TAN David


Ph.D. (Melbourne), LL.M. (Harvard), LL.B. (Hons), B.Com. (Melbourne)

  • Vice Dean (Academic Affairs), NUS Law
  • Director (Communications), NUS Law
  • Director of Intellectual Property, EW Barker Centre for Law & Business, NUS Law
  • Board Member, Institutional Review Board, Singapore Sports Institute
  • Advisor, Publications Committee, Law Society of Singapore
  • Senior Fellow, Melbourne Law School
  • International Contributing Editor, Media & Arts Law Review
  • Board Member, Advisory Board, Max Planck Encyclopedia of Comparative Constitutional Law
  • Board Member, International Advisory Board, Persona Studies
Email Address:
Office Tel: (65) 6516-6781 
Office Fax: (65) 6779-0979 
Office Address

Faculty of Law, National University of Singapore
Eu Tong Sen Building
469G Bukit Timah Road
Singapore 259776
Research Interests

Entertainment Law
Right of Publicity
Right of Privacy/Breach of Confidence
Cultural Studies
Freedom of Speech
Tort Law

Subjects Taught

Entertainment Law: Pop Iconography and Celebrity (LL4177V)
Freedom of Speech: Critical and Comparative Perspectives (LL4190V)
Privacy & Data Protection Law (LL4350V)
Law of Torts (LC1004)

Brief Biodata

David Tan holds a PhD from Melbourne Law School, a LLM from Harvard, and graduated with a LLB (First Class Honours)/BCom from the University of Melbourne. He has taught courses at Melbourne Law School (Intellectual Property & Popular Culture; Constitutional Law) and University of Hong Kong, Faculty of Law (Entertainment Law). David was formerly with the Singapore Administrative Service, serving as Director of Sports at Ministry of Community Development, Youth & Sports (MCYS) and Director of International Talent at Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

In the area of law, he has published in a diverse range of journals such as the Harvard Journal of Sports & Entertainment Law, Yale Journal of International Law, Sydney Law Review, Law Quarterly Review, Media & Arts Law Review, Singapore Journal of Legal Studies, Torts Law Journal and Australian Intellectual Property Journal. His monograph The Commercial Appropriation of Fame: A Cultural Analysis of the Right of Publicity & Passing Off on celebrity personality rights was published by Cambridge University Press in 2017:

David is also an accomplished fine art and fashion photographer having published a coffeetable book Visions of Beauty in association with Versace, and "Tainted Perfection" in collaboration with Cartier in Singapore. His works have appeared in Vanity Fair, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, Time and The New Yorker.

Representative Publications

1. The Commercial Appropriation of Fame: A Cultural Analysis of the Right of Publicity and Passing Off (Cambridge University Press, April 2017)

2. 'The Lost Language of the First Amendment in Copyright Fair Use: A Semiotic Perspective of the "Transformative Use" Doctrine Twenty-Five Years On' (2016) 26 Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal 311

3. 'Beyond Trademark Law: What the Right of Publicity Can Learn from Cultural Studies' (2008) 25 Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal 913

4. 'The Reynolds Privilege in a Neo-Confucianist Communitarian Democracy: Reinvigorating Freedom of Political Communication in Singapore' [2011] Singapore Journal of Legal Studies 456

5. 'A Sufficiently Close Relationship Akin to Employment' (2013) 129 Law Quarterly Review 30

6. 'Debunking a Myth: A Rejection of the "Assumption of Responsibility" Test for Duty of Care' (2014) 22 Torts Law Journal 183

7. 'The Promise of Universality: The Spandeck Formulation Half A Decade On' (2013) 25 Singapore Academy of Law Journal 510 (co-author Goh Yihan)

8. 'Towards a New Regime for the Protection of Outer Space as the Province of All Mankind' (2000) 25 Yale Journal of International Law 145

Publication List