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Oklahoma City University Law Review





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There are unimaginable benefits available if legal educators can bring the law classroom into the twenty-first century through the use of popular media and celebrities in their teaching. With the introduction of “pop culture,” the professor can permanently alter the student's view of the course material. Bringing pop culture into the classroom will make the course material more relevant to our students’ lives outside the classroom. This will enhance both their willingness and their ability to master legal concepts.

There are two major obstacles to bringing pop culture into the classroom. The initial major obstacle is the Copyright Act of 1976 (“Copyright Act”), which restricts the use of copyrighted material. Although the act allows a limited safe harbor for “multiple copies for classroom use.” Educators may find the safe harbor to be unduly restrictive. The other potential obstacle is that the use of celebrities in hypotheticals also gives rise to problems associated with the celebrities’ “right of publicity.” In order to utilize celebrities in the teaching process, the educator must ensure that the use does not constitute commercial speech.

The sad fact is, that in order to effectively teach law, we need to overcome the restraints that law sometimes places on educational creativity.

Recommended Citation

Andre Hampton, Legal Obstacles to Bringing the Twenty-first Century in the Classroom: Stop Being Creative, You May Already Be in Trouble, 28 Okla. City Univ. L. Rev. 223 (2003).

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