Lawrence Lessig

Lester Lawrence Lessig III (born June 3, 1961) is an American academic, attorney, and political activist. He is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and the former director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University.[1] Lessig was a candidate for the Democratic Party's nomination for President of the United States in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, but withdrew before the primaries.

Lessig is a proponent of reduced legal restrictions on copyright, trademark, and radio frequency spectrum, particularly in technology applications. In 2001, he founded Creative Commons, a non-profit organization devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to build upon and to share legally. Prior to his most recent appointment at Harvard, he was a professor of law at Stanford Law School, where he founded the Center for Internet and Society, and at the University of Chicago. He is a former board member of the Free Software Foundation and Software Freedom Law Center; the Washington, D.C. lobbying groups Public Knowledge and Free Press; and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.[2]

As a political activist, Lessig has called for state-based activism to promote substantive reform of government with a Second Constitutional Convention.[3] In May 2014, he launched a crowd-funded political action committee which he termed Mayday PAC with the purpose of electing candidates to Congress who would pass campaign finance reform.[4] Lessig is also the co-founder of Rootstrikers, and is on the boards of MapLight and Represent.Us.[5] He serves on the advisory boards of the Democracy Café[6] and the Sunlight Foundation.[7]

In August 2015, Lessig announced that he was exploring a possible candidacy for President of the United States, promising to run if his exploratory committee raised $1 million by Labor Day.[8][9] After accomplishing this, on September 6, 2015, Lessig announced that he was entering the race to become a candidate for the 2016 Democratic Party's presidential nomination.[10] Lessig has described his candidacy as a referendum on campaign finance reform and electoral reform legislation. He stated that, if elected, he would serve a full term as president with his proposed reforms as his legislative priorities.[11] He ended his campaign in November 2015, citing rule changes from the Democratic Party that precluded him from appearing in the televised debates.[12][13]

Interview with Lawrence Lessig in 2009
Lawrence Lessig
Lawrence Lessig May 2017
Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University
In office
Preceded byDennis F. Thompson
Succeeded byDanielle Allen
Personal details
Lester Lawrence Lessig III

June 3, 1961 (age 57)
Rapid City, South Dakota, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Bettina Neuefeind (m. 1999)
EducationUniversity of Pennsylvania (BA, BS)
Trinity College, Cambridge (MA)
Yale University (JD)
InstitutionsUniversity of Chicago
Stanford University
Harvard University
WebsiteOfficial website

Academic career

Lessig earned a B.A. degree in economics and a B.S. degree in management (Wharton School) from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.A. degree in philosophy from the University of Cambridge (Trinity) in England, and a J.D. degree from Yale Law School in 1989. After graduating from law school, he clerked for a year for Judge Richard Posner, at the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, Illinois, and another year for Justice Antonin Scalia at the Supreme Court.[14]

Lessig started his academic career at the University of Chicago Law School, where he was professor from 1991 to 1997. As co-director of the Center for the Study of Constitutionalism in Eastern Europe there, he helped the newly-independent Republic of Georgia draft a constitution.[15] From 1997 to 2000, he was at Harvard Law School, holding for a year the chair of Berkman Professor of Law, affiliated with the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society.[14] He subsequently joined Stanford Law School, where he established the school's Center for Internet and Society.[16]

Lessig returned to Harvard in July 2009 as professor and director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics.[17] In 2013, Lessig was appointed as the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership; his chair lecture was titled "Aaron's Laws: Law and Justice in a Digital Age."[18][19]

In popular culture

Lessig was portrayed by Christopher Lloyd in "The Wake Up Call", during season 6 of The West Wing.[20]

Political background

Jonathan Zittrain and Lawrence Lessig (Google DC, March 20 2008)
Lessig speaking with Harvard internet law professor Jonathan Zittrain

Lessig has been politically liberal since studying philosophy at Cambridge in the mid-1980s. By the late 1980s, two influential conservative judges, Judge Richard Posner and Justice Antonin Scalia, selected him to serve as a law clerk, choosing him for his supposed "brilliance" rather than for his ideology and effectively making him the "token liberal" on their staffs.[21] Posner would later call him "the most distinguished law professor of his generation."[22]

Lessig has emphasized in interviews that his philosophy experience at Cambridge radically changed his values and career path. Previously, he had held strong conservative or libertarian political views, desired a career in business, was a highly active member of Teenage Republicans, served as the Youth Governor for Pennsylvania through the YMCA Youth and Government program[23] in 1978, and almost pursued a Republican political career.

What was intended to be a year abroad at Cambridge convinced him instead to stay another two years to complete an undergraduate degree in philosophy and develop his changed political values. During this time, he also traveled in the Eastern Bloc, where he acquired a lifelong interest in Eastern European law and politics.

Lessig remains skeptical of government intervention but favors some regulation, calling himself "a constitutionalist." On one occasion, Lessig also commended the John McCain campaign for discussing fair use rights in a letter to YouTube where it took issue with YouTube for indulging overreaching copyright claims leading to the removal of various campaign videos.[24]

Internet and computer activism

Lawrence lessig, joi ito
Lessig with fellow Creative Commons board member Joi Ito

"Code is law"

In computer science, "code" typically refers to the text of a computer program (the source code). In law, "code" can refer to the texts that constitute statutory law. In his 1999 book Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace, Lessig explores the ways in which code in both senses can be instruments for social control, leading to his dictum that "Code is law." Lessig later updated his work in order to keep up with the prevailing views of the time and released the book as Code: Version 2.0 in December 2006.

Remix culture

Lessig has been a proponent of the remix culture since the early 2000s.[25] In his 2008 book Remix[26][27] he presents this as a desirable cultural practice distinct from piracy. Lessig further articulates remix Culture as intrinsic to technology and the Internet. Remix culture is therefore an amalgam of practice, creativity, "read/write" culture and the hybrid economy.

According to Lessig, the problem with the remix comes when it is at odds with stringent US copyright law. He has compared this to the failure of Prohibition, both in its ineffectiveness and in its tendency to normalize criminal behavior. Instead he proposes more lenient licensing, namely Creative Commons licenses, as a remedy to maintain "rule of law" while combating plagiarism.[28]

Free culture

Aaron Swartz and Lawrence Lessig
Lessig and Aaron Swartz in 2002 at the launch party for Creative Commons

On March 28, 2004 he was elected to the FSF's board of directors.[29] He proposed the concept of "free culture".[30] He also supports free and open-source software and open spectrum.[31] At his free culture keynote at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention 2002, a few minutes of his speech was about software patents,[32] which he views as a rising threat to free software, open source software and innovation.

In March 2006, Lessig joined the board of advisors of the Digital Universe project.[33] A few months later, Lessig gave a talk on the ethics of the Free Culture Movement at the 2006 Wikimania conference. In December 2006, his lecture On Free, and the Differences between Culture and Code was one of the highlights at 23C3 Who can you trust?.[34]

Lessig claimed in 2009 that, because 70% of young people obtain digital information from illegal sources, the law should be changed.[35]

In a foreword to the Freesouls book project, Lessig makes an argument in favor of amateur artists in the world of digital technologies: "there is a different class of amateur creators that digital technologies have ... enabled, and a different kind of creativity has emerged as a consequence."[36]

Lessig is also a well-known critic of copyright term extensions.

Net neutrality

Lessig and Jimmy Wales at the iCommons iSummit07 in Dubrovnik

Lessig has long been known to be a supporter of net neutrality. In 2006, he testified before the US Senate that he believed Congress should ratify Michael Powell's four Internet freedoms and add a restriction to access-tiering, i.e. he does not believe content providers should be charged different amounts. The reason is that the Internet, under the neutral end-to-end design is an invaluable platform for innovation, and the economic benefit of innovation would be threatened if large corporations could purchase faster service to the detriment of newer companies with less capital. However, Lessig has supported the idea of allowing ISPs to give consumers the option of different tiers of service at different prices. He was reported on CBC News as saying that he has always been in favour of allowing internet providers to charge differently for consumer access at different speeds. He said, "Now, no doubt, my position might be wrong. Some friends in the network neutrality movement as well as some scholars believe it is wrong—that it doesn't go far enough. But the suggestion that the position is 'recent' is baseless. If I'm wrong, I've always been wrong."[37]

Legislative reform

Despite presenting an anti-regulatory standpoint in many fora, Lessig still sees the need for legislative enforcement of copyright. He has called for limiting copyright terms for creative professionals to five years, but believes that creative professionals' work, many of them independent, would become more easily and quickly available if bureaucratic procedure were introduced to renew trademarks for up to 75 years after this five-year term.[38] Lessig has repeatedly taken a stance that privatization through legislation like that seen in the 1980s in the UK with British Telecommunications is not the best way to help the Internet grow. He said, "When government disappears, it's not as if paradise will take its place. When governments are gone, other interests will take their place," "My claim is that we should focus on the values of liberty. If there is not government to insist on those values, then who?" "The single unifying force should be that we govern ourselves."[39]

Legal challenges

External video
Lawrence Lessig (10)
Q&A: Lawrence Lessig (58:48), C-SPAN[40]
Larry Lessig: Laws that choke creativity (19:08), TED talks[41]
TEDxNYED – Lawrence Lessig (19:07), TEDx talks[42]

From 1999 to 2002, Lessig represented a high-profile challenge the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. Working with the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Lessig led the team representing the plaintiff in Eldred v. Ashcroft.[43] The plaintiff in the case was joined by a group of publishers who frequently published work in the public domain and a large number of amici including the Free Software Foundation, the American Association of Law Libraries, the Bureau of National Affairs, and the College Art Association.

In March 2003, Lessig acknowledged severe disappointment with his Supreme Court defeat in the Eldred copyright-extension case, where he unsuccessfully tried to convince Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who had sympathies for de-regulation, to back his "market-based" approach to intellectual property regulation.[44]

In August 2013, Lawrence Lessig brought suit against Liberation Music PTY Ltd., after Liberation issued a takedown notice of one of Lessig's lectures on YouTube which had used the song "Lisztomania" by the band Phoenix, whom Liberation Music represents.[45][46] Lessig sought damages under section 512(f) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which holds parties liable for misrepresentations of infringement or removal of material.[47] Lessig was represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Jones Day.[48] In February 2014, the case ended with a settlement in which Liberation Music admitted wrongdoing in issuing the takedown notice, issued an apology, and paid a confidential sum in compensation.[49][50]


In October 2014, Killswitch, a film featuring Lawrence Lessig, as well as Aaron Swartz, Tim Wu, and Edward Snowden received its World Premiere at the Woodstock Film Festival, where it won the award for Best Editing. In the film, Lessig frames the story of two young hacktivists, Swartz and Snowden, who symbolize the disruptive and dynamic nature of the Internet. The film reveals the emotional bond between Lessig and Swartz, and how it was Swartz (the mentee) that challenged Lessig (the mentor) to engage in the political activism that has led to Lessig's crusade for campaign finance reform.[51][52]

In February 2015, Killswitch was invited to screen at the Capitol Visitor's Center in Washington DC by Congressman Alan Grayson. The event was held on the eve of the Federal Communications Commission's historic decision on Net Neutrality. Lessig, Congressman Grayson, and Free Press (organization) CEO Craig Aaron spoke about the importance of protecting net neutrality and the free and open Internet.[53][54]

Congressman Grayson states that Killswitch is "One of the most honest accounts of the battle to control the Internet -- and access to information itself.".[53] Richard von Busack of the Metro Silicon Valley, writes of Killswitch, "Some of the most lapidary use of found footage this side of The Atomic Café".[51] Fred Swegles of the Orange County Register, remarks, "Anyone who values unfettered access to online information is apt to be captivated by Killswitch, a gripping and fast-paced documentary."[52] Kathy Gill of GeekWire asserts that "Killswitch is much more than a dry recitation of technical history. Director Ali Akbarzadeh, producer Jeff Horn, and writer Chris Dollar created a human centered story. A large part of that connection comes from Lessig and his relationship with Swartz."[55]

The Electors Trust

In December 2016 Lawrence Lessig and Laurence Tribe established The Electors Trust under the aegis of EqualCitizens.US to provide pro bono legal counsel as well as a secure communications platform for those of the 538 members of the United States Electoral College who are regarding a vote of conscience against Donald Trump in the presidential election [56]

Money in politics activism

Jack Abramoff and Lawrence Lessig at "In the Dock" 2011 (2)
Lessig having a discussion with former lobbyist Jack Abramoff

At the iCommons iSummit 07, Lessig announced that he would stop focusing his attention on copyright and related matters and work on political corruption instead, as the result of a transformative conversation with Aaron Swartz, a young internet prodigy whom Lessig met through his work with Creative Commons.[57] This new work was partially facilitated through his wiki, Lessig Wiki, which he has encouraged the public to use to document cases of corruption.[58] Lessig criticized the revolving door phenomenon in which legislators and staffers leave office to become lobbyists and have become beholden to special interests.[59]

In February 2008, a Facebook group formed by law professor John Palfrey encouraged him to run for Congress from California's 12th congressional district, the seat vacated by the death of U.S. Representative Tom Lantos.[60] Later that month, after forming an "exploratory project", he decided not to run for the vacant seat.[61]


Despite having decided to forgo running for Congress himself, Lessig remained interested in attempting to change Congress to reduce corruption.[61] To this end, he worked with political consultant Joe Trippi to launch a web based project called "Change Congress".[62] In a press conference on March 20, 2008, Lessig explained that he hoped the Change Congress website would help provide technological tools voters could use to hold their representatives accountable and reduce the influence of money on politics.[63] He is a board member of, a nonprofit research group illuminating the connection between money and politics.

Change Congress later became Fix Congress First, and was finally named Rootstrikers.[64][65] In November 2011, Lessig announced that Rootstrikers would join forces with Dylan Ratigan's Get Money Out campaign, under the umbrella of the United Republic organization.[66][67] Rootstrikers subsequently came under the aegis of Demand Progress, an organization co-founded by Aaron Swartz.

Article V convention

Lawrence Lessig 2
Lessig speaking before Change Congress and the Sunlight Foundation

In 2010, Lessig began to organize for a national Article V convention.[68] He co-founded Fix Congress First! with Joe Trippi.[69] In a speech in 2011, Lessig revealed that he was disappointed with Obama's performance in office, criticizing it as a "betrayal", and he criticized the president for using "the (Hillary) Clinton playbook".[70] Lessig has called for state governments to call for a national Article V convention,[71] including by supporting Wolf PAC, a national organization attempting to call an Article V convention to address the problem.[72] The convention Lessig supports would be populated by a "random proportional selection of citizens" which he suggested would work effectively. He said "politics is a rare sport where the amateur is better than the professional."[71] He promoted this idea at a September 24–25, 2011, conference he co-chaired with the Tea Party Patriots' national coordinator,[73] in Lessig's October 5, 2011, book, Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress—and a Plan to Stop It,[74] and at the Occupy protest in Washington, DC.[75] Reporter Dan Froomkin said the book offers a manifesto for the Occupy Wall Street protestors, focusing on the core problem of corruption in both political parties and their elections.[76] An Article V convention does not dictate a solution, but Lessig would support a constitutional amendment that would allow legislatures to limit political contributions from non-citizens, including corporations, anonymous organizations, and foreign nationals, and he also supports public campaign financing and electoral college reform to establish the one person, one vote principle.[77]

New Hampshire Rebellion

The New Hampshire Rebellion is a walk to raise awareness about corruption in politics.[78] The event began in 2014 with a 185-mile march in New Hampshire.[79] In its second year the walk expanded to include other locations in New Hampshire.[80]

From January 11 to 24, 2014, Lessig and many others, like New York activist Jeff Kurzon, marched from Dixville Notch, New Hampshire to Nashua (a 185-mile march) to promote the idea of tackling "the systemic corruption in Washington". Lessig chose this language over the related term "campaign finance reform," commenting that "Saying we need campaign finance reform is like referring to an alcoholic as someone who has a liquid intake problem." The walk was to continue the work of NH Native Doris "Granny D" Haddock, and in honor of deceased activist Aaron Swartz.[78] The New Hampshire Rebellion marched 16 miles from Hampton to New Castle on the New Hampshire Seacoast.[81] The initial location was also chosen because of its important and visible role in the quadrennial "New Hampshire primaries", the traditional first primary of the presidential election.[81]

2016 presidential candidacy

Lessig announced the launch of his presidential campaign on September 6, 2015. On August 11, 2015, Lessig announced that he had launched an exploratory campaign for the purpose of exploring his prospects of winning the Democratic Party's nomination for President of the United States in the 2016 election.[9][82] Lessig pledged to seek the nomination if he raised $1 million by Labor Day 2015.[82] The announcement was widely reported in national media outlets, and was timed to coincide with a media blitz by the Lessig 2016 Campaign. Lessig was interviewed in The New York Times and Bloomberg. Campaign messages and Lessig's electoral finance reform positions were circulated widely on social media.[82][83] His campaign was focused on a single issue: The Citizen Equality Act, a proposal that couples campaign finance reform with other laws aimed at curbing gerrymandering and ensuring voting access.[82] As an expression of his commitment to the proposal, Lessig initially promised to resign once the Citizen Equality Act became law and turn the presidency over to his vice president, who would then serve out the remainder of the term as a typical American president and act on a variety of issues. In October 2015, Lessig abandoned his automatic resignation plan and adopted a full policy platform for the presidency, though he did retain the passage of the Citizen Equality Act as his primary legislative objective.[82]

He announced the end of his campaign on November 2, 2015.[12]

Electoral College Reform

In 2017, Lessig announced a movement to challenge the winner-take-all Electoral College vote allocation in the various states, called Equal Votes.[84] Lessig is counsel for plaintiffs in Nemanich v. Williams, an electoral law case in Colorado.

Awards and honors

In 2002, Lessig received the Award for the Advancement of Free Software from the Free Software Foundation (FSF).[29] He also received the Scientific American 50 Award for having "argued against interpretations of copyright that could stifle innovation and discourse online."[85] Then, in 2006, Lessig was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[86]

In 2011, Lessig was named to the Fastcase 50, "honoring the law's smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries, and leaders."[87] Lessig was awarded honorary doctorates by the Faculty of Social Sciences at Lund University, Sweden in 2013 and by l'Université Catholique de Louvain in 2014.[88][89] Lessig received the 2014 Webby Lifetime Achievement award for co-founding Creative Commons and defending net neutrality and the free and open software movement.[90]

Personal life

Lessig was born in Rapid City, South Dakota, the son of Patricia, who sold real estate, and Lester L. "Jack" Lessig, an engineer.[91][92] He grew up in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

In May 2005, it was revealed that Lessig had experienced sexual abuse by the director at the American Boychoir School, which he had attended as an adolescent.[93] Lessig reached a settlement with the school in the past, under confidential terms. He revealed his experiences in the course of representing another student victim, John Hardwicke, in court.[94] In August 2006, he succeeded in persuading the New Jersey Supreme Court to restrict the scope of immunity radically, which had protected nonprofits that failed to prevent sexual abuse from legal liability.[95]

Lessig is married to Bettina Neuefeind, a German-born Harvard University colleague. The two married in 1999.[96] He and Neuefeind have three children: Willem, Teo, and Tess.[97]

Notable cases


  • Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace (1999) ISBN 978-0-465-03913-5
  • The Future of Ideas (2001) ISBN 978-0-375-50578-2
  • Free Culture (2004) ISBN 978-1-59420-006-9
  • Code: Version 2.0 (2006) ISBN 978-0-465-03914-2
  • Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy (2008) ISBN 978-1-59420-172-1
  • Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress—and a Plan to Stop It (2011) ISBN 978-0-446-57643-7
  • One Way Forward: The Outsider's Guide to Fixing the Republic (2012) ISBN 978-1-61452-023-8
  • Lesterland: The Corruption of Congress and How to End It (2013, CC-BY-NC) ISBN 978-1-937382-34-6
  • Republic, Lost: The Corruption of Equality and the Steps to End It (2015) ISBN 978-1-4555-3701-3
  • America, Compromised (University of Chicago Press, 2018) ISBN 978-0-226-31653-6


See also


  1. ^ "Harvard Law School Faculty Lawrence Lessig".
  2. ^ Lessig, Lawrence. "In Defense of Piracy". The Wall Street Journal. October 11, 2008.
  3. ^ Alesh Houdek (November 16, 2011). "Has a Harvard Professor Mapped Out the Next Step for Occupy Wall Street?". The Atlantic. Retrieved November 17, 2011. Lawrence Lessig's call for state-based activism on behalf of a Constitutional Convention could provide the uprooted movement with a political project for winter
  4. ^ Naureen Khan, May 2, 2014, Al Jazeera, May Day PAC wants to end all Super PACs, Accessed May 7, 2014, "kick-start May Day PAC, which, if successful, will help elect enough like-minded lawmakers to Congress in 2014 and 2016 to pass campaign finance reform ... 'Yes, we want to spend big money to end the influence of big money,' Lessig said"
  5. ^ Maplight. "Board Members" at
  6. ^ Penn Alum Lawrence Lessig to Speak at National Constitution Center for Democracy Café Penn News, March 14, 2013
  7. ^ Board and Advisory Board Archived October 16, 2010, at the Wayback Machine Sunlight Foundation, February 14, 2011
  8. ^ "Harvard professor hits $1M benchmark for White House bid".
  9. ^ a b Foran, Clare (August 11, 2015). "Why Exactly Is Lawrence Lessig Considering Running for President?". National Journal. Retrieved August 11, 2015.
  10. ^ Walker, Hayley (September 6, 2015). "Harvard Professor Larry Lessig Says He's Running for President". ABC News. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
  11. ^ Marans, Daniel (October 17, 2015). "Lawrence Lessig Withdraws 'Totally Stupid' Plan To Resign Presidency". Huffington Post. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  12. ^ a b Graham, David (2 November 2015). "The 2016 U.S. Presidential Race: A Cheat Sheet". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  13. ^ (2015-11-02). The Democrats have changed the rules.
  14. ^ a b Lawrence, Lessig. "Curriculum Vitae". Archived from the original on July 7, 2010. Retrieved July 25, 2010.
  15. ^ "Center helps Eastern European countries shape constitutions". Retrieved January 13, 2016.
  16. ^ Lawrence, Lessig. "Short Biography". Archived from the original on July 22, 2010. Retrieved July 25, 2010.
  17. ^ "Lawrence Lessig named professor of law at HLS, director of Harvard's Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics". Harvard Law School. December 12, 2008. Archived from the original on October 10, 2009. Retrieved July 25, 2010.
  18. ^ Lessig on "Aaron's Laws – Law and Justice in a Digital Age". YouTube (2013-02-20). Retrieved on 2013-09-19.
  19. ^ Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review – A summary of Lawrence Lessig's Chair Lecture at Harvard Law School. Retrieved on 2013-09-19. Archived January 16, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ "Lessig portrayed on tonight's West Wing". Boing Boing.
  21. ^ "Supreme Court Clerk Hiring: Is It Becoming More Political?". Above the Law. Retrieved January 13, 2016.
  22. ^ Steven Levy (October 1, 2002). "Lawrence Lessig's Supreme Showdown". WIRED. Retrieved January 13, 2016.
  23. ^ "YMCA Youth and Government Pennsylvania (PA State YMCA)". Retrieved 2011-01-23.
  24. ^ Lessig, Lawrence (2008-10-13). "McCain/Palin to YouTube: Get real (Lessig Blog)". Archived from the original on May 21, 2011. Retrieved 2011-01-23.
  25. ^ "Remix Is a Cultural Right, Lessig Says". 2004-11-18. Retrieved 2016-02-27.
  26. ^ Remix on
  27. ^ Remix Archived April 2, 2016, at the Wayback Machine on
  28. ^ Lessig, Lawrence (2012). "REMIX: How Creativity is Being Strangled by the Law". The social media reader. Mandiberg, Michael,. New York: New York University Press. pp. 155–169. ISBN 9780814764077. OCLC 778455386.
  29. ^ a b "Leadership – Free Software Foundation". Retrieved 2011-01-23.
  30. ^ "free_culture". Retrieved 2011-01-23.
  31. ^ "Spectrum Policy: Property or Commons?". 2003-03-02. Retrieved 2011-01-23.
  32. ^ "free_culture". Lessig discusses software patents from time 17:38 to 20:38 of the audio recording
  33. ^ "Digital Universe Adds Leading Internet Expert Lawrence Lessig to Board of Advisors". California: 2006-03-13. Retrieved 2011-01-23.
  34. ^ "commons". 2011. google video docid=7661663613180520595. Retrieved 2014-02-07.
  35. ^ Lawrence Lessig (January 8, 2009). Colbert Nation. Comedy Central. Event occurs at 2:16. Retrieved 2009-05-19.
  36. ^ "Freesouls - Foreword by Lawrence Lessig".
  37. ^ CBC NEWS. Google accused of turning its back on net neutrality. December 15, 2008.
  38. ^ Drew Clark. Software Freedom Fighters. The National Journal 33(30), July 28, 2001.
  39. ^ Elinor Mills. Domain games: Internet leaves the U.S. nest. InfoWorld Daily News. October 13, 1998.
  40. ^ "Q&A: Lawrence Lessig". C-SPAN. November 21, 2011. Retrieved March 26, 2013.
  41. ^ "Larry Lessig: Laws that choke creativity". TED talks. November 15, 2007. Retrieved March 26, 2013.
  42. ^ "TEDxNYED – Lawrence Lessig". TEDx talks. March 6, 2010. Retrieved March 26, 2013.
  43. ^ "Lawrence Lessig's Supreme Showdown". WIRED. Retrieved 2018-10-11.
  44. ^ Lessig Backs Away From Copy Fights In Courts, Congress. Washington Internet Daily 4 (42). March 4, 2003.
  45. ^ "Lessig v. Liberatino Music – Complaint". Electronic Frontier Foundation website. United States District Court. August 22, 2013. Retrieved February 28, 2014.
  46. ^ Laura Sydell (September 27, 2013). "Record Label Picks Copyright Fight—With The Wrong Guy". Retrieved September 28, 2013.
  47. ^ "17 U.S. Code § 512 – Limitations on liability relating to material online". Legal Information Institute. Cornell University Law School. Retrieved February 28, 2014.
  48. ^ Brandle, Lars (February 28, 2014). "Liberation Resolves Copyright Issue with Lawrence Lessig, Admit 'Mistakes' Were Made". Billboardbiz. Retrieved February 28, 2014.
  49. ^ "Twórca Creative Commons wygrał sprawę o bezprawne skasowanie filmu z YouTube'a". Retrieved February 28, 2014.
  50. ^ Sydell, Laura (February 27, 2014). "A Win For Fair use After Record Label, Copyright Lawyer Settle". All Tech Considered. NPR. Retrieved February 28, 2014.
  51. ^ a b von Busack, Richard (February 25, 2014). "Breaking the Internet: Killswitch Screens at Cinequest". Metro Silicon Valley. Retrieved February 25, 2015.
  52. ^ a b Swegles, Fred (April 14, 2015). "Battle for Internet Control Fuels O.C. -produced Movie". Orange County Register. Retrieved April 16, 2015.
  53. ^ a b Grayson, Alan. "Grayson Screen Award Winning "Killswitch" Documentary". Congressman Grayson's House of Rep Official Web Page. Archived from the original on February 27, 2015. Retrieved February 23, 2015.
  54. ^ "The Price That You Pay for Rocking The Boat". Huffington Post. Retrieved March 27, 2015.
  55. ^ a b Gill, Kathy. "Lawrence Lessig at 'Killswitch' Seattle Premiere: Money, Politics, and the Battle for the Internet". GeekWire. Retrieved June 5, 2015.
  56. ^ Cheney, Kyle (December 5, 2016). "Lessig, lawyers to offer support to anti-Trump electors". Politico. Retrieved January 25, 2017.
  57. ^ Lessig, Lawrence (2007-06-19). "Required Reading: the next 10 years (Lessig Blog)". Archived from the original on January 16, 2011. Retrieved 2011-01-23.
  58. ^ "Lessig's blog July 29, 2007 11:55pm". Archived from the original on October 15, 2012.
  59. ^ Lawrence Lessig (February 8, 2010). "How to Get Our Democracy Back". CBS News, The Nation. Retrieved 2011-12-14.
  60. ^ "Draft Lessig – Change Congress". Retrieved 2011-01-23.
  61. ^ a b Lessig, Lawrence (2008-02-25). "On why I am not running (Lessig Blog)". Archived from the original on January 16, 2011. Retrieved 2011-01-23.
  62. ^ Previous post Next post (2008-03-20). "Stanford Law Professor Larry Lessig Bets 'Wikipedia' Approach Will Transform Congress | Threat Level from". Retrieved 2011-01-23.
  63. ^ "Sunlight Foundation Webcast". Retrieved 2011-01-23.
  64. ^ Who We Are Archived December 23, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, Rootstrikers
  65. ^ About Us Archived January 11, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, Rootstrikers
  66. ^ Rootstrikers and United Republic, Lawrence Lessig, United Republic, November 16, 2011 Archived December 19, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  67. ^ About Us, United Republic Archived February 7, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  68. ^ "Call a Convention". Call a Convention. Archived from the original on February 6, 2010. Retrieved 2011-01-23.
  69. ^ About, Fix Congress First!
  70. ^ Lawrence Lessig (November 16, 2011). "Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress—and a Plan to Stop It". Google, YouTube, Huffington Post. Retrieved 2011-12-13. (see question & answer session near the end of the video; see 50:30+)
  71. ^ a b Lawrence Lessig (November 16, 2011). "Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress—and a Plan to Stop It". Google, YouTube, Huffington Post. Retrieved 2011-12-13. (see 32.06 minutes into the video)
  72. ^ "Democracy in small states". LESSIG Blog, v2. Retrieved January 13, 2016.
  73. ^ Conference on the Constitutional Convention, Harvard University, September 24–5, 2011
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External links

2014 Webby Awards

The 18th annual Webby Awards for 2014 was held at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City on May 19, 2014, which was hosted by comedian and actor Patton Oswalt. The awards ceremony was streamed live at the Webby Awards website.

Lifetime Achievement was awarded to Lawrence Lessig for his work with intellectual property be co-founding Creative Commons and the person of the year was the artist Banksy.

A Rape in Cyberspace

"A Rape in Cyberspace, or How an Evil Clown, a Haitian Trickster Spirit, Two Wizards, and a Cast of Dozens Turned a Database into a Society" is an article written by freelance journalist Julian Dibbell and first published in The Village Voice in 1993. The article was later included in Dibbell's book My Tiny Life on his LambdaMOO experiences.

Lawrence Lessig has said that his chance reading of Dibbell's article was a key influence on his interest in the field. Sociologist David Trend called it "one of the most frequently cited essays about cloaked identity in cyberspace".

Better for America

Better for America (BFA) is a 501(c)(4) non-profit organization that was dedicated to getting nationwide ballot access for an independent candidate for President of the United States in the 2016 election. The effort was inspired by the unpopularity of the two major party nominees, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, and was seen as part of the Stop Trump movement.The organization's initial strategy was to gain ballot access in states that do not require a candidate to be named, and then name its candidate after the major party conventions. The candidate was planned to be named by an advisory board rather than through traditional primary elections, or through a crowdsourcing effort like the failed Americans Elect effort in the 2012 election. On August 8, 2016, it was reported that Evan McMullin, an anti-Trump Republican and former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) official, would be Better for America's nominee. McMullin was officially nominated on August 24.In July, the organization filed petitions in two states, New Mexico and Arkansas. By early August, Arkansas had accepted the petition, while New Mexico had rejected the petition because it did not have enough valid signatures, although the New Mexico decision was challenged in court. On August 22, the organization announced that it was ceasing further ballot access efforts. On September 8, the New Mexico Secretary of State reversed his decision and placed Better For America on the ballot.Notable people involved in the organization include conservative donor John Kingston III and former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman. Lawrence Lessig and Randy Barnett expressed their support for the organization in a Time opinion piece.

Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace

Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace is a 1999 book by Lawrence Lessig on the structure and nature of regulation of the Internet.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons (CC) is an American non-profit organization devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to build upon legally and to share. The organization has released several copyright-licenses, known as Creative Commons licenses, free of charge to the public. These licenses allow creators to communicate which rights they reserve and which rights they waive for the benefit of recipients or other creators. An easy-to-understand one-page explanation of rights, with associated visual symbols, explains the specifics of each Creative Commons license. Creative Commons licenses do not replace copyright but are based upon it. They replace individual negotiations for specific rights between copyright owner (licensor) and licensee, which are necessary under an "all rights reserved" copyright management, with a "some rights reserved" management employing standardized licenses for re-use cases where no commercial compensation is sought by the copyright owner. The result is an agile, low-overhead and low-cost copyright-management regime, benefiting both copyright owners and licensees.

The organization was founded in 2001 by Lawrence Lessig, Hal Abelson, and Eric Eldred with the support of Center for the Public Domain. The first article in a general interest publication about Creative Commons, written by Hal Plotkin, was published in February 2002. The first set of copyright licenses was released in December 2002. The founding management team that developed the licenses and built the Creative Commons infrastructure as we know it today included Molly Shaffer Van Houweling, Glenn Otis Brown, Neeru Paharia, and Ben Adida.In 2002 the Open Content Project, a 1998 precursor project by David A. Wiley, announced the Creative Commons as successor project and Wiley joined as CC director. Aaron Swartz played a role in the early stages of Creative Commons, as did Matthew Haughey.As of May 2018 there were an estimated 1.4 billion works licensed under the various Creative Commons licenses. Wikipedia uses one of these licenses. As of May 2018, Flickr alone hosts over 415 million Creative Commons licensed photos.Creative Commons is governed by a board of directors. Their licenses have been embraced by many as a way for creators to take control of how they choose to share their copyrighted works.

Endorsements in the 2016 Democratic Party presidential primaries

This is a list of endorsements for declared candidates for the Democratic primaries for the 2016 United States presidential election.

Free-culture movement

The free-culture movement is a social movement that promotes the freedom to distribute and modify the creative works of others in the form of free content or open content without compensation to, or the consent of, the work's original creators, by using the Internet and other forms of media.

The movement objects to what they consider over-restrictive copyright laws. Many members of the movement argue that such laws hinder creativity. They call this system "permission culture."Creative Commons is an organization started by Lawrence Lessig which provides licenses that permit sharing and remixing under various conditions, and also offers an online search of various Creative Commons-licensed works.

The free-culture movement, with its ethos of free exchange of ideas, is aligned with the free and open-source-software movement.

Today, the term stands for many other movements, including open access (OA), the remix culture, the hacker culture, the access to knowledge movement, the Open Source Learning, the copyleft movement and the public domain movement.

Free Culture

Free Culture may refer to:

Free Culture (book) by Lawrence Lessig

Free-culture movement, a social movement for free culture (inspired partly by the book)

Students for Free Culture, formerly, an international student organization supporting free culture

Good Faith Collaboration

Good Faith Collaboration: The Culture of Wikipedia is a 2010 book by Joseph M. Reagle Jr. that deals with the topic of Wikipedia and the Wikipedia community. The book was first published on August 27, 2010 through the MIT Press and has a foreword by Lawrence Lessig.

Google and the World Brain

Google and the World Brain is a 2013 documentary movie about the Google Books Library Project directed by Ben Lewis, produced by BBC, Polar Star Films and Arte. The main focus in the plot is on copyright controversy caused by the project that resulted in Google Book Search Settlement Agreement.

The movie has received several awards at festivals.It features interviews with many figures concerned, which include German chancellor Angela Merkel and Creative Commons founder Lawrence Lessig.

Hiroo Yamagata

Hiroo Yamagata (山形 浩生, Yamagata Hiroo, born March 13, 1964) is a Japanese author, critic, economist, and translator. He translated some important works in computer technology such as "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" by Eric S. Raymond, "Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace" by Lawrence Lessig into Japanese. He is also the founder and chairman of Project Sugita Genpaku, which is a volunteer effort to translate free content texts into Japanese.

See also: Japanese literature, List of Japanese authors

Lawrence Lessig 2016 presidential campaign

The 2016 presidential campaign of Lawrence Lessig, a law professor at Harvard University and cofounder of Creative Commons, was formally announced on September 6, 2015, as Lessig confirmed his intentions to run for the Democratic Party's nomination for President of the United States in 2016. Lessig had promised to run if his exploratory committee raised $1 million by Labor Day, which it accomplished one day early. He described his candidacy as a referendum on campaign finance reform and electoral reform legislation.

Lessig dropped out of the Democratic primary on November 2, 2015, shortly after the rules for participation in the next debate were changed such that he would no longer qualify. He then considered other strategies to advance his reform agenda, including the possibility of an independent run.His campaign platform was unique for its clear priority on passing one thing first: the Citizen Equality Act, a proposal that coupled campaign finance reform with other laws aimed at curbing gerrymandering and ensuring voting access.

Pathetic dot theory

The pathetic dot theory or the New Chicago School theory was introduced by Lawrence Lessig in a 1998 article and popularized in his 1999 book, Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace. It is a socioeconomic theory of regulation. It discusses how lives of individuals (the pathetic dots in questions) are regulated by four forces: the law, social norms, the market, and architecture (technical infrastructure).

Permission culture

Permission culture is a term often employed by Lawrence Lessig and other copyright activists such as Luis Villa and Nina Paley to describe a society in which copyright restrictions are pervasive and enforced to the extent that any and all uses of copyrighted works need to be explicitly leased. This has both economic and social implications: in such a society, copyright holders could require payment for each use of a work and, perhaps more importantly, permission to make any sort of derivative work.

Lawrence Lessig describes permission culture in contrast with free culture. While permission culture describes a society in which previous creators or those with power must grant people permission to use material, free culture ensures that anyone is able to create without restrictions from the past. An example Lessig cites in his book, Free Culture, is photography. In this example, if the legal environment surrounding the early stages of photography had been stricter with what constituted ownership and leaned more towards permission culture, photography would have developed in a drastically different manner and would be limited.An implication of permission culture is that creators are blocked by systemic procedures and this discourages innovation. Requiring permission in this sense means that creators will have to prove their usage of material is fair, even where legally unnecessary, which is a process that some would decide not to continue.This term is often contrasted with remix culture.

Republic, Lost

Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress—and a Plan to Stop It is the sixth book by Harvard law professor and free culture activist Lawrence Lessig. In a departure from the topics of his previous books, Republic, Lost outlines what Lessig considers to be the systemic corrupting influence of special-interest money on American politics, and only mentions copyright and other free culture topics briefly, as examples. He argued that the Congress in 2011 spent the first quarter debating debit-card fees while ignoring what he sees as more pressing issues, including health care reform or global warming or the deficit. Lessig has been described in The New York Times as an "original and dynamic legal scholar."In October, 2015 a second edition of the book was published.


Rootstrikers is a nonpartisan grassroots activist organization run by Demand Progress and created by Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig and political activist Joe Trippi (a Democratic campaign worker and consultant) for the purpose of fighting political corruption in the United States and reducing the role of special interest money in elections. According to Lessig, the idea is not to hack at the branches of the problem but rather focus on its root, which Lessig views as a corrupt campaign finance system, and hence he named the organization rootstrikers.

Stanford Center for Internet and Society

The Center for Internet and Society (CIS) is a public interest technology law and policy program founded in 2000 by Lawrence Lessig at Stanford Law School and a part of Law, Science and Technology Program at Stanford Law School. CIS brings together scholars, academics, legislators, students, programmers, security researchers, and scientists to study the interaction of new technologies and the law and to examine how the synergy between the two can either promote or harm public goods like free speech, innovation, privacy, public commons, diversity, and scientific inquiry. CIS strives to improve both technology and law, encouraging decision makers to design both as a means to further democratic values.

CIS provides law students and the general public with educational resources and analyses of policy issues arising at the intersection of law, technology and the public interest. Through the Fair Use Project, CIS also provides legal representation to clients in matters that raise important issues of free expression, civil rights and technology. CIS sponsors a range of public events including a speakers series, conferences and workshops.

The Future of Ideas

The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World (2001) is a book by Lawrence Lessig, at the time of writing a professor of law at Stanford Law School, who is well known as a critic of the extension of the copyright term in US. It is a continuation of his previous book Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace, which is about how computer programs can restrict freedom of ideas in cyberspace.

While copyright helps artists get rewarded for their work, Lessig warns that a copyright regime that is too strict and grants copyright for too long a period of time (e.g. the current US legal climate) can destroy innovation, as the future always builds on the past. Lessig also discusses recent movements by corporate interests to promote longer and tighter protection of intellectual property in three layers: the code layer, the content layer, and the physical layer.

The code layer is that which is controlled by computer programs. One instance is Internet censorship in mainland China by sorting out geographical IP addresses. The content layer is notoriously illustrated by Napster, a peer-to-peer file sharing service. Lessig criticizes the reaction of music companies and Hollywood. The physical layer is the one that actually conveys information from one point to another, and can be either wired or wireless. He discusses particularly the regulation of the radio spectrum in the United States.

In the end, he stresses the importance of existing works entering the public domain in a reasonably short period of time, as the Founding Fathers intended.

On 15 January 2008, Lessig announced on his blog that his publishers agreed to license the book under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license, and the book in PDF format can be downloaded freely.

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