David Tan promoted to full Professor


David Tan has been promoted to full Professor with effect from 1 July 2018.

David has established a reputation for himself as one of the leading scholars in the field of Entertainment Law, with his scholarship characterised by an interdisciplinary approach drawing on cultural studies and semiotics. Bridging intellectual property (especially copyright and trademarks) and privacy, this novel field ranges from the commercialisation of the celebrity persona to the protection of free speech. Among his achievements is his well-received book The Commercial Appropriation of Fame: A Cultural Analysis of the Right of Publicity and Passing Off, published last year by Cambridge University Press. David has published over 50 articles, comments, book chapters and review essays since joining NUS Law in 2008.

He is also an outstanding educator. Having won the faculty-level teaching excellence award twice, David has chaired the Faculty Teaching Excellence Committee since 2015 and played a key role in supporting teaching excellence within the faculty. In this time, the quantity and quality of teaching seminars has increased, with many colleagues benefiting from rich discussion on teaching matters, in particular on forms of assessment and use of technology in the classroom.

In his capacity as Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, David has brought a strategic eye to NUS Law’s academic offerings, enhancing the compulsory modules while offering a rich and diverse array of electives, reviewing the class of honours policy for the LL.B., and recruiting some leading visitors to NUS Law. He has led a review of our teaching excellence initiatives — including enhancing the faculty-level awards, developing our teaching seminars, and mentoring. In this last area, his leadership in the Sheridan Fellows programme has been a vital part of renewal at NUS Law, recruiting and developing the next generation of Singapore law scholars.

David also leads the Communications portfolio at NUS Law. More recently, he was appointed Director of Intellectual Property for the EW Barker Centre for Law & Business. In this capacity, he has launched a new Distinguished Visitor in IP Lecture Series and an annual seminar series with the IP Academy.

David holds Ph.D., LL.B. (First Class Honours) and B.Com. degrees from the University of Melbourne and an LL.M. from Harvard. He has been a visitor at Melbourne Law School and the University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law teaching courses in intellectual property and popular culture, as well as at the University of Tokyo (Todai) where he taught tort law. 

At NUS Law, David pioneered courses in Entertainment Law, Freedom of Speech and Privacy & Data Protection Law. His areas of research cover personality rights, copyright, trademarks, freedom of expression, constitutional law and tort law, and his articles have been cited by the Supreme Court of Singapore. His law publications have appeared in a wide range of journals that include Yale Journal of International Law, Harvard Journal of Sports & Entertainment Law, Law Quarterly Review, Sydney Law Review, Singapore Journal of Legal Studies, Media & Arts Law Review and International Journal for the Semiotics of Law.  

Lastly, David is a well-known fine art and fashion photographer in Singapore, having contributed to magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar, Elle and Marie Claire. His advertising campaigns have appeared in Vanity Fair, Time and L’Officiel. He has had six solo photography exhibitions, which include collaborations with Cartier and Versace.