Joshua Fairfield
Joshua Fairfield


Joshua Fairfield joined the Indiana Law faculty in the fall of 2005, bringing a spirited pedagogy and a strong interest in the intersection of computing technologies and law to his courses in commercial law. Before earning his JD magna cum laude from the University of Chicago in 2001, he directed the development of the award winning Rosetta Stone Language Library, a leading language teaching software program for educational institutions. After law school, Professor Fairfield clerked for Judge Danny J. Boggs at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He then joined Jones Day in Columbus, Ohio, where he litigated cases in commercial law and software/technology law. Before going to Indiana, Professor Fairfield taught comparative law to LLM students at Columbia Law School.

Professor Fairfield's scholarship is focused in the areas of commercial law, comparative commercial law, property law, and computer law. His publications include "Virtual Property," Boston University Law Review (2005); "Cracks in the Foundation: The CAN-SPAM Act's Hidden Threat to Privacy and Commerce," Arizona State Law Journal (2004); "To Err Is Human: The Judicial Conundrum of Curing Apprendi Error," Baylor Law Review (2003); and "ERISA Preemption and the Case for a Federal Common Law of Agency Governing Employer-Administrators," Comment, University of Chicago Law Review (2001).


Economies of Meaning: Property, Value, Exchange

The continuing expansion of virtual worlds in size coupled with their rapidly increasing connections with other domains of their users' lives together raise new questions about the bedrock concepts that have heretofore informed their study. In these domains, we see the rise of both institutionally-sponsored and grassroots learning, the increasing use of in-world achievements as resumé-building credentials, and the advent of higher stakes social networking. To a certain extent, these may be consequences of these worlds' persistence. Human activity in these worlds creates durable effects beyond the market itself. But how are we to understand them? This panel inquires into the limits and possibilities of core ideas in the field, such as value, property, and exchange, and considers how they may be developed to engage the present state of digital life. Is there more to be mined from the intellectual roots of these terms? How may interdisciplinary readings of them furnish productive new directions?

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