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|Born:||June 3, 1961
Rapid City, South Dakota, USA
|Occupation:||Founder, Creative Commons
Founder, Stanford Center for Internet and Society
Professor, Stanford Law School
Lawrence Lessig (born June 3, 1961) is an American academic. He is currently professor of law at Stanford Law School and founder of its Center for Internet and Society. He is best known as a proponent of reduced legal restrictions on copyright, trademark and radio frequency spectrum, particularly in technology applications.
 Academic career
Born in Rapid City, South Dakota, Lessig earned a B.A. in economics and a B.S. in management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, an M.A. (an undergraduate degree) in philosophy from the University of Cambridge (Trinity) in England, and a J.D. from Yale Law School.
Prior to joining Stanford he taught at the Harvard Law School, where he was the Berkman Professor of Law, affiliated with the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, and the University of Chicago Law School. Lessig is considered a liberal, but he clerked for two influential conservative judges: Richard Posner and Justice Antonin Scalia.
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 Teenage Republican serving as the Youth Governor for Pennsylvania through the YMCA Youth & Government program 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 there and develop his new liberal political values. During this time, he also travelled in the Eastern Bloc, so acquiring a lifelong interest in Eastern European law and politics.
Lessig refuses to embrace the usual libertarianism typical of Internet culture. While Lessig remains skeptical of government intervention, he favors judicial activism and regulation by calling himself "a constitutionalist."
 "Code is law"
In computer science, "code" typically refers to the text of a computer program (i.e., source code). In law, "code" can refer to the texts that constitute statutory law. In his 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."
 "Free Culture"
In 2002, Lessig was awarded the Award for the Advancement of Free Software from the Free Software Foundation (FSF), and on March 28, 2004 he was elected to the FSF's Board of Directors. In 2006, Lessig was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Lessig is also a well-known critic of copyright term extensions.
He proposed the concept of "Free Culture". He also supports free software and open spectrum. He is founder and CEO of the Creative Commons and a board member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. At his "Free culture" keynote at OSCON 2002, half of his speech was also about software patents, which he views as a rising threat to both free/open source software and innovation. Lessig is on the board of directors of Software Freedom Law Center, launched in February 2005.
 Wiki-related activities
Lawrence Lessig gave a talk at the 2006 Wikimania.
 Personal life
He is married to human rights lawyer Bettina Neuefeind and they have two sons, Willem Dakota Neuefeind Lessig, who was born on September 7, 2003, and Teo Elias Neuefeind Lessig, who was born on January 15, 2007.
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. 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. In August 2006, he succeeded in convincing the New Jersey Supreme Court to radically restrict the scope of immunity that had protected nonprofits which failed to prevent sexual abuse from legal liability.
Lessig appears as a character in a 2005 episode of the television political drama The West Wing ("The Wake Up Call", season 6, episode 14). Lessig's character, portrayed by Christopher Lloyd, is intended to be a realistic depiction including such details as citing his book The Future of Ideas and his expertise in Eastern European constitutional law. (Lessig's comments on his blog)
 Notable cases
- Hardwicke v. American Boychoir (representing plaintiff John Hardwicke)
- Eldred v. Ashcroft (representing plaintiff Eric Eldred)
- Kahle v. Ashcroft - also see Brewster Kahle
- Golan v. Ashcroft - also see http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/about/cases/golan_v_ashcroft.shtml
- United States v. Microsoft (special master and author of an amicus brief addressing the Sherman Act)
- Lessig was appointed special master by Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson in 1997. The appointment was vacated by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The appellate court ruled that the powers granted to Lessig exceeded the scope of the Federal statute providing for special masters. Judge Jackson then solicited Lessig's amicus brief.
- Lessig himself says about this appointment: "Did Justice Jackson pick me to be his special master because he had determined I was the perfect mix of Holmes and Ed Felten? No, I was picked because I was a Harvard Law Professor teaching the law of cyberspace. Remember: So is “fame” made."
- MPAA v. 2600 (submitted an amicus brief with Yochai Benkler in support of 2600)
 Books written
- Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace (2000) (ISBN 978-0-465-03913-5, Basic Books, New York)
- The Future of Ideas (2001) (ISBN 978-0-375-50578-2, Random House, New York)
- Free Culture (2004). (ISBN 978-1-59420-006-9, Penguin Press, New York) Lessig released this work under the Creative Commons License Attribution-NonCommercial.
- Code: Version 2.0 (2006) (ISBN 978-0-465-03914-2, Basic Books, New York)
 External links
- Lawrence Lessig's web site
- Transcript of his oral argument and the Court's Opinion for Eldred v. Ashcroft
- 2002 FSF Award for the Advancement of Free Software
- coverage of Lessig's opposition to the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act
- The 'Lessig' Method of Presentation
- The Anti-Lessig Wiki, a wiki started by Prof. Lessig intended to provide a space to catalog critics and oppositions of his ideas (currently mostly inactive)
- How I Lost The Big One - Lessig's account of why the Eldred v. Ashcroft case went to Ashcroft
- Some Like It Hot essay by Lessig in Wired 12.03 excerpted from Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity
- Lessig admits having been wrong on Microsoft's monopoly power and the potential for a competitor to arise.
- Lawrence Lessig's Supreme Showdown - Wired magazine interview from October 2002
- Seven Questions: Battling for Control of the Internet, Foreign Policy, November 2005
- Slashdot interview
- Remixing Culture: An Interview with Lawrence Lessig, O'Reilly Network, 2005-2-24
- "Lawrence Lessig and the developing Nations License", Worldchanging, November 16, 2006
- "Free Culture" keynote from OSCON 2002 (including an audio and flash with the presentation as well as the presentation itself)
- Who Owns Culture? - Jeff Tweedy and Lawrence Lessig in conversation with Steven Johnson
- Who Owns Ideas? Radio interview on Philosophy Talk
- Debate between Lessig and Jack Valenti.
- Lessig's keynote from OSCON 2005 (with comments, audio and presentation)
- Christopher Lydon Interviews... Audio interview.
- The Lawrence Lessig interview on Radiophiles.org
- IT Conversations - Audio programs featuring Lessig
- Lawrence Lessig interview on This Week in Tech
- Lessig on Digital Village Radio, December 3, 2005
- Lessig on the Triangulation podcast, December 5, 2005. Topic: Google Books
- An archive of speeches
- Lessig discusses Network Neutrality in this video taken at Rochester Institute of Technology on March 24, 2006
- Lessig discusses the concept of the Read-Write Society at the Wizards of OS (138MB) (alternatively you can hear the audio recording: 36MB)
- Lessig speech at Wikimania 2006 at Google Video
- Lawrence Lessig - On Free, and the Differences between Culture and Code from the 2006 Chaos Communication Congress
- Video-Interview (mainly in English with German intro and German subtitles): Part 1, Part 2
Rick Adams - Eric Allman - Brian Behlendorf - Keith Bostic - Alan Cox - Miguel de Icaza - Theo de Raadt - Jim Gettys - John Gilmore - Jon "maddog" Hall - Jordan Hubbard - Lynne and William Jolitz - Rasmus Lerdorf - Lawrence Lessig - Robert Love - Marshall Kirk McKusick - Eben Moglen - Tim O'Reilly - Keith Packard - Brian Paul - Bruce Perens - Eric S. Raymond - Bob Scheifler - Richard Stallman - Linus Torvalds - Andrew Tridgell - Guido van Rossum - Larry Wall
History: GNU Manifesto • GNU Project • Free Software Foundation (FSF) • History of free software
GNU licenses: GNU General Public License (GPL) • GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) • GNU Free Documentation License (FDL)
Software: GNU operating system • bash • GNU Compiler Collection • Emacs • GNU C Library • Coreutils • GNU build system • other GNU packages and programs
Speakers: Robert J. Chassell • Loïc Dachary • Ricardo Galli • Georg C. F. Greve • Federico Heinz • Bradley M. Kuhn • Eben Moglen • Richard Stallman • Len Tower