From the University of California at Davis, via Jack Chin, comes the shocking and exceptionally sad news that Keith Aoki passed away this morning. Keith was an exceptionally warm and generous scholar. Mentioning his many academic accomplishments will not begin to do justice to him as a person.
I think many people will enjoy spending time with the book that he wrote with James Boyle and Jennifer Jenkins on fair use, Tales from the Public Domain: Bound by Law.
And you will also likely enjoy one of his final forthcoming pieces, "Pictures Within Pictures," a sort of legal history of copyright, which was one of Keith's many interests, in the form of a comic. It is also about the history of music and of ideas. And it is also a warning about the extension of copyright. The article's (comic's?) final three frames show Keith wearing a jet pack. He says, "Well, I've got law review articles to write, classes to teach, and exams to grade ... It may be a cliche, but my friends, how this story ends is up to you!! So ... chose wisely ... and adios amigos!!" And with that, Keith's character blasts off into the sky. As always, leaving us with inspiration and a task to carry on.
Keith's generosity and his innovative scholarship are a lasting and powerful inspiration to us all. His family and the students and faculty at Davis will be in our thoughts.
Six Updates: Jamie Boyle sends along the news that a fund is being set up to support Keith's two nine year old daughters, Sarah and Rachel; anyone interested in donating should send an e-mail to Jamie, firstname.lastname@example.org, and he will be happy to supply more details.
Kim Krawiec, who had the pleasure of working with Keith at Oregon a few years back, has a touching memory of time she spent with him in Eugene.
Keith's co-author Jennifer Jenkins remembers him here.
UC Davis Law Dean Kevin R. Johnson's letter to the law school community is here.
Diane Marie Amann's rememberance at Internet Law Girls is here.
Jamie Boyle's extended discussion of Keith's wide-ranging work and memorial is here.