SCL is delighted that Professor Lawrence Lessig has agreed to give the SCL Lecture 2008 at the Institution of Engineering and Technology. But IT lawyers and copyright experts may be in for a shock – they will not get the familiar tour of the virtues of free software and creative commons for Professor Lessig has moved on. The leading thinker on law and cyberspace, the creator of the ‘code is law’ approach and oft cited source in every debate on copyright and software has learned much from his battles, in court and out. His official attention has switched to constitutional law, but it is an approach to constitutional law like no other. It is informed and influenced by his experience in technology and IP battles over software and imbued with the belief that it is possible to make a difference. It can fairly be said that idealists and free-thinkers have made a massive difference in the last decade to attitudes and approaches in copyright, greatly aided by technology, and Professor Lessig’s underlying theme is that technology can counteract the corrosive effects of money in politics in a not dissimilar way.
This is an event which is sure to be thought-provoking and make all think outside their 'safe' areas. Especially in a year featuring US elections and ongoing investigations into improper payments in the UK, it is likely to be of great interest to many in the media as well as being an interesting event for IT lawyers.
SCL confidently expects that there will be a considerable call for tickets for non-members and advises members to apply urgently for their own allocation. Click here to apply for tickets.
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. He is also a columnist for Wired. He 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.
The lecture is dedicated to the memory of Alan Brakefield, Honorary Treasurer of the Society for 29 years and a founding member in 1973, who died in July. Alan was a tireless servant of the Society. His commitment to the challenges of IT and the law was reflected in years of hard work administering the finances of the Society and of his wise counsel to successive Trustees.