Kenneth D. Crews


Kenneth D. Crews is an attorney, author, professor, and international copyright consultant.  At the center of his work for Gipson Hoffman & Pancione clients is finding creative solutions to diverse copyright and intellectual property challenges.  He has negotiated and developed strategic approaches to the contentious nuances of copyright ownership and acquisitions, work made for hire, fair use, termination of transfers, and licensing rights.  His legal work is primarily transactional, but Kenneth also provides specialized support for litigation and has been an expert witness in a wide range of copyright cases, involving fair use, university policies, software ownership, transfer terms, artworks, and fabric design on bikini swimsuits.

Examples of his specialized and diverse intellectual property work include:

  • Counseling and guiding leading research universities and other nonprofits as they develop innovative digital platforms for teaching, research, publishing, and library services.
  • Policymaking and original drafting for nonprofits and businesses with respect to creating, managing, and licensing of copyrights, patents, trademarks, databases, publicity rights, and more.
  • Reworking the full set of publication agreements for a prominent publisher of books, journals, recordings, web content, and more.
  • Supporting authors, publishers, broadcasters, and filmmakers as they prepare works for public release, clearing copyrights, and negotiating confidential agreements for acquisition of rights and properties.
  • Facilitating corporate acquisitions, from modest to monumental values, by investigating and inventorying all forms of intellectual property included in the transactions and negotiating the terms of the agreements.

Kenneth served nearly twenty-five years on the law faculties of leading universities, including Indiana and Columbia Universities.  He has been an invited speaker in forty-five states and on six continents and has consulted with national governments on copyright reform in all parts of the world.  The World Intellectual Property Organization (a U.N. agency) commissioned him to analyze copyright exceptions from all 192 member countries, and that study is informing current discussions in Geneva regarding possible treaty development.

Known to many of his friends and clients as Kenny Crews, he received the Mark T. Banner Award from the American Bar Association, Section of Intellectual Property Law, and he was the first recipient of the L. Ray Patterson Copyright Award from the American Library Association.  He is the author of multiple books and is listed in Who’s Who in America.  He enjoys art, architecture, movies, hiking, biking, and early rock and roll.  


Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles
     Distinguished Scholar Award, UCLA Alumni Association
J.D., Washington University in St. Louis
    Editor and Senior Editor, Washington University Law Quarterly
B.A., Northwestern University

Bar & Professional Memberships

The State Bar of California
     Member & Chair, the Committee on the History of Law in California, 1983-1986.
American Library Association
     Recipient, L. Ray Patterson Copyright Award, 1995.

Practice Areas

Business Transactions
Entertainment & Finance
Intellectual Property

The attorneys of Gipson Hoffman & Pancione have engaged in a wide range of critical legal matters in service to their clients.  The following are representative of the work and accomplishments of attorney Kenneth D. Crews:

  • Served as the expert witness for the university parties in a major copyright infringement case arising at Georgia State University regarding fair use and electronic reserves for teaching; testified at length during the trial, and the court rulings were highly favorable to our client.
  • Provided expert testimony in depositions and reports in cases involving ownership of computer software, copyrightability of fashion design, and protection for commercial artworks.
  • Negotiated numerous agreements for the sale and acquisition of businesses where diverse forms of intellectual property need to be identified, assessed, and properly secured or conveyed.
  • Resolved through negotiations conflicts involving transfers of motion picture rights and implications under U.S. law and the law of various foreign countries.
  • Negotiated and drafted numerous agreements for the licensing of rights and the production of hardware and software products that include patents, copyrights, trademarks, and other forms of intellectual property.
  • Advised clients on complex cases involving termination of transfers of copyrights under U.S. law, including analyzing implications under foreign law and strategies to anticipate and prepare for possible litigation.
  • Retained by a major research university to address copyright matters in policy, acquisition agreements, faculty conflicts, and deployment of new technologies for online education.
  • Represented a leading national publisher of diverse scholarly and popular works as the publisher reworked all of its author agreements and implemented innovations in digital publishing, open access resources, and the use of Creative Commons licensing.
  • Engaged in protracted and confidential negotiations for a leading university press to complete a sensitive acquisition of book rights that were caught in a tangle of complications before going to press.
  • Represented one of the largest private funders of academic research as it reworked agreements with award recipients, addressing complex questions of intellectual property and public accessibility of grant-supported research projects.
  • Worked closely with a law professor preparing an innovative textbook and ancillary materials through the process of publication, clearing rights, negotiating agreements, and coordinating the project with his university.
  • Established the first dedicated copyright policy office at any university, based at Indiana University; served as Associate Dean for the Faculties for Copyright Management (academic affairs office); established a similar copyright policy office at Columbia University; and served on the faculty of Columbia Law School.
  • As a university professor and administrator, worked with all departments and schools, and with diverse administrative and research units, such as:   University libraries, university presses, technology transfer, information technology, grants and foundations, research compliance, human subjects, and many others.
Attorney Kenneth D. Crews was invited by Harvard University to write the lead-off blogpost marking the beginning of the annual Fair Use Week.
New and Dedicated Court for Copyright Claims. Tucked into the appropriations and COVID-relief bill passed by Congress in the final days of 2020 is a major amendment to the U.S. Copyright Act. It lays the foundation for a streamlined “small-claims court” to hear and decide legal claims of copyright infringements. It is a mixed blessing for all parties, with numerous complications.
Attorney Kenneth Crews will be the keynote speaker at a major conference on copyright law and fair use, hosted by Harvard University in Cambridge, MA on March 1, 2018.  This year marks the 40th anniversary of the effective date of the
Attorney Kenneth Crews presented his study of copyright issues to the delegates from more than 120 countries attending a session of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), an agency of the United Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland.  His study analyzes statutory copyright exceptions from all 191 coun
Attorney Kenneth D. Crews gave a keynote speech on copyright and creativity at a major conference at the University of Colorado this month.  More than 200 professionals attended at the 5th annual conference held in Colorado Springs.
Kenneth D. Crews, a well-known copyright expert with Gipson Hoffman & Pancione, was a featured presenter at a copyright program held on Wednesday, April 5, 2017, at California State University, Northridge.  Dr. Crews has given copyright presentations at universities and conferences in nearly every U.S.