Kathy Olson joined the Lehigh faculty in 2000. Her professional background includes working as a litigation attorney in Washington, D.C., and on the founding staff of the online version of the Austin American-Statesman in Austin, Texas. She is admitted to practice law in Virginia and the District of Columbia and before the Supreme Court of Virginia and the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
She earned her Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina and her master's in journalism at the University of Texas. She also holds a law degree from the University of Virginia and a B.S. in speech from Northwestern.
Her research examines the conflicts that arise between intellectual property rights and the First Amendment, with a particular focus on the fair use doctrine in copyright law and the right of publicity. She has been published in Journalism and Mass Communication Monographs, Newspaper Research Journal, Communication Law and Policy, Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies and Free Speech Yearbook.
She is a co-author of Mass Communication Law in Pennsylvania (New Forums Press, 2003) and serves on the editorial boards of Journalism and Mass Communication Monographs and The Journal of Media Law and Ethics.