Howard Abrams

Howard Abrams

Emeritus Professor of Law

Howard Abrams
Contact Info:
Campus: Riverfront Campus
Building: Dowling Hall
Howard Abrams
Areas of Expertise:
International Copyright
Entertainment Law
Intellectual Property


  • J.D. University of Chicago '66
  • B.A. University of Michigan '63


Professor Howard Abrams died on January 27, 2020.  Specializing in copyright and the related areas as entertainment and computer software, Professor Abrams was internationally recognized as an expert on copyright law.  He authored a two-volume treatise on United States Copyright Law, The Law of Copyright, published by Thomson Reuters and available on Westlaw in the CopyLaw database.  The treatise will continue to be updated annually by Professor Tyler Ochoa who joined as a co-author in 2015.  In addition, Professor Abrams authored or co-authored a number of significant scholarly articles which are listed in his Curriculum Vitae.

Among his other accomplishments, Professor Abrams twice served as a Trustee of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A., was the President of the Intellectual Property Law Institute, a Master of the Bench of the Michigan Intellectual Property Inn of Court, a member of the editorial boards of the American Journal of Comparative Law and the Journal of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A., a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, a trustee of the Detroit Music Foundation.  He received the John Hensl Award given annually by the State Bar of Michigan for contributions to law and the arts, and served as the American Reporter on authors’ rights for the XIIIth International Congress on Comparative Law (Montreal 1990) and as the General Reporter for the XIVth International Congress of Comparative Law (Athens-Delphi 1994).  He was a frequent speaker and presenter on the subject of copyright and related topics.

Recent Publications:

The Law of Copyright (1990-2017) (Thomson Reuters, 2 volumes, updated annually, Professor Tyler Ochoa of Santa Clara University School of Law added as a co-author in 2015)  The 2017 updates are scheduled to be published in October, 2017.

Eldred, Golan and their Aftermath, 60 J. Copyright Soc’y U.S.A. 491 (2013) (peer reviewed journal)

Copyright’s First Compulsory License, 26 Santa Clara Computer & High Tech. L.J. 215 (2010)

Copyright, Misappropriation and Preemption: Constitutional and Statutory Limits of State Law Protection 1983 Supreme Court Review 509 (Review edited by the faculty of the University of Chicago Law School)


Additional publications are listed in Professor Abrams’ Curriculum Vitae.


“Master Class” segment of Practising Law Institute Program Fundamentals of Copyright Law in the Data Era 2017 at both the Chicago and New York presentations. The New York presentation of this program is available as a streaming video from the Practising Law Institute.

Eldred, Golan and the Soul of Copyright, presented at the 2012 Intellectual Property Scholars Conference, Stanford Law School, August 8-10, 2012.

Panelist, CREATe Copyright History Event, presented by CREATe, the Research Council funded Copyright Centre at Glasgow University, Glasgow, Scotland (March 2015)

Speaker at the International Intellectual Property Association 2016 Summit Meeting, London, England. Topic: Copyright Protection in Entertainment Litigation.

Courses Taught:

Copyright (Law 3120)

Entertainment Law (emphasis on motion pictures) ((Law 3331)

Entertainment Law (emphasis on the music industry) (Law 3330)

Secured Transactions (Law 2500)

Seminar: Entertainment Law (Law 4120)

Seminar: International Copyright Law (Law 4661)