My new monograph is Performing Copyright: Law, Theatre and Authorship (Oxford: Hart, 2021)

Free chapter:

The first chapter of the book is available here:

Publisher's Summary:

Based on empirical research, this innovative book explores issues of performativity and authorship in the theatre world under copyright law and addresses several inter-connected questions: who is the author and first owner of a dramatic work? Who gets the credit and the licensing rights? What rights do the performers of the work have? Given the nature of theatre as a medium reliant on the re-use of prior existing works, tropes, themes and plots, what happens if an allegation of copyright infringement is made against a playwright? Furthermore, who possesses moral rights over the work? To evaluate these questions in the context of theatre, the first part of the book examines the history of the dramatic work both as text and as performative work. The second part explores the notions of authorship and joint authorship under copyright law as they apply to the actual process of creating plays, referring to legal and theatrical literature, as well as empirical research. The third part looks at the notion of copyright infringement in the context of theatre, noting that cases of alleged theatrical infringement reach the courts comparatively rarely in comparison with music cases, and assessing the reasons for this with respect to empirical research. The fourth part examines the way moral rights of attribution and integrity work in the context of theatre. The book concludes with a prescriptive comment on how law should respond to the challenges provided by the theatrical context, and how theatre should respond to law. Very original and innovative, this book proposes a ground-breaking empirical approach to study the implications of copyright law in society and makes a wonderful case for the need to consider the reciprocal influence between law and practice.

Publisher's site -

My first monograph was published in 2016:

L. McDonagh, European Patent Litigation in the Shadow of the Unified Patent Court (Edward Elgar, 2016)

Free chapter:

The first chapter of the book is freely available online

Reviews of my book:

This distinguished book is to be highly recommended for its comprehensive coverage of and practical information on the impending European patent system. It is definitely indispensable for people concerned not only with Europe but also internationally, including, of course, with Asia.’

– Prof. Tatsuhiro Ueno, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan

Publisher's Summary:

"What will European patent litigation look like in 10 years time? With the coming into force of seismic reforms, European Patent Litigation in the Shadow of the Unified Patent Court combines close analysis of the current regime with a novel use of qualitative survey data to assess the introduction of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) and the new European Patent with Unitary Effect.

Not long ago only scant data were publicly available on the subject of patent litigation in EU member states. Using recently published data, Luke McDonagh paints a detailed picture of the patent litigation system in the key European jurisdictions of the UK, Germany, France and the Netherlands. He then outlines the rationale for reform - the perceived need to provide a more efficient, cost effective, harmonious litigation system - as well as the structure of the key reformative innovations. Making use of evidence from within the business and legal communities, this book highlights the key issues concerning the new system and examines what the impact of the reforms is likely to be on Europe's patent litigation system in the near future.

This illuminating book will be useful to scholars, including postgraduate students, practitioners and policy makers wishing to learn more about the future of patent litigation in Europe."


In 2019 I published my first textbook, on the subject of Intellectual Property Law, co-authored with Prof. Stavroula Karapapa of the University of Reading:

S. Karapapa & L. McDonagh, Intellectual Property Law (Oxford University Press, 2019)‬