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Emory Law News Center

Faculty and Scholarship

Matthew Sag joins Emory Law faculty as part of university AI.Humanity initiative

A. Kenyatta Greer |

Upon university confirmation, Matthew Sag will join the faculty as Professor of Law in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Data Science as part of Emory’s bold new AI.Humanity initiative. Professor Sag is currently the Georgia Reithal Professor of Law and the associate dean for Faculty Research and Development at Loyola University Chicago School of Law.  

Sag studied economic history, political science, and law at the Australian National University, where he graduated with honors. He clerked for Justice Paul Finn at the Federal Court of Australia and has practiced law in Australia, the United Kingdom and in the Silicon Valley in the United States.  

His primary specialty is intellectual property, and he is particularly well known for his contributions to empirical studies of intellectual property and copyright theory. Professor Sag’s widely cited scholarly work has been published in leading journals, including the Georgetown Law Journal, the California Law Review and the Notre Dame Law Review. He is one of the leading U.S. experts on copyright issues raised by text data mining research, including the use of text data mining in conjunction with machine learning and AI—one of the core legal issues in law and AI. 

From 2013 to 2015, Sag was the principal author of an influential series of amicus briefs filed on behalf of “Digital Humanities and Law Scholars” in the landmark HathiTrust and Google Books lawsuits. These briefs were cited in the judgments and discussed at multiple oral arguments. Since 2016, he has served on the Advisory Board of the HathiTrust Research Council, advising on copyright and related issues in relation to academic digitization and text data mining research.  

He was part of the faculty and organizational team behind the Building Legal Literacies for Text Data Mining Institute (2020), funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. He was a key advisor to the clinical team at the Samuelson Law Technology & Public Policy Clinic at UC Berkeley in their successful application on behalf of the Authors Alliance for a new exemption to DMCA section 1201 to enable text data mining research on e-books and films.  

“Professor Sag’s theory of ‘non-expressive use’ in the context of copy-reliant technology has become the leading analysis of why text data mining in AI is fair use and does not violate copyright law, influencing both other academics and the courts. Professor Sag’s scholarly work in emerging issues relating to Copyright and Artificial Intelligence will add to Emory Law’s national and global research profile and his leadership in IP will directly benefit Emory Law students in the classroom and beyond,” says Dean Mary Anne Bobinski. 

AI.Humanity is Emory’s new hiring, research, and scholarship initiative exploring the intersection of artificial intelligence and other disciplines within the university. Over three to five years, Emory University will hire 50 to 60 faculty members with a focus on, but not limited to, four topical areas: 

  • AI and Health  
  • AI and Social Justice/Law  
  • AI and Business/Economics and Entrepreneurship/Law  
  • AI and the Humanities and Arts 

These hires will create a vibrant and coherent research and teaching community that represents the diverse interests of Emory’s schools and units and expand offerings to undergraduate, graduate, and professional school students. 

“I’m particularly excited by the AI Humanity initiative. As a society we’re on the cusp of yet another great technological transformation, and it’s exciting that Emory wants to be on the cutting edge of that,” Sag said. 

“I’ve been at the forefront of investigating copyright issues and AI for over a decade now. A lot of my work involves talking with people in other areas in computer science and humanities and libraries. My research is already very outward looking. Helping other researchers navigate the legal issues that come up in their research. That’s something I plan to keep doing.” 

Sag will join Emory Law in July 2022, adding his expertise to Emory Law’s strategic focus on research and teaching related to intellectual property and AI.