Karjala focuses on Eldred v. Ashcroft, in which intellectual-property law professors unsuccessfully sought to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Congressional legislation retroactively extending copyright terms. To those who contend the high court was correct in deferring to political wrangling inherent in copyright legislation, Karjala argues that, although such deference often may be appropriate, the Constitution's Copyright Clause refers to "limited times," rendering judicial oversight appropriate.
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Karjala's work in intellectual property, specifically copyright law, is internationally recognized and complemented by his facility in written and spoken Japanese. The Jack E. Brown Professor of Law and a Faculty Fellow in the Center for the Study of Law, Science, & Technology, Karjala joined the College in 1978, and teaches courses in property law, copyright, international intellectual property and intellectual property in cyberspace. In 2008-09, Karjala was on sabbatical in Bratislava, Slovakia, teaching courses in United States and international intellectual property at the Law Faculty of the Comenius University, and continuing his work in intellectual property law, focusing on copyright, digital technologies, and rights for traditional knowledge.