Matthew H. Birkhold

Assistant Professor of German; Courtesy Assistant Professor of Law
Contact Information:


  • B.A., Columbia University
  • J.D., Columbia Law School
  • Ph.D., Princeton University
Related Links:

Areas of Expertise:
  • Federal Indian Law
  • Intellectual Property
  • Law and Literature
  • Legal Anthropology
  • Legal History

Matthew H. Birkhold is an assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences and holds a courtesy appointment at the Moritz College of Law. He researches and writes about intellectual property, Federal Indian law, international law, and the intersection of law, culture, and the humanities.

Prior to joining the Ohio State University, Birkhold worked as an attorney-adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. Department of State.

His first book, Characters before Copyright, examines how customary norms governed the production and dissemination of fan fiction before the invention of intellectual property laws. It is currently under contract with Oxford University Press. Recent articles include studies of secrecy law and Hollywood‚ collaboration with the CIA, child pornography laws and Freud, and Native American cultural self-determination.

Birkhold is currently working on several projects including an article on indigenous self-determination and cultural property law, the judicial literary canon, and the ownership of icebergs.