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William Fisher

WilmerHale Professor of Intellectual Property Law, Harvard Law SchoolDirector, Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

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William Fisher's Homepage

Professor Fisher received his undergraduate degree (in American Studies) from Amherst College and his graduate degrees (J.D. and Ph.D. in the History of American Civilization) from Harvard University. Between 1982 and 1984, he served as a law clerk to Judge Harry T. Edwards of the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and then to Justice Thurgood Marshall of the United States Supreme Court. Since 1984, he has taught at Harvard Law School, where he is currently the WilmerHale Professor of Intellectual Property Law and the Director of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. His academic honors include a Danforth Postbaccalaureate Fellowship (1978-1982) and a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Stanford, California (1992-1993).


Projects & Tools

CopyrightX

CopyrightX is a twelve-week networked course offered under the auspices of Harvard Law School, the HarvardX distance-learning initiative, and the Berkman Klein Center. More

Global Access in Action

Global Access in Action, a project of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, conducts action-oriented research into access to lifesaving medicines,… More

Harvard Open Access Project

The Harvard Open Access Project (HOAP) fosters the growth of open access to research, within Harvard and beyond. More

Noank Media

Noank's mission is to license and distribute digital content globally while fairly compensating content owners, using the most efficient, sustainable, and effective business and… More

Berkman Online Lecture and Discussion (BOLD) Series

We offer computer-mediated seminars through our interactive Berkman Online Lecture and Discussion (BOLD) series. Topics have included intellectual property and privacy on the… More

Copyright for Librarians

The Berkman Center partnered with eIFL to deliver a distance learning program on copyright for librarians. The resulting curriculum, made available on March 24, 2010, can be used… More

Digital Media Project (DMP)

The goal of the Digital Media Project is not to advance a simple agenda but instead to help educate stakeholders – government officials, the media, artists, businesspeople, and… More

Internet Law Program (iLaw)

Taught by world-renowned experts in the field, the Berkman Klein Center’s Internet Law Program addresses the most pressing cyberlaw issues being debated by lawmakers in the U.S… More

Rethink Music

The Berkman Center works in collaboration with Berklee College of Music on a variety of initiatives under the Rethink Music banner, examining the law, policy, and business… More

The Bridge

The Bridge is divided into two major parts: a six-unit series on legal reasoning, and a series of modules on American Legal Theory, divided into six "tracks" representing… More


Publications

May 31, 2018

Alternatives to Intellectual Property

Alternatives to Intellectual Property. By Oliver Bennett, William Fisher, Teddy Kalaw, and Jack Lerner. Last Updated: June 12, 2001. More

May 31, 2018

Interconnectivity (iLaw module)

The Internet is a vast network that connects many smaller groups of linked computer networks, on and through which information is stored and transmitted. The "interconnected"… More

May 31, 2018

Business Method Patents

Business Method Patents (in historical and economic context). William Fisher. July 4, 2002 More

May 31, 2018

Peer-to-Peer Copying (iLaw Module)

Peer-to-peer technology (commonly known as "P2P") creates conversations among individual personal computers (PCs). In this respect, P2P systems resemble an affiliate network… More

May 31, 2018

Business Method Patents Online (iLaw module)

As its name suggests, a business method patent grants to its holder exclusive rights to a particular way of doing business. Until recently, it was widely assumed that business… More

May 31, 2018

Conflicts over Domain Names

Conflicts over Domain Names. 3/25/03. Types of Disputes; Dispute Resolution Systems; Goals? Alternatives More

May 31, 2018

Law, Music, and the Internet

Law, Music, and the Internet. iLaw 3. July 2, 2002 More

May 31, 2018

Freedom of Expression on the Internet (iLaw module)

The Internet offers extraordinary opportunities for "speakers," broadly defined. Political candidates, cultural critics, corporate gadflies -- anyone who wants to express an… More

May 31, 2018

Domain Names (iLaw module)

The commercialization of the Internet has dramatically increased the importance and economic value of domain names. The sets of alphanumeric characters denoting Internet… More

Nov 6, 2006

The Canon of American Legal Thought

The Canon of American Legal Thought by, David Kennedy (Editor), William W. Fisher III (Editor) More

Aug 9, 2006

The Digital Learning Challenge: Obstacles to Educational Uses of Copyrighted Material in the Digital Age

This foundational white paper reports on a year-long study by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, examining the… More

Mar 1, 2005

Amicus Brief: MGM vs. Grokster (Supreme Court Case No. 04-480)

In Sony Corp. of America v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 464 U.S. 417 (1984), this Court held that the manufacture and distribution of technology that is sometimes used to engage… More

Aug 12, 2004

Promises to Keep

Technology, Law, and the Future of Entertainment

Promises to Keep: Technology, Law, and the Future of Entertainment by, William W. Fisher III More

May 23, 2004

Amicus Brief: Capitol et al v. Noor Alaujan

For the foregoing reasons, amici suggest that the Court to exercise caution in regard to any aggregate treatment of Defendants and to consider reduced awards in light of the… More

Jan 1, 1993

American Legal Realism

A comprehensive, in-depth discussion of the most influential movement in American legal history, and one which remains more than fifty years later the subject of lively debate,… More


News

Aug 1, 2014

New Berkman Center initiative, Global Access in Action, hosts inaugural workshop on access to medicines in developing countries

Global Access in Action (GAiA), a new initiative of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard, is hosting a workshop today to assess promising but understudied… More

Apr 18, 2014

Berkman Center announces leadership transition

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society has announced a significant leadership transition as Professor William (Terry) Fisher steps down after 12 years as Chair of the Board of… More

Mar 27, 2014

Global Access in Action Submits Comments to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative regarding PITAC

Berkman Center Faculty Director Terry Fisher, with Quentin Palfrey of WilmerHale and Sara Boettiger of Global Access in Action, submitted comments today responding to a Requests… More

Jan 15, 2013

Symposium at HLS marks launch of global network of interdisciplinary centers focused on the Internet and society

On Dec. 6-8, 2012, the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, together with seven international co-organizers, hosted a symposium at Harvard Law School titled Internet-Driven… More

Jan 16, 2012

Intensive Course on IP and Business Strategy

In the second week of February, 2012, four faculty from Harvard Law School (including Berkman directors Terry Fisher and John Palfrey) and three faculty from Harvard Business… More

Nov 14, 2011

John Palfrey's Next Chapter: Onward to the Phillips Academy!

The directors of the Berkman Center wish to extend our warmest congratulations to John Palfrey, our colleague and friend, upon his appointment as the Head of School of the… More

May 6, 2009

Reflections on ten years of Code

Jonathan Zittrain takes up the "arguments over cyberlibertarianism sparked by the release of [Lessig's] Code [and Other Laws of Cyberspace]" at Cato Unbound... More


Courses

Copyright - Spring 2018

This course will explore copyright law and policy. More

Teaching Copyright - Spring 2018

This course is designed for students who are interested in deepening their knowledge of copyright law and gaining experience with law teaching. More

Intellectual Property Law: Advanced - Fall 2017

This seminar is intended for students who are already familiar with the main contours of intellectual-property law and would like to explore the subject further. More

Copyright - Spring 2016

This course will explore copyright law and policy. Approximately two thirds of the class time and readings will be devoted to the American copyright system; the remainder will be… More

Teaching Copyright - Spring 2016

This course is designed for students who are interested in deepening their knowledge of copyright law and gaining experience with law teaching. Each student in the course will be… More

Copyright – Spring 2015

This course explores copyright law and policy. Approximately two thirds of the readings and class time are devoted to the American copyright system; the remainder are devoted to… More

Teaching Copyright – Spring 2015

Teaching Copyright Return to Course Catalog Professor William Fisher Spring 2015 Course Meets: T 7:00pm - 9:00pm 2 classroom credits Note: The credit breakdown for this… More

Law and the Global Health Crisis – Spring 2015

Many developing countries are already facing or will soon face health crises arising from the increasing incidence of communicable and non-communicable diseases. This Reading… More

Copyright - Spring 2014

This course will explore copyright law and policy. Approximately two thirds of the class time and readings will be devoted to the American copyright system; the remainder will be… More

Trademark - Fall 2013

This course will examine trademark law and the law of unfair competition in the United States and in other countries. Substantial attention will be paid to efforts by economic and… More

Intellectual Property Law: Advanced - Fall 2013

This course is intended for students who are already familiar with the main contours of intellectual-property law and would like to explore the subject further. We will examine in… More

Copyright - Spring 2013

This course will explore copyright law in depth. More

Trademark - Fall 2012

This course will examine trademark law and the law of unfair competition in the United States and in other countries. More

Intellectual Property Law: Advanced - Fall 2012

This course is structured for students who are already familiar with the main contours of intellectual-property law and would like to explore the subject further. More

Copyright - Spring 2012

This course will explore copyright law in depth. More

Intellectual Property Law: Advanced - Spring 2011

This course is intended for students who are already familiar with the main contours of intellectual-property law and would like to explore the subject further. More

Copyright - Fall 2010

This course will explore copyright law in depth. More

Intellectual Property Law: Advanced - Spring 2010

This course is intended for students who are already familiar with the main contours of intellectual-property law and would like to explore the subject further. More

Copyright - Spring 2010

This course will explore copyright law in depth. Approximately two thirds of the class time and readings will be devoted to the American copyright system; the remainder will be… More

Trademark Law - Fall 2009

This course will examine trademark law and the law of unfair competition in the United States and in other countries. More

Intellectual Property Law: Advanced - Spring 2009

This course is intended for students who are already familiar with the main contours of intellectual property law and would like to explore the subject further. More

The Internet: Issues at the Frontiers: Seminar - Spring 2009

This seminar explores frontiers question involving the Internet. Anticipated issues involve innovation, copyright, new uses of the wiki form, prediction markets, democratic… More

Copyright

This course will explore copyright law in depth. Approximately two thirds of the class time and readings will be devoted to the American copyright system; the remainder will be… More

Copyright - Fall 2008

This course will explore copyright law in depth. More

Patent Law - Spring 2008

This course will explore patent law in depth. More

Motivation: Seminar - Spring 2008

What prompts people to do what they do? A rapidly growing literature in several disciplines -- psychology, sociology, neuroscience, and economics -- casts new light on this age… More


Events

Jun 12, 2017 @ 12:00 PM

Potential Uses of Miniature Spectrometers to Mitigate the Health Crisis in Developing Countries

featuring HLS Professor William Fisher

Global Access in Action: Conversations in Global Health, Innovation, & the Digital World More

Apr 21, 2014 @ 12:00 PM

Copyright Reforms in Brazil and the United States

Join Professor William Fisher and Pedro Paranagua, senior legal advisor for the Brazilian government on Intellectual Property, for a comparative perspective on major features of… More

Apr 8, 2014 @ 12:00 PM

Intelligence Gathering and the Unowned Internet

The Berkman Center for Internet and Society is pleased to invite the community to continue the conversation on the future of the unowned Internet on April 8, 2014 with a panel… More

Sep 6, 2011 @ 6:30 PM

[September 6] Berkman Center Fall 2011 Open House

Come to the Berkman Center for Internet & Society’s Open House to meet our faculty, fellows, and staff, and to learn about the many ways you can get involved in our dynamic,… More

Sep 7, 2010 @ 6:00 PM

Berkman Center Fall 2010 Open House

Come to our Open House to meet Berkman faculty, fellows, and staff and to learn about the Center's current activities and ways you can get involved... More

Jul 16, 2007 @ 12:00 AM

The Summer Doctoral Programme (SDP)

The Summer Doctoral Programme (SDP) is a joint effort of the Berkman Center and the Oxford Internet Institute, which provides top doctoral students from around the world with the… More

Event Series

Beyond Broadcast 2007: From Participatory Culture to Participatory Democracy

For 50 years broadcast media have played a powerful role in shaping political culture and mediating citizen engagement in the democratic process. Now a participatory culture is… More

Event Series

iLaw Peru 2006

Internet Law Program in Lima, Peru on June 27-28, 2006. More

Apr 18, 2006 @ 12:30 PM

Educational Uses of Content in the Digital Age

Terry Fisher, Bill McGeveran and Jackie Harlow

Terry Fisher, Bill McGeveran and Jackie Harlow discussed how digitization alters the use of content, difficulties associated with digital learning, and possible reforms to enable… More

Sep 15, 2004 @ 12:00 AM

Internet Law Colloquium: The Future of Digital Media: Alternative Compensation Systems or Speedbumps?

Internet Law Colloquium: 15 September: William Fisher and Charles Nesson (Harvard Law School) debate The Future of Digital Media: Alternative Compensation Systems or Speedbumps?… More

Nov 15, 2000 @ 4:10 AM

The Day the Music Died? Harvard's Policy on Napster and Its Siblings--Past, Present and Future

A Panel Discussion

A Panel Discussion on "The Day the Music Died? Harvard's Policy on Napster and Its Siblings--Past, Present and Future" More