Faculty Profiles

profile image for Toni Lester

Toni Lester

  • Professor
Academic Division: Accounting & Law


In the context of Babson's top ranking for entrepreneurship education, Toni Lester has developed advanced courses in Arts and Entertainment Law; Privacy Law in the Age of Big Data; Intolerance and Culture; and the Regulation of US and International Business. With a longstanding record of writing about global inequality, her book, "Gender Nonconformity, Race and Sexuality" (University of Wisconsin Press) is a seminal work in the field of intersectionality. Current projects explore how creative practices of marginalized people are appropriated, and how technology impacts artistic creation and human rights. Her article, "Blurred Lines Where Copyright Ends and Cultural Appropriation Begins", anticipated the famous case's outcome a year in advance of its ruling. Lester was an Advising Scholar for the UN Office of Human Rights Special Rapporteur Report on Cultural Rights, Copyright Policy, and The Right To Science and Culture, and has been a Visiting Scholar at Cornell University, Stanford University, Kent Law School, Westminster Law School, and the University of Helsinki. Recent articles: "Questions of Trust, Betrayal and Authorial Control in the Avant Garde" (Marquette IP Law Review), and "Content-ID-Algorithmen und das Dilemma der falschen Treffer" (w/co-author D. Pachamanova), in "100 Jahre (Years of) Copyright" (Berlin Museum of World Culture's "100 Years of Now" Book series). Lester is on the Int'l Society for the History and Theory of Intellectual Property Governing Board, and the Int'l Advisory Board for Berlin's Kunstler Program des Daad's Arts and Media Program Transnational Sound Initiative. She is also an award winning composer and creative artist. A sampling of her work is below.

Academic Degrees

  • Ph D, Northeastern University
  • MA, New England Conservatory of Music
  • JD, Georgetown University
  • BS, Georgetown University


Journal Articles

  • Lester, T. (2019). Questions of Trust, Betrayal and Authorial Control in The Avant Garde: The Case of Julius Eastman and John Cage. Vol: 23:2. Marquette Intellectual Property Law Review. link
  • Lester, T., Pachamanova, D. (2017). The Dilemma of False Positives: Making Content ID Algorithms More Conducive to Fostering Innovative Fair Use in Music Creation. UCLA Entertainment Law Review. link
  • Lester, T. (2016). Will the Cultural Defense Make A Difference in Celebrity and Sports Endorsement Contract Disputes. Pace Intellectual Property, Sports & Entertainment Law Forum. link
  • Lester, T. (2015). Oprah, Beyoncé, and The Girls who “Run the World” – Are Black Female Cultural Producers Gaining Ground in Intellectual Property Law. Wake Forest Journal of Business and Intellectual Property Law. link
  • Lester, T. (2014). Blurred Lines - Where Copyright Ends and Cultural Appropriation Begins - The Case of Robin Thicke Versus Bridgeport Music and the Estate of Marvin Gaye. Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal. link
  • Lester, T. (2012). Machismo at the Crossroads - Recent Developments in Latin American Gay Rights Law. Michigan State International Law Review. link
  • Lester, T. (2008). Negotiating The Divide Between Religious Belief and Tolerance for LGBT Rights (Special Journal Volume on Religion). Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy. link
  • Lester, T. (2006). Adam and Steve v. Adam and Eve - Will The New Supreme Court Grant Gays The Right To Marry. American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy and The Law. link
  • Lester, T. (2005). Context, Contention and The Constitution - Riding The Waves Of The Affirmative Action Debate. Suffolk Law Review.
  • Lester, T. (2004). Queering The Office - Can Sexual Orientation Discrimination Laws Transform Workplace Norms. University of Missouri Law Review. link
  • Lester, T. (1999). Protecting The Gender Nonconformist From The Gender Police. New Mexico Law Review. link


  • Lester, T. (2002). Gender Nonconformity, Race and Sexuality - Charting the Connections. University of Wisconsin Press. link

Book Chapters

  • Lester, T., Pachamanova, D. (2019). Content-ID-Algorithmen und das Dilemma der falschen Treffer: 100 Jahre Copyright ("100 Years of Copyright) (Part of "100 Years of Now" Book Series). Matthes & Seitz (Haus der Kulturen der Welt - Museum of Culture - Berlin, Germany). link
  • Lester, T. (2007). Harassment, Retaliation and Relief: Sexual Orientation Discrimination - An International Perspective (eds. M. V. Badgett and Jefferson Frank). Routledge. link
  • Lester, T. (2002). The Problem of Multiple, Marginalized Identities in Sex Discrimination Law: Gender Nonconformity, Race and Sexuality - Charting The Connections (ed. Toni Lester). University of Wisconsin Press.
  • Lester, T. (1997). Efficient But Not Equitable - Sexual Harassment in The Workplace (eds. M. Oppenheimer and N. Mercuro): Law and Economics, An Alternative Perspective. M. E. Sharpe (now Taylor and Francis). link


  • Lester, T. (2017). Scandal Surrounding Kevin Spacey, Netflix, and Morals Clauses in Celebrity Contracts. Babson College Leadership Blog. link
  • Lester, T. (2016). Comments on Latest 'Sorry' Copyright Lawsuit against Justin Bieber. Babson College Leadership Blog. link
  • Lester, T. (2015). Marvin Gaye Verdict: 'Vibe" of Song as Important as Melody. Babson College Leadership Blog. link
  • Lester, T. (2015). Toni Lester on Robin Thicke, Innovation, Cultural Appropriation, and Copyright Theft. Babson College Leadership Blog. link
  • Lester, T., Noyes, E. (2012). Babson Professors Pose Two Questions To Music Entrepreneurs: Babson College Leadership Blog. Babson College Leadership Blog. link