The Future of Ideas

Date: 
Wednesday, March 8, 2006 - 17:30
Location: 
TH 429
Presenter: 
Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Stanford Law School
Abstract: 
The Internet revolution has come. Some say it has gone. What was responsible for its birth? Who is responsible for its demise? In this presentation Lawrence Lessig explains how the Internet revolution has produced c counterrevolution of devastating power and effect. The explosion of innovation we have seen in the environment of the Internet was not conjured from some new, previously unimagined technological magic; instead, it came from an ideal as old as the nation. Creativity flourished there because the Internet protected an innovation commons. The legal architecture surrounding it protected this free space so that culture and information could flow freely and inspire an unprecedented breadth of expression. But this structural design is changing – both legally and technically. This shift will destroy the opportunities for creativity and innovation that the Internet originally engendered. The cultural dinosaurs of out recent past are moving to quickly remake cyberspace so that they can better protect their interests against the future. Powerful forces are swiftly using both law and technology to “tame” the Internet. Innovation, once again, will be directed from the top down, increasingly controlled by owners of the networks, holders of the largest patent portfolios, and, most invidiously, hoarders of copyrights.
Bio: 

Lawrence Lessig is a Professor of Law at Stanford Law School and founder of the school's Center for Internet and Society. Prior to joining the Stanford faculty, he was the Berkman Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, and a Professor at the University of Chicago. He clerked for Judge Richard Posner on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court. Professor Lessig represented web site operator Eric Eldred in the ground-breaking case Eldred v. Ashcroft, a challenge to the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. He has won numerous awards, including the Free Software Foundation's Freedom Award, and was named one of Scientific American's Top 50 Visionaries, for arguing "against interpretations of copyright that could stifle innovation and discourse online." Professor Lessig is the author of Free Culture (2004), The Future of Ideas (2001) and Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace (1999). He chairs the Creative Commons project, and serves on the board of the Free Software Foundation, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Public Library of Science, and Public Knowledge. Professor Lessig earned a BA in economics and a BS in management from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA in philosophy from Cambridge, and a JD from Yale. Professor Lessig teaches and writes in the areas of constitutional law, contracts, and the law of cyberspace.