Copyright Research Lab


Welcome to the Copyright Research Lab @ Tulane Law School.  The lab was started  in 2007, with the arrival of Dr. Townsend Gard.  Our first project was the Durationator.  Our goal was simple: could we code copyright duration to assist in determining the copyright status of works? We started with the U.S., and then decided to go big:  code the world.  It took us a decade, but we are nearly there.  The Durationator is now a product that is available, and we created a spin-out company with a strong social mission in order to facilitate our view and values — of making the past usable one query at a time.  That project spun out other projects over the years.

We love complex copyright questions.  We’ve worked on orphan works, sound recordings, social media and copyright law, video games and copyright, art law, K-12 and copyright, and many more topics.

Our rules?  Kindness.  That’s it.  Otherwise, we find many ways to play.  And we have many projects — some directed research, others with our two clubs, some work for Dr. Townsend Gard as a research assistant (over 80 students have done this), and others work on their own projects.

Current projects

Every Summer, we begin new projects and add to existing projects.  Currently, the following projects are active.

  • Durationator (ongoing)
  • Quilting Copyright (our newest project)
  • Copyright Office Records project
  • K-12 Copyright Project
  • (iL)Legal Art book project
  • Video Games and the Law (Routledge, 2017)
  • Public domain/rights database project

How do you get involved?  If you are a Tulane student, email Dr. Townsend Gard for an appointment.  If you are interested in the Durationator, visit us at

Team Durationator

Students working on the Durationator and other CRL projects are members of Team Durationator.   As students, they work on the research and development of our projects, which sometimes include travel, conferences, and other outreach opportunities.  They often develop expertise, as they focus on a particular country, problem, or focus in copyright.  Once they graduate from Tulane, they remain Team Durationator members, either in spirit, or in joining our team at Limited Times, our spin-off company for the Durationator and others projects that turn to products. All Team Durationator students are either enrolled in directed research projects or are paid as research assistants.

Team Durationator alumni have helped us build and are key members of transforming the Durationator into a product and the company, Limited Times.  For more information, see

Entrepreneurship and IP

As a consequence of the projects that we work on, we recognize that there are not only lessons of copyright, but also of entrepreneurship.  To that end, students have been involved in the building of the business plan, and everything else that goes into transforming a project to a product and company.  We see the Durationator and all of our projects as learning opportunities, and that the university is our laboratory for learning and experimenting.