related rights. She is also interested in projects that use empirical methodologies to study issues in Intellectual Property Law.


Smita is a Senior Lecturer in Intellectual Property Law  in Edinburgh Law School. She studied at the University of Buckingham (LLB (Hons)), the University of Cambridge (LLM), and at Queen's University Belfast (PhD). Before undertaking her doctoral studies, she also practised as an advocate in commercial and intellectual property law.

She combines legal expertise in copyright and related rights with socio-legal research on intellectual property law in the real world. She has been involved in several research projects that have examined how copyright intersects with the everyday lives and creative practices of digital artists, online creative communities, arts and humanities researchers, and professional creators and performers. She is also a co-author of the textbook Contemporary Intellectual Property: Law and Policy (3rd and 4th edns, OUP).

Smita is the Programme Director for the on-campus LLM in Intellectual Property Law. She teaches on a number of Intellectual Property law courses (including specialist masters courses on copyright and related rights and on the relationship between intellectual property law, innovation, and creativity) and also contributes to teaching outside Edinburgh Law School. She is Supervising editor (Intellectual Property) for SCRIPT-ed: A journal of Law, Technology & Society and Section Editor: Law & Legal Studies for the Open Library of Humanities. She is a member of the executive committee of the Socio-Legal Studies Association, and is also on the editorial advisory board of The IP Law Book Review.

Smita also promotes IP awareness through speaking to creative communities (e.g. young publishers, comic artists, Edinburgh Fringe performers), and is active in public engagement events (Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas shows in Edinburgh Festival Fringe)

Current Research Interests

Smita is interested in substantive law on copyright and related rights, in using empirical research to address questions pertaining to copyright law and policy, and, in exploring connections between Intellectual Property law and new forms of property and culture through the lens of creators and users.

Smita was lead Investigator on two Research Councils UK funded CREATe (RCUK Centre for Copyright and New Business Models in the Creative Economy) projects. The first project investigated the role of copyright in day to day creative practice and resulting business models of individual creators. Through the project, she actively engaged with a broad range of creators and performers and her research included over 130 semi-structured in-depth interviews with a range of creative practitioners (writers, comic-book artists, musicians, and visual artists), fieldwork at literary and art festivals and events, and secondary data from social media sources such as Facebook and Twitter. The second project explored the relationship between copyright policy and creators' organisations. It involved a socio-legal study of creators’ organisations (Musicians’ Union, the Performing Right Society, the Society of Authors, and the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society) as participants and shapers of copyright policy.

She was co-Investigator on an AHRC project which offered a new evaluation of the copyright challenges faced by arts and humanities researchers, in their everyday practice of developing and making available publicly funded research content. Based on in-depth case studies of six different AHRC-funded projects, the research highlighted: both pertinent and lesser known challenges faced by researchers, such as in negotiating access to and the use of out-of-copyright materials in archives; and the benefits that could be derived from the acknowledgement of authorship and collaborative research itself.

Research Groups

Smita is co-director (IP) of SCRIPT Centre for IT and IP law at Edinburgh Law School. Smita is also a member of CREATe (Centre for Creativity, Regulation, Enterprise & Technology), the RCUK Centre for Copyright and New Business Models in the Creative Economy. She was a co-convener of the Empirical Legal Research Network (2013-15). She is also a member of Creative Interdisciplinary Research in Collaborative Environments (CIRCLE).

Collaborative Activity

In 2012, she collaborated with Dr Penny Travlou from the Edinburgh College of Art and was Co-Investigator on the project "Creation and Publication of the Digital Manual" (six-month pilot study, funded by the AHRC under its Digital Transformations in Arts and Humanities Theme). More details can be found on the project's weblog.

During 2014, she collaborated with Professor Charlotte Waelde (then at the University of Exeter) and was Co-Investigator on a study commissioned by the AHRC to evaluate the copyright challenges faced by arts and humanities researchers.


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