April is a busy month for Intellectual Property Rights awareness, with two global celebrations occurring annually – World Book and Copyright Day, which is celebrated on April 23rd, and World Intellectual Property Day, which is celebrated on April 26th. World Book and Copyright Day was founded in 1995 by UNESCO, and its date, April 23rd, was chosen because it is the anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death.  This day honors authors and their creative works. It also encourages appreciation of the copyright systems that exist to protect writers and readers, with an underlying goal of incentivizing ongoing creative contribution to society and culture.

Annually, just days later, World Intellectual Property Day is celebrated on April 26th (which is, coincidentally, also the anniversary of the date of William Shakespeare’s baptism). The World Intellectual Property Organization created this holiday. Each year has a theme that focuses on the interplay between intellectual property and daily life. The theme for 2024 is Intellectual Property and the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Past themes include Women and Intellectual Property and Intellectual Property and Youth.

In addition to serving as testaments to the enduring power of the creative arts, both celebrations are continuously engaged in balancing and reconciling both creator and consumer intellectual property rights and interests.

With these upcoming celebrations, the Leatherby Libraries is excited to unveil a brand-new annual exhibit: Celebrating Intellectual Property Rights Across Disciplines. Our exhibit will highlight the tension between protecting creators’ intellectual property rights and allowing society the freedom to use (and benefit from) such creations across a variety of disciplines — from literature to music, the visual and performing arts, digital innovations, the health sciences to the mathematics, and much more. Each year, we will reflect on the intricacies of intellectual property rights for different disciplines and the challenges and triumphs of creators in those fields.

Librarian Katherine Roth

Copyright Librarian Katherine Roth’s appreciation for Intellectual Property Rights awareness catalyzed this celebration. Her vision is to create an annual exhibit where the intersection between copyright and different academic disciplines is considered, and intellectual property rights can be appreciated for the protection and freedom they offer both creators and consumers alike.

To learn more about Katherine and her work, visit her profile on our blog.

Whether you’re a creator, a consumer, or simply curious about the world of intellectual property rights, visit the Leatherby Libraries for our inaugural exhibit Keeping the Rhythm of Creativity – Celebrating the Performing Arts and Intellectual Property, beginning April 2024!


World Intellectual Property Organization. World Intellectual Property Day April 26, 2024. Accessed March 20, 2024. https://www.wipo.int/en/web/ipday