ATLANTA — Experts from inside and outside Georgia State University gathered for “Protect Your Ideas: IP, AI and Entertainment,” a first-of-its-kind forum that gave students, faculty and staff a chance to share and learn about intellectual property and artificial intelligence with an eye toward entertainment. The Oct. 10 event was jointly sponsored by the university’s Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, the College of Law and Popular Culture Collective.
“Atlanta is a national hub for creativity, commerce and research, so it makes sense that we at Georgia State strive to educate people about intellectual property,” said university President M. Brian Blake, who gave opening remarks at the event. “Understanding how to protect your ideas is critical, regardless of your field.”
Vice President for Research and Economic Development Tim Denning and dean of the College of Law LaVonda N. Reed were also on hand to share comments.
“Intellectual property goes well beyond the lab or classroom, and we wanted to connect with others across campus who can broaden the collective understanding,” Denning said.
Added Reed: “With swift advances in technology, it is exciting for our students to engage with the profession and to consider the multitude of intellectual property legal issues they might encounter as practicing attorneys.”
After remarks by leadership, Kenny Franklin, senior licensing associate with Georgia State’s Office of Technology Transfer & Commercialization, hosted a fireside chat with College of Law alum Scott Frank, president and CEO of AT&T Intellectual Property LLC and chair of the Georgia Intellectual Property Alliance. The dialogue helped define intellectual property and reflected on its meaning in today’s knowledge economy.
“I tell people that intellectual property is like oxygen. It’s all around us and we don’t see it, but we wouldn’t survive without it,” Frank said.
Frank and the Georgia Intellectual Property Alliance both have close ties to Georgia State, as the idea for an organization dedicated to IP was kindled more than 20 years ago when Frank met with GSU leadership and other alumni. The nonprofit, as it exists today, was formed in 2018 to drive change by creating a model IP ecosystem in the state of Georgia, and it has since expanded to partnerships nationwide.
In addition to the fireside chat, the event featured two panels showcasing expertise and observations on IP in a diverse range of subjects from research to law to entertainment.
In the first panel, experts talked about intellectual property and why it matters in the academic and research space. Panelists included Frank as well as Al Thrash, professor of practice at Georgia State and creator of Georgia State’s music hub, MTM Standard; Candace Kemp, professor in the Gerontology Institute at Georgia State; and Sarah Wilkening, a graduate of the College of Law and patent attorney at Merchant & Gould P.C.
“It’s easy to think of IP and research in the context of patents,” Kemp said. “But as social science researchers, we have to ensure the programs we’re developing from our work with dementia care partners are protected.”
The second panel was hosted by Georgia State Professor of Practice, Director of the Center for Entertainment, Sports and IP Law and Director of the Popular Culture Collective Mo Ivory. It focused on the role of intellectual property in entertainment, including arts, sports, film and music. Participants in this panel included Elizabeth Strickler, founding director of the Creative Industries Blockchain Lab and director of media entrepreneurship for Georgia State’s Creative Media Industries Institute; Bernie Lawrence-Watkins, entertainment lawyer and principal at B. Lawrence Watkins & Associates P.C.; Pete Scott, chief strategy advisor for sports-focused enterprise Play Anywhere; and a special appearance from Grammy-nominated producer Hitkidd.
“It’s a bit of the wild west out there,” Ivory said of the world of IP in entertainment. “We are going to have to work harder than ever to understand and navigate this space.”
The topic of AI in content creation, video production and music was also covered, and spurred conversation as well as questions from the audience.
“AI is here to stay,” said Strickler, addressing questions about its role in writing, video and the creative industries. “I urge you to embrace it, learn all that you can, and determine its implications for yourself. Don’t shy away.”
For more information about intellectual property at Georgia State, visit the Office of Technology Transfer & Commercialization’s website at research.gsu.edu/georgia-state-technology-transfer/.
For more information about Georgia State research and its impact, visit research.gsu.edu.