Faculty Profile


Prof. Lawrence Liang



  • Ph.D, JNU, Film Studies Dept. School of Arts and Aesthetics
  • PG Diploma in Cultural Theory, Centre for study of Culture and Society, Bangalore
  • LLM in Law and Development, University of Warwick, UK.
  • B.A., LLB. (Hons.) National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore


Past Experience

Yale University, 2016-2017

Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore 2000-2015

One of the Co-Founders of Alternative Law Forum, Prof. Liang worked at ALF for fifteen years from 2000-15. ALF is a non profit collective that works on various aspects of law, legality and power. Prof. Liang is also the cofounder of two open access video archives in India, Public Access Digital Media Archive (Pad.ma) and Indiancine.ma. He was also one of the founders of the Center for internet and society and a distinguished fellow at the center.

Liang has published extensively in journals and books and regularly contributes on key debates to leading newspapers and magazines. He has have also taught in many of the leading law schools as well as departments of film studies and media studies in India and elsewhere.

My Zone / Area of Expertise

Areas of Research Interest: Law and Public Culture, Intellectual Property, Free Speech, Law and literature, Law, Media and Technology, Visual cultures of law and Justice, Comparative Legal theory

Prof. Liang was the lead researcher and managed numerous research projects for fifteen years and has collaborated with leading institutions globally and nationally including Sarai:CSDS, Columbia University, UNDP, Social Science Research Council, etc. He was on the board of iCommons (Creative Commons International)


  • Infosys Prize 2017 under Social Sciences category.
  • Rice Visiting Faculty Fellow, Yale University
  • Hughes Visiting Scholar, Michigan University
  • New India Foundation Awardee
  • Fulbright Scholar, Columbia University
  • Best Outgoing Student, Warwick Law School
  • British Chevening Scholar



  • Cinematic Justice: The Law in/and of Films in India, (Forthcoming)
  • Invisible Libraries co-authored with Danish Sheikh and Monica James: Speculative fiction on libraries and the future of reading (Yoda 2016)
  • 2007 The Public is Watching: Sex, Laws and Videotape, (New Delhi: PSBT, 2007)
  • 2005 Co-Editor, Sarai Reader 05: Bare Acts (New Delhi: Sarai/CSDS, 2005)



2007 Primer on Open Content, UNDP : IOSN, (Elsevier: 2007)

2004 Guide to Open Content Licenses (Piet Zwart Institute: Rotterdam)


Articles in Journals and Books

  • 2022
    • “From Unattainable to Distantly Watched Films: Film Archives and their Digital Futures” in Neepa Majumdar & Ranjani Mazumdar Eds., A Companion to Indian Cinema, Wiley Backwell, 2022
    • The Affective Surplus of Judicial Populism: Law, Media and Mimicry in Ravi Vasudevan, Ed., Media and the Constitution of the Political, Sage, New Delhi, 2022
    • “From Cinema to the moving image and back” in Rashmi Devi Ed., Tha Vanishing PPoint, Moving Images after Video, Tulika, 2022
  • 2021
    • Piracy, BioScope Volume 12 Issue 1-2, June & December 2021
  • 2020
    • Book review: Malvika Maheshwari, Art Attacks: Violence and Offense-taking in India. Studies in Indian Politics. https://doi.org/10.1177/2321023020918070
    • The Post-Truth Effect on Criminal Justice in Newsletter, Institute of postcolonial Studies, 2020
    • Shadow Courts for Shadow Libraries in Madhusree Dutta and Nanna Heidenreich, Eds., Fake Hybrid Sites Palimpsest: Essays on Leakages, De Druyter, 2020


  • 2016
    • The Dominant, the residual and the emergent in Archival imagination, Spheres, Vol. 2, Ecologies of Change
  • 2015
    • Freedom of speech and expression in India, Oxford Handbook of Constitutional Law in India, 2015
    • Sharing Instinct: An annotation of the social contract through shadow libraries, E-flux, 56th Venice Biennale Special Issue, July 2015
  • 2014
    • Bullies in Armani Suits: Himal Quarterly Journal 2014
    • Ultranationalism: A proposal for a quiet withdrawal, E-flux, Volume 56, June 2014
    • Beyond Representation: The figure of the pirate in Lars Eckstein, Ed. Postcolonial Piracy, 2014
  • 2013
    • Following Fans: The Curious case of the man from Japan, Artconnect, IFA Quarterly Journal, September 2013
    • The Woman who pretended to be who she was (online), Himal Quarterly Journal, 2013
    • Terrorism, Media Trials and the right to Fair Trial, in Media and Terrorism, Students Islamic Organization, 2013
    • Sensuous Encounters: Law, Affect and the Media Event, in Ravi Sundaram (Ed.), No Limits: Media Studies form India, OUP, 2013
  • 2011
    • Is it a bird? A plane? No, it’s a magic chair, E-flux, Issue 27, 2011
    • Media’s Law: From Representation to Affect, in Ravi Sundaram, Ed., After Media
    • Songlines for our times, Preview, Sternberg Press, 2010
  • 2010
    • Media’s Law: From Representation to Affect, BioScope 2(1) 23–40
    • Exceptions and Limitations in Indian Copyright Law for Education: An Assessment, The Law and Development Review, Volume 3, Issue 2 2010 Article 7 SPECIAL ISSUE (2010):
    • Striving for Magic in the city of Words: Law and the Pursuit of Happiness in the Naz Judgment, in Gautam Bhan, Arvind Narrain et al (Eds.), Law like Love, Yoda, New Delhi, 2010
    • The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Book in Gaëlle Krikorian and Amy Kapczynski (Ed.s), Access to knowledge in the age of intellectual property, Zone Books, NY, 2010
    • Beyond Representation: The Figure of the PirateGaëlle Krikorian and Amy Kapczynski (Ed.s), Access to knowledge in the age of intellectual property, Zone Books, NY, 2010


  • 2009
    • Piracy, Temporality and the Question of Asia, Indian Journal of Intellectual Property Law Vol. 3 (2009)
    • Piracy, Temporality and the Question of Asia, Journal of the Moving Image Vol. 7 (2009)
    • Pandora’s Index of Curiosity and Punishment, in Kajsa Dahlberg, Jane Jin Kaisen, Sreshta Rit Premnath Eds., Shifter Vol. 12.
  • 2008
    • Mixing Memory and Desire, in Rana Dasgupta Ed., The Rest of Now: The Manifesta Catalogue,
    • Pirate Aesthetics (Japanese Translation), in Dominic Chen, Network Cultures in Asia
    • Copyright and Documentary Film in India in Peter Jaszi (Ed.), Copyright and Documentary Film in the Commonwealth (2008)
    • Voice and Vocabulary, in Manuela Zechner (Ed.), Vocabulaboratories (2008)
    • A Brief history of the Internet in the 15th Century, in Nalini Rajan, The Digitzed Imagination, (New Delhi: Routledge)
    • Beyond Representation: The Dilemma of the Pirate for Intellectual Property in Peter Jaszi and Martha Woodmansee, (Con)texts of Invention, University of Chicago Press, 2008
    • And nothing but the Truth so help me science, Sarai Reader 08: Frontiers, New Delhi, 2008
  • 2007
    • The Man who mistook his wife for a Book: Property and personhood in the Knowledge Era, in Correen Kumar, Ed., Asking, we walk, (Streelekha: Bangalore, 2007)
  • 2006
    • Shoot, Share and Create, in Rajiv Mehrotra, Ed., Reframing: The World of Indian Documentary Films, (New Delhi: PSBT, 2006)
  • 2005
    • Copyright and the Politics of Cultural production, Indian Journal of Law and technology, Vol.1, Issue 1, 2005
    • Porous legalities and avenues of participation, Sarai Reader 05: Bare Acts, 2005
    • Cinematic citizenship and the Illegal city, Inter Asia Cultural Studies, Vol.6, 1 (2005)


  • 2004
    • Reasonable restrictions and Unreasonable Speech, Sarai Reader 04 : Crisis Media (New Delhi: Sarai/CSDS, 2004)
    • Copyright, Cultural production and Open Content Licensing, published by Piet Zwart Institute, http://pzwart.wdka.hro.nl/mdr/pubsfolder/liangessay/view
    • The Ghost in the machine: Legal Capture of Technology, Sarai Reader 03: Shaping technology, (New Delhi: Sarai/CSDS, 2003)
  • 2003
    • Conceptualizing law and culture: Copyright, Rajnikant and the politics of contemporary signage, Seminar Issue No. 525, Unsettling Cinema, May 2003
    • Mapping the global commons upon the National and Local: Media Development Vol. 1(2003)
    • Lawyering in India, LGD 2001 (2)
  • 2002
    • Whose convergence is it anyway? A critical introduction to the Convergence Bill, 1 Combat L.J (2002).
    • Criminal Law seen through bi-foucaults: A postmodern critique of the criminal justice system, 7 Stud. Advocate, 1996.
    • Tata Yellow Pages v. Union of India: A review, 7 Student Advocate, 1996.
    • P.Rathinam v. Union of India: The right to die under the constitution, 6 Stud. Advocate, 1995.

Articles in Newspapers and Magazines (Representative Sample List)

  • Ultra-nationalists make light of patriotism, Asian Age, Feb 2016
  • Plan B for free speech, Indian express, Febuary 16th 2016
  • Sedition and the status of subversive speech in India, The Wire 14th febuary 2016
  • Vocabulary of justice and being, The Hindu
  • What do we talk about when we talk about pornography? The Wire, 4th August 2015
  • Free Speech Ver. 2.0 The Hindu March 25th 2015
  • Cultural Ignorance and Prejudice, The Hindu, February 4th 2014
  • 100 years of film censorship, Frontline , September 2013
  • The Erotics of Law, Scandal and Technology, Caravan February 2013
  • A guide to infantalising and trivialising the public sphere, January 30th 2013
  • A Ludicrous Ban, Open Magazine, June 2nd 2012
  • Strangers in a place they call home, The Hindu, August 18th 2012
  • Work of art in the age of mechanical injunctions, The Hindu, May 23rd 2012
  • Chilling effects and frozen words, The Hindu, April 30th 2012
  • Mickey mouse Gandhi and copyright, Prajavani 15th August June 2012
  • The pros and cons of the Copyright Act, Prajavani 9th June 2012
  • Indian express op ed
  • Indian Express Article on Pirate Aesthetics
  • Pirate Aesthetics (in Malayalam), Matrbhoomi
  • Copyright v. The right to Copy, Indian Express
  • Pirate Aesthetics, Magazine of the Streishcer Herbts Festival 2006
  • How Rambo lost to the Green Papaya, Tehelka, October 7th 2006
  • The Black, White and grey of Copyright, World Information City Newspaper, November 2005
  • Bangalored: The Politics of the world information city, Indian Express, November 20th, 2005
  • Media Empires and Renegade Pirates, Humanscape, August 2004
  • Encountering the sustaining myths of Copyright (Co authored with Atrayee Mazumdar and Mayur Suresh), Infochangeindia.org
  • Regulating Cyber- A space or a technology, 1 Voices (2002) 32.
  • We are watching you.com: An introduction to privacy issues in cyberspace,2 Voices (2001) 14.
  • Introduction to Copyright, www.infochangeindia.org
  • A Case Against the death penalty, Deccan Herald, 6th November, 1994.

Seminar / Conferences

Sample List


  • Keynote Speaker, "Dancing on a double-edged sword: The paradoxes and challenges of free speech in a post-truth world", National Seminar on Free Speech, PG Department of Law, Guwahati University.
  • Speaker, The Reliability of News: Making Sense of the World in a Post-Truth Era, Bangalore International Center


  • The Pirate Librarian A Fighting Concept or a Friendly One?, Online Talk for Hua Museum, Shanghai, December 2020


  • Viral Populism, University of Illinois Urbana Champagne
  • Global Significance of the D.U, Critical Race and Intellectual Property Conference, Boston
  • Affect and tele viral Politics, Affect Summer School, Shiv Nadar University


  • Of bright lights and shadows: Labour, Law and Cinema in India, Jayanta Dasupta Memorial lecture, Kolkatta
  • Of Gadflies and sovereign power: Dissent and the quest for Justice, 5th Maharaj Kaul Memorial Lecture, Univ. of California, Berkeley
  • Law and the temporal ordering of justice,  10th KC Basu Memorial lecture, NUJS.
  • Between Free Speech and Hate Speech, Dangerous Speech Conference, Thailand, March



  • Copyright, Copyleft and Copy Centers: Access to Knowledge and the Science Commons,   NCBS, Bangalore, July 2013
  • Technology and the political ontology of fear, ICES Ethical Futures Conference, Colombo, June 2013
  • PUCL lecture series on Free Speech and Democracy, Bangalore, January 2013
  • The right to Offend, A conversation with Timothy Garton Ash, New Delhi, January 2013
  • Encyclopedias and the making of Indian film history, JNU Conference on 100 years of Indian cinema, New Delhi




  • Mirrors, Screes and Windows: Interface cultures and Fear, Lingnan University, October 2012
  • The work of culture in the age of Digital reproduction, SAHMAT and IIC Golden Jubilee Conference, New Delhi, September 2013
  • Recycling Cultures and Media Urbanism, Informal Economies, Shanghai University, October                 



  • A heap of broken Images: From cinema to the moving image and back, “You don’t belong: festival of Indian cinema”, Beijing
  • The work of love in the age of mechanical reproduction, Shanghai University
  • Copies without originals: Copy culture and Cinema, Hanzhou School of Art and Architecture
  • Law and Justice in the Republic of Love: B.N.Pandey Memorial lecture, University of Toronto
  • Piracy and the new Cinephilia, Annenberg School of Communication, Univ. of Pennsylvania



  • Delivered the Franz Boas Seminar lecture at Columbia University on Media’s Law: From Representation to Affecz
  • Law, Visuality and scepticism, Recht As Kultur, Bonn
  • Awara’s Constitutional Amendment, Recht As Kultur, Bonn
  • Awara’s Constitutional Amendment (Also presented the paper at the history departments at Yale, and Princeton Univ)
  • Owning and Owing: Towards a new ethics of Property, Univ of Sao Paulo



  • Rewiring the Soul: Technologies of Truth, Lecture as part of “On Certainty” Show, Bose-Pacia Gallery, New York, 10th April 2009
  • Love and The Impossible Demands of Justice in Hindi Film, 16 Beaver, New York, 9th April 2009
  • Juridical Affect: Cinematic Courtrooms in Indian Cinema, Invited Speaker, Association of South Asian Studies, Stanford University, 7th April 2009
  • Archive Fever and Copyright Deliriums, “Digital Economies and the Politics of Circulation”, Columbia University, New York April 3rd – 4th, 2009.
  • Towards a new Poetics of Justice; An Examination of the Courts of Women, “Review of 20 Years of the Courts of Women”, Vimochana, Bangalore 29th March 2009
  • Their Lordships go tot eh Cinema: The Curios Case of Watching Films Blindfolded, “Circuits of the Popular”, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, March 15thto 17th,  2009
  • Law and Fear, Plenary Response to Profs. Jean Comaroff and Prof. Veena Das, Law and Social Sciences Inaugural Conference, January 2009



  • Courts of Women, Colombo, Sri Lanka
  • Constitutions of Hope in an Era of Global Capital, Transformative Constitutionalisms, New Delhi, May 2008
  • The Dominant, The Emergent and the Residual in the Imagination of the Archive, XXXth SARO Lecture delivered at IDRC, New Delhi
  • How does an Asian Commons mean? Taipei, January 2008



  • Humiliation as the Bloodsport of Legal Education, Pedagogic Failures, Amsterdam,  October 2007
  • Ekalavya’s Secret Archive: Piracy and Democratization of Knowledge in South Asia, I Commons Summit, Dubrovnik, June 2007
  • Hospitality and Epistemic Racisms, Summit, Non-aligned initiatives in Education Culture, Berlin, June 2007
  • The Man who mistook his wife for a Book, Academia Sinica, Taipei, October 2007
  • WIKIMANIA           



  • Hostis Humani Generis, The Dictionary of War, Graz, October 2006
  • Piracy and the Question of Asia, Asia Commons Conference, Bangkok, June 2006
  • Critical legal Studies and Critical Lawyering, Talk at Fordham Law School, NY, April 200
  • Piracy and Access to Knowledge, A2K Conference, Yale Law School, April 2006
  • Beyond Representation: The Representational Dilemmas of the Pirate, Annenberg School of Communication, University of Southern California, March 2006



  • Introduction to Open Content, Siem Reap, Cambodia, August 2005
  • IP and the new Knowledge/ Cultural production, Vienna, June 2005
  • Beyond Creative Commons and Open Content, Africa Commons, Johannesburg, February 2005



  • Plenary Speaker, “Your Lordships are watching a film: Law, Cinema and censorship”, Vikap, New Delhi, September 2004
  • Between hate Speech and performative Speech: Judith Butler and the politics of hate speech regulation, Vikap, New Delhi, September, 2004
  • Cinematic Citizenship and the Illegal City, Univ. Of Iowa, Seminar on Images of Justice: law, Cinema and the State in Comparative Perspective, June 2004
  • Open Networks and Illegal Networks, Mechanista festival, Glasgow, June 2004
  • Mapping the public domain debate on to non US European contexts, Univ. of Warwick, UK, May 2004.
  • Open Content Licensing and the future of Cultural production, PZI Institute, Rotterdam, May 2004
  • Illegal Media networks and the crisis of media empires, World Social Forum, Mumbai, January 2004



  • The Terrorist in Popular cinema, Conference on Media Politics, St. Joseph’s College, Bangalore, November 2003
  • Trademarks, Ad jamming and Freedom of speech and expression, Greenpeace workshop on The politics of Food, Bangalore, November 2003
  • The social life of the remix, INCD seminar on Cultural diversity, Mumbai, December 2003
  • Licenses as cultural Documents, IP and Social Knowledge, Sarai, New Delhi, November 2003
  • Porous legalities and avenues of participation, NYU Law school, October 2003
  • Porous legalities and avenues of participation, SSRC Conference on IP, the market ad cultural flows,  New York , October 2003
  • Competing Publics and Emerging Networks: PSBT Seminar, New Delhi, August 2003
  • FLOSS and challenges to intellectual property law, Waag Society, Amsterdam June, 2003
  • Conflicting publics and copyright law, Bellagio, Italy, March 2003
  • Copyright, patents and the dispute over fonts, Indic Computing Workshop, Bangalore, February 2003




  • The emergence of intellectual property in daily life and language, The daily life of IP Workshop, Sarai, New Delhi, December 2002
  • Mapping the global commons upon the national and local in India, IDPAD Seminar on ICT and development, Bangalore, December 2002, Bangalore.
  • Copyright with a capital C and Art with a capital A, at Ananya trust, Bangalore, October  2003
  • Mapping the Indian debate on secularism, Conference on Conflict and Cooperation in South Asia, Colombo, Sri Lanka, September 2003
  • Intellectual property and the shrinking of the public domain, Sarai Information and politics workshop, New Delhi March 2002.



  • Cyberspace and the discourse of regulation: of legal communities, virtual and real, CSCS, November 2001, Bangalore.
  • The fair use doctrine in book piracy, Copyright and book piracy seminar, Bangalore, June 2001
  • Internet and the transformation of legal practice, Consillience, Bangalore May 2001
  • Intellectual property and popular culture, UGC Seminar on Copyright and Economics, Mangalore, February 2001
  • Law and justice in Indian popular cinema, Human Rights and Law Conference, Panchgani. December 2001