John Tehranian

Paul W. Wildman Chair | Professor of Law

Professor John Tehranian

A.B., magna cum laude, Government, Harvard University, 1995
J.D., Yale University, Phi Beta Kappa, 2000

Member, California State Bar


John Tehranian joined Southwestern's faculty in 2011, bringing a tremendous background as a scholar and practitioner in the areas of entertainment law, intellectual property and civil rights.

Prior to joining Southwestern, Professor Tehranian was a tenured Professor of Law and Director of the Entertainment Law Center at Chapman University School of Law. He was previously a tenured Professor of Law at the University of Utah, S.J. Quinney College of Law, and has served as a Visiting Professor of Law at Loyola Law School. He teaches Constitutional Law, Copyright Law, Cyberlaw, Entertainment Law, Trademark Law, Intellectual Property, and Law and Literature. He is also an experienced entertainment and intellectual property litigator, having represented prominent Hollywood, publishing, new media and technology clients in high-profile litigation at O'Melveny & Myers LLP and One LLP.

"For all students, I urge them to follow their passion. You'll not only have a happier professional life, you'll generally do better, too."

A graduate of Harvard University and Yale Law School, Professor Tehranian's scholarship focuses on the interface between law and culture, with an emphasis on issues of technology, entertainment, and race. In particular, his work explores the impact of the emerging intellectual property and cyberlaw regimes on technological innovation and artistic creation; the growing tension between ownership of knowledge and expressive rights; the link between cultural formation and intellectual property law; and the relationship between legal systems and racial identity. He is the author of dozens of articles and two books:  Whitewashed: America’s Invisible Middle-Eastern Minority (New York University Press, 2009), which Publisher’s Weekly has lauded as a “consistently informative” work that “covers fresh legal and social territory,” and Infringement Nation: Copyright 2.0 and You (Oxford University Press, 2011), which the Harvard Law Review has praised for its “insightful critique of the copyright regime” and “convincing case for . . . reform.” His work has also appeared in such publications as the Yale Law JournalNorthwestern University Law Review, Iowa Law Review, Harvard Journal of Law & Gender, George Washington Law Review, UC Davis Law Review, Berkeley Technology Law JournalHastings Law Journal, Connecticut Law Review, University of Colorado Law ReviewJournal of Intellectual Property LawBYU Law ReviewIndiana Law JournalUtah Law ReviewUniversity of Cincinnati Law Review, and University of Hawaii Law Review. Professor Tehranian’s work has been widely cited, from testimony before the United States Congress and decisions of Israeli and American federal courts to briefs before the United States Supreme Court in such landmark intellectual property cases as MGM v. GroksterTiffany v. eBay, Golan v. Holder, and Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons.

A frequent commentator on legal issues for the broadcast and print media, Professor Tehranian has appeared on ABC's Nightline, among other programs, and has been quoted in such publications as The New York TimesHarper's Magazine, Financial TimesLos Angeles TimesHollywood Reporter and Christian Science Monitor. He has also served as an expert witness in numerous intellectual property and civil rights infringement suits, and as a speaker at hundreds of conferences and colloquia around the country and world.

Active in a variety of pro bono legal work, Professor Tehranian has focused on cases involving immigrants, civil rights plaintiffs, and indigent criminal defendants. He has successfully handled numerous appeals in the federal circuit courts on behalf of political asylum seekers from such countries as Colombia, Romania, and Iraq. He has litigated constitutional cases related to free speech, religious establishment, free assembly, due process, race discrimination, gender discrimination, and privacy rights. Professor Tehranian has also served as a court-appointed public defender in numerous criminal appeals. In recognition of his pro bono work, he received the Wiley W. Manuel Award for Pro Bono Legal Services from the California State Bar Board of Governors in 2007.

Video - Dangerous Undertakings: Sacred Texts and Copyright's Myth of Aesthetic Neutrality

Faculty Research by Professor John Tehranian