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Capstone Lecture: Peter Nicolas, Harmonizing Music & Law 

Wednesday, May 24, 2023 - 7:00pm
Peter Nicolas
Peter Nicolas (Photo: Courtesy UW School of Law)
In his capstone lecture presented in fulfillment of the degree requirements for the B.A. in Music, Peter Nicolas, William L. Dwyer Endowed Chair in Law and Adjunct Professor of Music, presents Harmonizing Music & Law, a discussion of his interdisciplinary research and teaching between the fields of music and intellectual property law, with a particular focus on music copyright disputes.

In this lecture, Nicolas identifies the various ways in which an understanding of music theory and music history can contribute to well-reasoned intellectual property law policies and a sound resolution of intellectual property disputes involving music.

A reception in the School of Music FIshbowl follows the lecture.



Peter Nicolas

Peter Nicolas, a faculty member in the School of Law, is adjunct professor of Music History at the University of Washington, teaching a popular Music Law and Policy course cross listed within the School of Law and School of Music.

Professor Nicolas joined the UW law school faculty in 2000 following a clerkship with Judge Michael Boudin on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard, where he served on the editorial board of the Harvard Law Review. His teaching and research interests include evidence, constitutional law, music law, sexual orientation and gender identity law, federal courts, international civil litigation, and conflict of laws.

Professor Nicolas is a nationally recognized expert in the fields of evidence, constitutional law, federal courts, and sexual orientation law. He is the author of three national textbooks on the topics of evidence; constitutional law; and sexual orientation, gender identity, and the law. His textbooks have been adopted for classroom use at law schools throughout the United States.

Professor Nicolas's scholarship has been cited by countless scholars and dozens of federal and state courts, including the United States Supreme Court. He has served as a consultant on cases nationwide involving the rights of same-sex couples, and he has been invited to give lectures to attorneys and judges on the nuances of evidence and constitutional law.

Professor Nicolas's current teaching and scholarship also focuses on the intersection of copyright law and music theory. Professor Nicolas teaches a course on music law and policy and his current scholarship focuses on the intersection of the two fields. Professor Nicolas has studied music at Shoreline Community College and the University of Washington, with a focus on music theory; music history; composition; piano; and popular and classical voice.

From 2008 - 2010, Professor Nicolas served as Associate Dean of the UW law school. His responsibilities in that capacity included faculty career development; curriculum delivery (including course scheduling and teaching assignments); appointing faculty committees and serving as a liaison to the academic standards, admissions, and curriculum committees; supervising the Director of Academic Services and the Director of Academic Advising; honor code enforcement; and working closely with the Dean and other members of the law school's leadership on all aspects of institutional development and planning.

Prior to pursuing a career in the law, Professor Nicolas was a Research Economist at the University of Michigan and served for two, two-year terms as a member of the Ann Arbor, Michigan, City Council. He is a member of the bars of New York, U.S. District Court of Colorado, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

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