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Brian L. Frye

Brian L. Frye

Spears-Gilbert Associate Professor of Law

229 Mandrell Hall

(859) 257-1678


Brian L. Frye joined the faculty of the College of Law in 2012. He teaches classes in civil procedure, intellectual property, copyright, and nonprofit organizations, as well as a seminar on law and popular culture. Previously, he was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Law at Hofstra University School of Law, and a litigation associate at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. He clerked for Judge Andrew J. Kleinfeld of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Justice Richard B. Sanders of the Washington Supreme Court. He received a J.D. from the New York University School of Law in 2005, an M.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1997, and a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1995. His research focuses on intellectual property and charity law, especially in relation to artists and arts organizations.

Professor Frye is also a filmmaker. He produced the documentary Our Nixon (2013), which was broadcast by CNN and opened theatrically nationwide. His short films and videos have shown in the 2002 Whitney Biennial, the New York Film Festival, and the San Francisco International Film Festival, among other venues, and are in the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art. His critical writing on film and art has appeared in October, The New Republic, Film Comment, Cineaste, Senses of Cinema, and Incite! among other journals.


  • B.A. with High Honors, University of California, Berkeley (1995)
  • M.F.A., San Francisco Art Institute (1997)
  • J.D., cum laude, New York University School of Law (2005)


  • Art Law
  • Copyright
  • Intellectual Property
  • Nonprofit Organizations
  • Civil Procedure
  • Law and Popular Culture
  • Law and Social Norms
  • Open Access Scholarship

Books & Book Chapters

  • The Zapruder Film, in A History of Intellectual Property in 50 Objects (Daniel Hunter & Claudy Op den Kamp eds., Cambridge Univ. Press 2018).
  • A Revolution in Favor of Television: WCVB-TV and Robert Gardner's Screening Room, in Looking (Rebecca Meyers, William Rothman & Charles Warren eds., SUNY Press 2016). 

Scholarly Articles

Scholarship is available for download at Brian L. Frye's SelectedWorks page

  • A Revealed Preferences Approach to Ranking Law Schools, __ Ala. L. Rev. __ (forthcoming 2017) (with Christopher J. Ryan, Jr.).
  • An Empirical Study of University Patent Activity, 7 NYU J. Intell. Prop. & Ent. L. __ (2017) (with Christopher J. Ryan, Jr.).
  • The Athlete’s Two Bodies: Reflections on the Ontology of Celebrity, Incite J. Experimental Media, no. 7, (forthcoming).
  • Invention of a Slave, Syracuse L. Rev. (forthcoming).
  • Against Creativity, 11 N.Y.U. J.L. & Liberty 426 (2017).
  • Equitable Resale Royalties, 24 J. Intell. Prop. L. 1 (2017).
  • Incidental Intellectual Property, 33 Ent. & Sports Law. 24 (2017).
  • Reflections on Motion Picture Evidence, 12 world picture (Winter 2017),
  • Fixing Forum Selling, 25:2 Univ. Miami Bus. L. Rev. 1 (2017) (with Christopher J. Ryan, Jr.).
  • An Empirical Study of the Copyright Practices of American Law Journals, 16 J. Marshall Rev. Intell. Prop. L. 207 (2017) (with Franklin L. Runge & Christopher J. Ryan, Jr.).
  • Aesthetic Nondiscrimination & Fair Use, 3 Belmont L. Rev. 29 (2016).
  • Art & the "Public Trust" in Municipal Bankruptcy, 93 U. Det. Mercy L. Rev. 629 (2016).
  • Machiavellian Intellectual Property, 78 Univ. of Pittsburgh L. Rev. 1 (2016).
  • Copyright in Pantomime, 34 Cardozo Arts & Ent. L.J. 307 (2016).
  • Scenes from the Copyright Office, 32 Touro L. Rev. 83 (2016).
  • Social Technology and the Origins of Popular Philanthropy, 32 Ga. St. U. L. Rev. 413 (2016).
  • Plagiarism is Not a Crime, 54 Duq. L. Rev. 133 (2016).
  • Three Great Phonographers: Warhol, Nixon & Kaufman, Incite J. Experimental Media, no. 6, Fall 2015, at 188. 
  • The Most Scholarly Justices, 18 Green Bag 435 (2015).
  • Copyright as Charity, 39 Nova L. Rev. 343 (2015).
  • IP as Metaphor, 18 Chap. L. Rev. 735 (2015).
  • Eldred & the New Rationality, 104 Ky. L. J. Online (2015),
  • Andy Warhol's Pantry, 8 Akron Intell. Prop. J. 17 (2015). 
  • Solving Charity Failures, 93 Or. L. Rev. 155 (2014).
  • Justifying Academic Freedom, 9 FIU L. Rev. 45 (2013). 
  • Justice John Marshall Harlan: Lectures on Constitutional Law, 1897-98, 81 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. Arguendo 12 (2013) (with Josh Blackman & Michael McCloskey). 
  • Justice John Marshall Harlan: Professor of Law, 81 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 1063 (2013) (with Josh Blackman & Michael McCloskey).
  • On the Origins of the Robert Beck Memorial Cinema, Incite J. Experimental Media, no. 4, Fall 2013, at 129.
  • The Dialectic of Obscenity, 35 Hamline L. Rev. 229 (2012).
  • The Gray Lady's Guide to Avant-Garde Cinema, Incite J. Experimental Media, no. 3, Fall 2011, at 54.
  • The Peculiar Story of United States v. Miller, 3 N.Y.U. J.L. & Liberty 48 (2008).

Popular Media

  • Copyright in a Nutshell for Found Footage Filmmakers, Found Footage Magazine, May 2016, at 34.

June 22, 2017

Brian L. Frye, Spears-Gilbert Associate Professor of Law at the University of Kentucky College of Law, recently returned from China where he taught a three-week class on United States Intellectual Property law at the Jilin University School of Law, one of the top law schools in China.

“It was an amazing experience to have young Chinese students who were so excited about learning intellectual property law,” said Prof. Frye.

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January 23, 2017

Faculty members at the University of Kentucky College of Law will engage with scholars from other schools across the nation this spring by continuing to host two visiting speaker series: the Randall-Park Distinguished Speaker and Faculty Brownbag Speaker. 

Both series bring distinguished legal scholars to UK Law to present and discuss their research and ideas, providing important opportunities for junior scholars to share their research, and increasing the profile of the college by introducing UK Law faculty to senior scholars from other schools.

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November 30, 2016

A Q&A with Brian L. Frye

What is the Lexington Film League?
The Lexington Film League (LFL) is a Kentucky 501(c)(3) charitable corporation organized and operated by Lexington-based filmmakers and film enthusiasts. It sponsors many different film and video programs in the Lexington area, including the Harry Dean Stanton Festival, Filmslang, and the Showcase at 21c Museum Hotel Lexington. It also helps with the logistics of the Cult Movies at Al’s Bar.

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October 25, 2016
By: Dominique Page

Brian L. Frye, Spears-Gilbert Associate Professor of Law at the University of Kentucky College of Law, visited China this past September, where he spoke at a symposium entitled, “International Symposium on Foreign Law and Comparative Law.” 

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September 21, 2016

Benjamin Tuttle (UK Law ’16) has been selected as the first place winner of the 2016 Georgia State University Intellectual Property (IP) Writing Competition, which he entered during his third-year of law school. 

The competition asks law students to submit papers that address legal issues and challenges in the IP field. Entries are judged on originality of thought, contributions to the law and practice, completeness of scholarly research and the style and content of the work.

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September 20, 2016

This past summer, the University of Kentucky College of Law helped young actors from Stage Right Acting bring the story of Elle Woods, Harvard’s beloved blonde, to stage.

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July 18, 2016

The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees recently approved promotions and/or tenure for three UK Law faculty members: Scott R. Bauries, Brian L. Frye, and Beau Steenken.

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June 22, 2016

While the faculty at the University of Kentucky College of Law spend most of their time preparing students to be lawyers and leaders and producing widely-recognized legal scholarship, they also make time to engage with scholars from other schools across the nation by hosting two visiting speaker series: the Randall-Park Distinguished Speaker and Faculty Brownbag Speaker.  

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April 11, 2016

Brian L. Frye, Assistant Professor of Law at the UK College of Law, has been selected by the University of Houston Law Center’s Institute for Intellectual Property & Information Law (IPIL) to receive the 2016 Sponsored Scholarship Grant (SSG) for the Legal Academy.

The IPIL SSG Program is designed to facilitate newly-authored scholarship in specific areas of IPIL within the legal academy. For 2015-16, the focus is Copyright, Entertainment, Media, Art and Sports Law.

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'Peoples Portal' Pop-up Supports Preservation of Peoples Bank

November 13, 2015
By: Whitney Harder & Dorothy Freeman


The University of Kentucky Art Museum will present the pop-up exhibition "Peoples Portal" Nov. 14-15, at the popular Peoples Bank structure on 343 South Broadway, in support of the preservation and move of the building.

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university of kentucky college of law students volunteer with local charities in the lexington community

The students in the University of Kentucky College of Law Class of 2018 are now several days into their first semester of law school. These individuals have chosen to pursue a career dedicated to assisting individuals and businesses in a time of need. Though they are a few years away from starting their legal careers, members of the Class of 2018 are already giving back to the Lexington community through service projects they participated in during UK Law’s Orientation. On Saturday, August 22, students and faculty assisted four local charities including Aids Volunteers, Inc.

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university of kentucky college of law logo

For those who attended the Kentucky Bar Association’s 2015 Annual Convention you probably saw some familiar faces. Several professors from UK Law presented at the convention and shared their expertise with fellow lawyers. The professors involved and presentations given include:

Allison Connelly: Accommodating Transgender Students in Public Schools; Ferguson, Race and the Law

Josh Douglas: Securing the Right to Vote: The 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and Current Developments in Election Law

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UK Law faculty excel in many areas beyond the practice, teaching, and research of law.  Professor Brian Frye demonstrates through his continual contribution to the world of art. 

Professor Frye has already had the honor of being included in the 2002 Whitney Biennial collection and had his film Oona’s Veil included in the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.  His most recent accomplishment boasts his film Oona’s Veil inclusion in the inaugural exhibition, America Is Hard to See, in the Whitney Museum’s new building.    

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Professor Brian Frye

“I have joined the LexArts board because it does such important work supporting and promoting the arts in Fayette County and the surrounding area,” said UK College of Law Professor Brian Frye.

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Professor Brian Frye

Award-winning filmmaker and College of Law Professor Brian Frye will travel to Istanbul on May 8-13 to present his first feature-length documentary, Our Nixon, at the TRT Film Festival.

Our Nixon is an 85-minute documentary comprised of Super 8 home movies, television news, and archival interviews shot by top Nixon aides H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, and Dwight Chapin between 1969 and 1972. The film provides a new perspective on how Haldeman, Ehrlichman and Chapin experienced working for President Nixon, and their role in the Watergate conspiracy.

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OUR NIXON is an all-archival documentary presenting the Super 8 home movies of H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman and Dwight Chapin for the very first time. The footage from Nixon's aides, which obsessively documents their time in the White House, was seized by the FBI during the Watergate investigation, then filed away and forgotten for almost 40 years. The home movies are presented with other rare footage, creating an intimate and complex portrait of the Nixon presidency as never seen before.

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