This page features 15 years of conversations with leading cyber-scholars, entrepreneurs, activists, and policymakers as they explore topics such as: the factors that influence knowledge creation and dissemination in the digital age; the character of power as the worlds of governance, business, citizenship, and the media meet the Internet; and the opportunities, role, and limitations of new technologies in learning.

Most Berkman events, including conferences, luncheon series talks, and many meetings, are webcast then archived on this website.  Starting in 2015, webcasts are now archived on specific events pages and are no longer listed here.  Please consider this page an incomplete archive, while we transition how we display multimedia on our site. Many of these talks are also available on the Berkman Center's YouTube channel.

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Elisa Kreisinger on Fair Use(r): Art and Copyright Online

With the democratization of content creation came the democratization of the overzealous copyright claim. Do private agreements between copyright holders and hosting platforms such as YouTube’s Content ID system compromise artist's fair use rights?

In this open discussion Elisa Kreisinger -- Brooklyn-based video artist and artist-in-residence at Public Knowledge -- invites artists, users, and lawyers to share their copyright experiences with hosting platforms, and debate the future of distributing digital arts works online.

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Primavera De Filippi on Ethereum: Freenet or Skynet?

Ethereum is a contract validating and enforcing system based on a distributed public ledger such as the one implemented by the Bitcoin cryptocurrency. The system allows for the management of complex distributed autonomous organizations, which raises questions about legality. Could this new platform promote the establishment of an entirely decentralized society, or will its disruptive potential eventually be absorbed by the established system? In this talk Primavera De Filippi -- Berkman fellow and postdoctoral researcher at the CERSA/CNRS/Université Paris II -- explores the dangers and opportunities of Ethereum.

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Intelligence Gathering and the Unowned Internet

The long-term viability of an unowned, open Internet remains in question. Any analysis of where the Internet is headed as a protocol and a platform must take into account the activities of both public and private entities that see the Internet as a source of intelligence -- and a field of contention.

Yochai Benkler, Bruce Schneier, and Jonathan Zittrain of the Berkman Center are joined by John DeLong and Anne Neuberger of the National Security Agency in a conversation moderated by Berkman Faculty Director Terry Fisher on the future of an open internet in the face of challenges to privacy in an unsecure world.

This talk was co-sponsored by: the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, the Harvard Law School American Civil Liberties Union, Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, National Security Journal, and National Security and Law Association.

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Jeff Young on Pop-Up Learning: The Future of MOOCs and Online Education

After months of hype and hope about MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses, one thing is clear: they aren’t very good at teaching those most in need of education. Instead, they’re serving the education “haves”: About 80 percent of people taking MOOCs already have a college degree. But free online courses may still spark an education revolution, in ways that their biggest proponents hadn’t guessed. In this talk Jeff Young -- editor and writer for The Chronicle of Higher Education and Berkman Fellow -- takes a closer look at who is taking MOOCs and why, and examines how free courses fit into broader Internet trends.

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Susan Benesch on Troll Wrastling for Beginners: Data-Driven Methods to Decrease Hatred Online

Hateful and even violent speech is familiar online; what’s unusual are data-driven efforts to diminish them. Experiments so far have produced intriguing results including: some ‘trolls’ recant or apologize in response to counterspeech, and small changes in platform architecture can improve online discourse norms.

In this talk Susan Benesch — founder of the Dangerous Speech Project and professor of American University’s School of International Service — discusses early research and experiments into managing and responding to hateful speech online, especially in climates where online speech may be tied to offline violence.

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Axel Arnbak on When Governments Pwn the Web: A Constitutional Right to IT-Security?

Governments around the world are hacking into IT-systems, with deep implications for privacy, IT-security, the legal process and geopolitics. Should governments actually have the ability and the right to hack, and to weaken global communications networks? And do conventional concepts such as privacy and communications secrecy sufficiently capture the status quo, or do we need a new constitutional right for IT-security as proposed by the German court?

In this talk Axel Arnbak -- Berkman fellow and researcher at the Institute for Information Law, University of Amsterdam -- explores three real-life cases to unpack the implications of government hacking.

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Ethan Gilsdorf & Jonathan Zittrain on How Dungeons & Dragons and Fantasy Prepare You for Law and Life

How is a lawyer like a wizard? How does a courtroom resemble an epic battle? How is a casebook like the Dungeon Master's Guide? If you played Dungeons & Dragons in another age, or today, then you know this enormously influential role-playing gaming, which shaped the video gaming industry and geek culture, can be perfect training ground for law and life.

In this informal talk and conversation, Ethan Gilsdorf -- journalist, 17th level geek, and author of Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks -- joins the Berkman Center's Jonathan Zittrain to discuss how D&D's inherent storytelling skills can champion a role for creative play space in both your work and leisure life.

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Camille François on A Roadmap to Cyberpeace

The notion of ‘cyberpeace' requires a separation of war-time cyber activities from peace-time cyber activities. This project questions "cyberwar" (the concept, its reality and its legal framework) and examines its relationship to the idea of peace. Doctrinally, the ‘cyber’ realm grew between conceptions of war and peace.

In this talk Camille François -- Berkman and Fulbright Fellow, and Visiting Scholar at Columbia University's Saltzman Institute for War and Peace Studies -- explores how these blurry lines are translated in operations (for example, NSA/USCYBERCOM) and legal frameworks, and attempts to address the consequences of the framing.

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The US Launch of *impossible*

Since September, the public has been experimenting with an app that relies on the goodness of humankind. Called *impossible*, it leverages the idea of a gift economy through social media to grant wishes. Users interact by posting wishes—such as a desire to learn Spanish or to find a jogging buddy—and other *impossible* users who can grant those wishes based on skills and proximity connect to grant the wish.

On March 5, the Berkman Center celebrated the US launch of *impossible*.

Lily Cole, founder of *impossible* and fashion model, actress, and social entrepreneur, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Founder and CEO of the World Wide Web Foundation, Rosemary Leith, Berkman Center Fellow, Judith Donath, Berkman Center Fellow, Jonathan Zittrain, Director at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society and Professor at Harvard Law School, and moderator Urs Gasser, Executive Director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, engage in an interactive discussion about the feasibility of a social media platform that relies on themes related to human cooperation, reciprocity, and kindness.

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Karim R. Lakhani on How Disclosure Policies Impact Search in Open Innovation

Most of society’s innovation systems –- academic science, the patent system, open source, etc. -– are “open” in the sense that they are designed to facilitate knowledge disclosures amongst innovators. An essential difference across innovation systems, however, is whether disclosures take place only after final innovations are completed, or whether disclosures relate to intermediate solutions and advances.

Karim R. Lakhani -- Harvard Business School professor and Berkman Faculty Associate -- presents experimental evidence showing that implementing intermediate versus final disclosures qualitatively transforms the very nature of the innovation search process, and presents comparative advantages of intermediate disclosure systems.

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Tricia Wang on Talking to Strangers: Chinese Youth and Social Media

When we read about the Chinese internet in the Western press, we usually hear stories about censorship, political repression, and instability. But Chinese youth are actually sharing information and socializing with strangers online much more than those in the West suspect, finding ways to semi-anonymously connect to each other and establish a web of casual trust that extends beyond particularistic guanxi ties and authoritarian institutions.

In this talk, Tricia Wang -- visiting scholar at New York University's Interactive Telecommunication Program and a Berkman Fellow -- argues that the activity of Chinese youth online reflects a new form of sociality: an Elastic Self, a new sociality which is laying the groundwork for a public sphere to emerge from ties primarily based on friendship and interactions founded on a casual web of public trust.

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Veni Markovski on 2014 High-Level Conferences on ICT and the Internet: What Do They Mean for the Internet As We Know It?

In October, President of Brazil Dilma Roussef announced a high-level meeting on Internet governance to be held in April in Rio de Janeiro. ITU will have not one, not two, but three international meetings, and will be tackling Internet issues.

As governments initiate talks about policies with regards to who controls the Internet, Veni Markovski -- the ICANN vice-president for Russia, CIS and Eastern Europe -- explores how the 2014 landscape of Internet governance may change.

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Defending an Unowned Internet: Opportunities for Technology, Policy, and Corporations

In the wake of the disclosures about government surveillance and the rise of corporate-run applications and protocols, is the idea of an "unowned" Internet still a credible one? The Berkman Center's Jonathan Zittrain moderates a panel, including Yochai Benkler -- Harvard Law School -- Ebele Okobi -- Yahoo! -- Bruce Schneier -- CO3 Systems -- and Benjamin Wittes -- Brookings Institution -- to explore surveillance, and the potential for reforms in policy, technology, and corporate and consumer behavior.

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Margot Kaminski on Robotic Surveillance: Authorship or Intrusion?

As the use of robotic technology expands private third-party surveillance will also expand to new locations and scenarios. Is it possible -- or desirable -- to craft meaningful laws or guidelines before widespread private adoption of robots?

In this talk Margot E. Kaminski -- Research Scholar in Law, Executive Director of the Information Society Project, and Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School -- explores how the pending increase in robotic surveillance poses new questions for U.S. privacy law, and the extents to which robotic surveillance will be necessary, superfluous, or deliberately intrusive.

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Eszter Hargittai and Aaron Shaw on Internet Skills and Wikipedia's Gender Inequality

Although women are just as likely as men to read Wikipedia, they only represent an estimated 16% of global Wikipedia editors and 23% of U.S. adult Wikipedia editors.

In this talk, Eszter Hargittai -- Delaney Family Professor in the Communication Studies Department and Faculty Associate of the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University, and Aaron Shaw -- Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Northwestern University -- discuss findings from their recent study of both Wikipedia contributors and non-contributors showing that the gender gap in editing is exacerbated by a similarly important Internet skills gap. They suggest efforts ways of overcoming the gender gap in Wikipedia contributions by addressing the Web-use skills gap, and paths for future research.

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Nicholas Gruen on Government as Impresario: Emergent Public Goods and Public Private Partnerships 2.0

We're used to thinking that public goods must be produced by governments. But there's a fundamental and growing class of public goods that emerge from private interaction. Today emergent public goods -- Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia -- burgeon on the internet ushering in a new age. But there must exist a panoply of public goods which could be brought into existence by the right kind of partnership between private and public endeavor.

In this talk, Nicholas Gruen -- a widely published policy economist, entrepreneur and commentator who has been a regular columnist in the Courier Mail, the Australian Financial Review, the Age and the Sydney Morning Herald -- explores the economic basis for public/private partnerships, and shares examples of innovative partnerships that thrive in the internet age.

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Sara Boettiger on Re-Thinking Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Models for the Poor

The world faces a growing population, resource constraints, climate change, and a global food system under stress. But new technology is limited in its ability to address the problems facing those in poverty. 780 million still lack access to clean water. 1/5 of humanity lives without electricity.

Sara Boettiger -- Senior Advisor at Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture and Assistant Adjunct Professor at UC Berkeley -- will discuss the need to re-think existing models of Intellectual Property Rights (e.g. patent pools, clearinghouses, humanitarian use licensing), re-invent our research agenda, and work to shift the international debate.

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Jerome Hergueux on Cooperation in a Peer Production Economy: Experimental Evidence from Wikipedia

From Wikipedia to Open Source Software, Peer Production –- a large-scale collaborative model of production primarily based on voluntary contributions –- is emerging as an economically significant production model alongside firms, markets and governments. Yet, its impressive success remains difficult to explain through the assumptions of standard economic theory.

In this talk, Jerome Hergueux -- Ph.D. candidate in Economics at Sciences Po (Department of Economics) and the University of Strasbourg (Institute of Political Studies) and Berkman Fellow -- reflects on the prosocial foundations of cooperation in this new Peer Production economy, taking Wikipedia as one paradigmatic example, and asks: how can we start to build a workable theory of individuals’ motivations to freely contribute time and efforts for the provision of global public goods?

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Kate Darling on Near-term Ethical, Legal, and Societal Issues in Robotics

Prominent robot ethics questions focus on liability and privacy concerns in the face of increasingly autonomous technology. A lesser-discussed issue is the emergence and effect of robots that are designed to interact with humans on a social level. Studies have begun to establish a tendency to perceive social robots differently than we do other objects. As more and more robotic companions enter into our lives and homes, our inclination to project life-like qualities onto robots could have some societal implications.

Kate Darling -- IP Research Specialist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab and a Ph.D. candidate in Intellectual Property and Law & Economics at the ETH Zurich -- discusses some of the more interesting developments in the world of robot/human interaction, and where we might find ourselves in the coming decades.

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Edward Lee on How People Defeated Hollywood and Saved the Internet--For Now

SOPA and ACTA, two controversial copyright proposals in the United States and European Union that many feared would lead to Internet censorship, came into the mainstream when people used Facebook, Twitter, other social media, blogs, and websites to organize and launch protests.

In this talk Edward Lee -- Professor of Law and the Director of the Program in Intellectual Property Law at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law -- explains how a grassroots movement involving millions of people was able to defeat money, politicians, Hollywood, and the copyright lobby, all in the name of a "free and open Internet."

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Cheryl Contee on The Innovation Intermission

Though the stereotype of "nerd" might involve a white male with a laptop, white males lag behind minorities and women in many categories of social media and technology use. But current investments in new technology don’t not match the consumers of these technologies. According to the Kaufmann Foundation, only 4% of venture capital of any kind goes to female tech entrepreneurs.

In this talk, Cheryl Contee -- Partner at Fission Strategy, co-founder of Jack and Jill Politics, and Affiliate of the Berkman Center -- explores the gap between creators and consumers, and suggests we are in an "innovation intermission," poised on the threshold of another great wave of technological creativity brought about by the democratization of tools and education.

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Aimee Corrigan and Colin Maclay on The New Nollywood

In less than two decades Nollywood (Nigeria's booming movie industry) has grown to an estimated value of $250 million, employing over a million people and producing over 1000 films each year. Nollywood's movies have an audience of millions in Nigeria, throughout Africa and around the world -- from Bombay to Brooklyn.

But the industry faces big challenges from limited financing opportunities to rampant piracy. Today, in an effort to overcome these challenges, leading filmmakers in Nigeria consider themselves part of a growing movement they call “New Nollywood,"

Aimee Corrigan -- Co-Director of Nollywood Workshops, a hub for filmmakers in Lagos, Nigeria -- and Colin M. Maclay -- the Managing Director of the Berkman Center -- discuss increased access to new technology and equipment, training, new sources of financing, and alternative distribution that are helping to make Nollywood the envy of filmmakers around the world.

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Zeynep Tufekci on Social Media-Fueled Protest Style From Arab Spring to Gezi Protests in Turkey

What can we learn from the protest wave of the last years? How does social media impact the capacity for collective action? Does social media contribute to blunting movement impacts by facilitating horizontal, non-institutional and "leaderless" movements? How do these movements compare with their predecessors like the civil-rights or
anti-colonial movements? In this talk Zeynep Tufekci -- assistant professor at the University of North Carolina, a faculty associate at Berkman Center for Internet & Society, and a fellow at the Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University -- discusses these questions by drawing from research on a variety of social movements including the "Arab Spring", European indignados movements, Occupy and Turkey's Gezi protests.

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Anupam Chander on The Electronic Silk Road: How the Web Binds the World

On the ancient Silk Road, treasure-laden caravans made their arduous way through deserts and mountain passes, establishing trade between Asia and the civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean. Today’s electronic Silk Roads ferry information across continents, enabling individuals and corporations anywhere to provide or receive services without obtaining a visa. But the legal infrastructure for such trade is yet rudimentary and uncertain. If an event in cyberspace occurs at once everywhere and nowhere, what law applies? How can consumers be protected when engaging with companies across the world?

In his new book <em>The Electronic Silk Road</em> Anupam Chander -- Director of the California International Law Center and professor of law at the University of California, Davis -- discusses the urgent questions of law and policy raised by the new trade routes of the Internet.

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Forum: A Global Research Agenda for Children’s Rights in the Digital Age

Worldwide, children’s digital access and literacy is growing apace. Yet many of the creative, informative, interactive and participatory features of the digital environment remain substantially underused, and this is a particular challenge in lower-income countries and among socially excluded children.

In this talk, Sonia Livingstone -- professor in the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics -- argues that the time has come to conduct robust, cross-nationally comparative research to guide policy and practice in maximizing the opportunities and minimizing the harms associated with ICT for children around the world. Livingstone's talk is followed by a discussion with Stephen Balkam, Urs Gasser, Amanda Lenhart, and others.

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Ronald Deibert on the World After Snowden: Towards Distributed Security in Cyberspace

In this talk Ron Deibert -- Professor of Political Science, and Director of the Canada Centre for Global Security Studies and the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto -- puts the revelations of NSA wiretapping in a broader context, emphasizing the political economy of the cyber security industrial complex and its unintended consequences in a world of Big Data, along with an alternative approach to securing cyberspace, drawing from his recent book, Black Code.

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Molly Crabapple on Art in the Age of the Ubiquitous Image

Two hundred years ago, artists had the monopoly on image making. Now, every parade or disaster is accompanied by ten thousand twitpics.

In a world where mobile technology has made images instantaneous and ubiquitous, what does visual art have left to say?

Drawing on her experiences doing illustrated journalism around Guantanamo Bay and the Greek economic crisis, Molly Crabapple -- called “Occupy’s greatest artist” by Rolling Stone -- speaks about the role of art in a world captured by a million cameras.