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School of Law

Rachel Maguire


PhD Student



Thesis title

What are the Effects of Anonymity and Pseudonymity on Copyright Law’s Relevance and Adequacy for Online Creative Communities?


Professor Johanna Gibson and Professor Chris Reed

Summary of research

This thesis explores the effects of anonymity and pseudonymity on the relationship between online creative communities and copyright law. The research seeks to understand the creative reality of these anonymous and pseudonymous online communities and to compare and contrast this with what the law offers and expects.

It aims to do this by identifying the gaps between what copyright should and what it does offer the anonymous/pseudonymous works of these online creative communities. It also explores how these communities use copyright law when it is available and how they approach protecting their works when it is not. The thesis also considers the extent to which anonymity and pseudonymity can help mitigate potential negative effects of lacunae in copyright law for these communities and ask in light
 of this relationship, is copyright law efficient, relevant or adequate for these anonymous and pseudonymous online communities?

The research aims to contribute to the growing body of empirical work into copyright law that aims to influence and encourage a more evidence-based approach to copyright law- and policy-making.


Rachel received a degree in French and German from UCL, after which she completed the Graduate Diploma in Law at BPP Law School. She then attended Birkbeck, University of London where she was awarded an LLM with distinction in 2015. 

In September 2016 she commenced doctoral studies at Queen Mary’s Centre for Commercial Law Studies and was awarded the Herchel Smith Intellectual Property PhD scholarship.


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