Lawrence Lessig

SDForum Distinguished Speaker Series

The Comedy of the Commons
96 minutes, 44.1mb, recorded 2004-09-23
Lawrence Lessig
IT Conversations favorite, Lawrence Lessig is back with a terrific presentation delivered at the SDForum Distinguished Speaker series. He charts a history of IP, which helps him highlight the difference between physical-property law, which can result in a tradgedy of the commons, and intellectual-property law, which can result in a comedy of the commons.


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. Lessig was also a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, and a Professor at the University of Chicago Law School. He clerked for Judge Richard Posner on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court.

More recently, 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. Lessig was named one of Scientific American's Top 50 Visionaries, for arguing "against interpretations of copyright that could stifle innovation and discourse online."

He is the author of The Future of Ideas and Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace. He also chairs the Creative Commons project. Professor Lessig is a boardmember of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a Board Member of the Center for the Public Domain, and a Commission Member of the Penn National Commission on Society, Culture and Community at the University of Pennsylvania.

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, comparative constitutional law, and the law of cyberspace. He is currently planning a course, Law and Virtual Worlds, for Spring 2003 with Julian Dibbell.

This presentation is from the IT Conversations archives of the SDForum Distinguished Speaker Series.

This free podcast is from our SD Forum series.