Briefing Room


College mourns loss of Emeritus Professor Halpern

February 29, 2016 | Faculty

Sheldon W. Halpern, the C. William O’Neill Professor of Law and Judicial Administration Emeritus, died on Feb. 26 at the age of 80. He taught courses in copyright, trademark, defamation, privacy, and contracts. He joined the Ohio State law faculty after a 25-year legal career that included partnership in law firms in New York and Minnesota and positions as vice president and general counsel for two large, publicly held corporations.

“Sheldon was an extraordinary man with a deep love for life,” said Alan C. Michaels, dean and Edwin M. Cooperman Chair in Law. “Sometimes it was hard to believe that a musician who paid his way through school by playing gigs in the Catskills and the precise, forceful scholar of copyright and defamation law were the same person.  That was Sheldon though, and that special individual will be missed by all of us who knew him.”

A graduate of Cornell University and Cornell Law School, Halpern begin his career in law teaching at Ohio State in 1984 as an associate professor. He took emeritus status in 2005, but continued to teach as the Harold R. Tyler, Jr., Chair in Law and Technology at Albany Law School and as a visiting professor around the globe until 2014.

Professor Halpern published numerous articles on the law of copyright, the law of defamation, the rights of privacy and publicity, and contract law. He was the author of several books, most recently Harmonising Copyright Law and Dealing with Dissonance: a Framework for Convergence of US and EU Law (Edward Elgar Publishing, Ltd., 2014) (with Phillip Johnson). Other books include Copyright Law: Protection of Original Expression (Carolina Academic Press, 3rd. ed. 2015); and Fundamentals of United States Intellectual Property Law (Kluwer Law International, 5th ed. 2015) (with Seymore and Port); and The Law of Defamation, Privacy, Publicity and Moral Right: Cases and Materials on the Protection of Personality Interests (Anderson Publishing Company, 4th ed. 2000). His most influential law review articles were published in the Hastings Law Journal, North Carolina Law Review, Ohio State Law Journal, Vanderbilt Law Review, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, among others.

Professor Halpern was an elected Life Member of the American Law Institute. In 2014 he was elected to the Emeritus Academy at The Ohio State University.

He is survived by his wife, Dorit Samuel, and his daughter, Michaela Halpern.