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Yochai Benkler

Jack N. and Lillian R. Berkman Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies, Harvard Law SchoolDirector, Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

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Yochai Benkler's Homepage

Yochai Benkler is the Berkman Professor of Entrepreneurial Legal Studies at Harvard, and faculty co-director of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society. Before joining the faculty at Harvard Law School, he was Joseph M. Field '55 Professor of Law at Yale. He writes about the Internet and the emergence of networked economy and society, as well as the organization of infrastructure, such as wireless communications.

In the 1990s he played a role in characterizing the centrality of information commons to innovation, information production, and freedom in both its autonomy and democracy senses. In the 2000s, he worked more on the sources and economic and political significance of radically decentralized individual action and collaboration in the production of information, knowledge and culture.

His work traverses a wide range of disciplines and sectors, and is taught in sundry professional schools and academic departments. In real world applications, his work has been widely discussed in both the business sector and civil society.

His books include The Wealth of Networks: How social production transforms markets and freedom (2006), which received the Don K. Price award from the American Political Science Association for best book on science, technology, and politics, the Donald McGannon award for best book on social and ethical relevance in communications policy research, was named best business book about the future by Stategy & Business, and otherwise enjoyed the gentle breath of Fortuna. His articles include "Overcoming Agoraphobia" (1997/98, initiating the debate over spectrum commons); "Commons as Neglected Factor of Information Production" (1998) and "Free as the Air to Common Use" (1998, characterizing the role of the commons in information production and its relation to freedom); "From Consumers to Users" (2000, characterizing the need to preserve commons as a core policy goal, across all layers of the information environment); "Coase's Penguin, or Linux and the Nature of the Firm" (characterizing peer production as a basic phenomenon of the networked economy); and "Sharing Nicely" (2002, characterizing shareable goods and explaining sharing of material resources online). His work can be freely accessed at benkler.org. Benkler received the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Pioneer Award in 2007, and the Public Knowledge IP3 Award in 2006.


Projects & Tools

AI: Media and Information Quality

As autonomous systems play an increasing role in selecting the content we see online, questions arise about AI's influence on human judgment, opinions, and perceptions. More

Cooperation

The Cooperation Group is an interdisciplinary community of scholars studying networked cooperation. Our current activities include a series of empirical research projects on… More

Broadband

Since submitting its Next Generation Connectivity report to the FCC's National Broadband Plan committee, the Berkman Center has continued its research on broadband policy. More

Broadband Review

The Berkman Center conducted an independent expert review of existing literature and studies about broadband deployment and usage throughout the world, in order to help inform the… 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

Law Lab

The Law Lab is a multidisciplinary research initiative and collaborative network of University, nonprofit and industry partners. Its mission is to investigate and harness the… More


Publications

Wednesday, Aug 16, 2017

Partisanship, Propaganda, and Disinformation: Online Media and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election

In this study, we analyze both mainstream and social media coverage of the 2016 United States presidential election. More

Tuesday, Feb 10, 2015

Score Another One for the Internet? The Role of the Networked Public Sphere in the U.S. Net Neutrality Policy Debate

A new paper from the Media Cloud team concludes that a diverse set of actors working in conjunction through the networked public sphere played a central, arguably decisive, role… More

Thursday, Jul 25, 2013

Social Mobilization and the Networked Public Sphere: Mapping the SOPA-PIPA Debate

This paper uses a new set of online research tools to develop a detailed study of the public debate over proposed legislation in the United States designed to give prosecutors and… More

Tuesday, Nov 6, 2012

Open Wireless vs. Licensed Spectrum: Evidence from Market Adoption

The paper reviews evidence from eight wireless markets: mobile broadband; wireless healthcare; smart grid communications; inventory management; access control; mobile payments;… More

Tuesday, Aug 9, 2011

The Penguin and the Leviathan: How Cooperation Triumphs over Self-Interest

Yochai Benkler draws on cutting-edge findings from neuroscience, economics, sociology, evolutionary biology, political science, and a wealth of real world examples to reveal how… More

Tuesday, Apr 27, 2010

A Tale of Two Blogospheres: Discursive Practices on the Left and Right

This paper compares the practices of discursive production and participation among top U.S. political blogs on the left, right, and center during the summer of 2008 and finds… More

Monday, Feb 15, 2010

Next Generation Connectivity

A review of broadband Internet transitions and policy from around the world

The FCC announced that the Berkman Center would conduct an independent expert review of existing literature and studies about broadband deployment and usage throughout the world… More

Monday, Mar 30, 2009

Dynamic remodeling of in-group bias during the 2008 presidential election

People often favor members of their own group, while discriminating against members of other groups. Such in-group favoritism has been shown to play an important role in human… More

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Wealth of Networks

How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom

In this comprehensive social theory of the Internet and the networked information economy, Benkler describes how patterns of information, knowledge, and cultural production are… More


News

Thursday, Jul 12, 2018

Understanding Media and Information Quality in an Age of Artificial Intelligence, Automation, Algorithms and Machine Learning

Technology can be a threat to the integrity and quality of media, but also a source of potential solutions. More

Tuesday, Oct 15, 2013

Shaw and Benkler win Best Published Article Award in Information Technology and Politics from the APSA

Berkman fellow Aaron Shaw and faculty member Yochai Benkler have won the Best Published Article Award in Information Technology and Politics published in 2012 from the American… More

Tuesday, Feb 5, 2013

Yochai Benkler's "Open Wireless vs. Licensed Spectrum: Evidence from Market Adoption" published in latest issue of JOLT

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University is pleased to announce the publication of Open Wireless vs. Licensed Spectrum: Evidence from Market Adoption,… More

Monday, 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

Tuesday, Nov 8, 2011

New Yochai Benkler Working Paper - Open Wireless vs. Licensed Spectrum: Evidence from Market Adoption

The Berkman Center is pleased to share a working paper from Harvard Law School Professor and Berkman Center Faculty Co-Director Yochai Benkler. More

Thursday, Sep 22, 2011

Radio Berkman 183: The Cooperation

This week on Radio Berkman Yochai Benkler discusses his new book The Penguin and the Leviathan: How Cooperation Triumphs over Self-Interest with David Weinberger... More

Thursday, Sep 22, 2011

The Penguin and the Leviathan on Bookshelves Now

The Berkman Center is pleased to announce that Faculty Co-Director and Berkman Professor of Entrepreneurial Legal Studies at Harvard Yochai Benkler's The Penguin and the Leviathan… More

Thursday, May 26, 2011

61st Annual Conference of the International Communication Association

Attending ICA 2011 this week and trying to figure out which sessions to take in? A number of Berkman Center people are also participating in ICA 2011... More

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Radio Berkman 182: Fear of a Networked Fourth Estate

This week on Radio Berkman: Yochai Benkler shares his analysis of Wikileaks with Dan Jones... More

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Yochai Benkler receives Ford Foundation ‘Visionaries Award’

Yochai Benkler, Faculty Co-Director, Berkman Center, and Jack N. and Lillian R. Berkman Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies, Harvard Law School, today received the $100,000 Ford… More

Wednesday, Mar 16, 2011

Harnessing technology for social good

[updated April 11]

Last month the Ford Foundation hosted the Wired for Change conference, and a pack of Berkman Center folks, friends, and family were in New York for the event. Ford has posted full… More

Tuesday, Feb 15, 2011

Questions for Secretary Clinton concerning "Internet freedom"

Faculty associate Matthew Hindman provoked an energetic email exchange among members of the extended Berkman Center community today, in anticipation of Secretary Clinton's … More

Thursday, Feb 18, 2010

Radio Berkman 143: Fast, Cheap, and Everywhere

This week on Radio Berkman: David Weinberger interviews Yochai Benkler about the Berkman Center's substantial report for the FCC on broadband deployment and policy around the… More

Tuesday, Jul 14, 2009

Harvard’s Berkman Center to Conduct Independent Review of Broadband Studies to Assist FCC

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University will conduct an independent expert review of existing literature and studies about broadband deployment and usage… More

Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009

On Remix and Born Digital

book reviews in Science Magazine

The Books et al. section in the current issue of Science features two Berkman Center-related pieces of interest to the wider community. Yochai Benkler considers Lawrence Lessig's… More

Thursday, Apr 2, 2009

Investigating in-group bias in the 2008 Democratic primary

The Berkman Center is pleased to announce the first publication to emerge from the weekly seminar of Berkman’s interdisciplinary Cooperation research project: "Dynamic remodeling… More

Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009

Berkman Center’s ‘Media Cloud’ To Offer Insights on Media Trends, the Blogosphere and News Industry Dynamics

Thomson Reuters Contributes Calais Web Service to New Research Tool from the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University

Thomson Reuters has teamed with Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society to support the new ‘Media Cloud’ open research tool. Debuting in Q2, 2009, Media Cloud… More

Monday, Sep 29, 2008

Harvard Graduate Student Awards - Applications Now Available

We're pleased to announce the BCIS Harvard Graduate Student Awards, intended to help Harvard University graduate students take interdisciplinary approaches to exploring Internet… More

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2008

Join Professor Benkler's Cooperation Research Group

Local research assistants are wanted to join Professor Yochai Benkler's group this fall, which is embarking on a new effort to provide a map of commons-based and cooperative peer… More

Tuesday, Jul 8, 2008

Rebooting America: Ideas for Resdesigning American Democracy for the Internet Age

Personal Democracy Forum has released Rebooting America, including essays from Yochai Benkler, danah boyd, Gene Koo, David Weinberger, and many more. More


Community

Law and Political Economy blog

The Role of Technology in Political Economy

Yochai Benkler describes the limitations of the popular view of economic inequality and technology

Wednesday, Jul 25, 2018

Courses

Communications and Internet Law and Policy - Winter 2019

The course will provide an introduction and overview to questions of communications and Internet law and policy. More

Communications and Internet Law and Policy - Winter 2018

This course will provide an introduction and overview to questions of communications and Internet law and policy. More

Technology and Inequality - Fall 2017

The course will consider the role of technological change in shaping social and economic patterns, focusing in particular on the distribution of wealth in society. More

Communications and Internet Law and Policy Fall 2014

The course will provide an introduction and overview to questions of communications and Internet law and policy. The intensive semester will combine several lectures and in-class… More

Property - Spring 2014

Basic introduction to property and the role of law in the construction of markets and social relations; an introduction to the vocabulary and grammar of legal forms; and initial… More

Communications and Internet Law and Policy - Winter 2014

The course will provide an introduction and overview to questions of communications and Internet law and policy. More

Communications and Internet Law and Policy - Fall 2012

The course will provide an introduction and overview to questions of communications and Internet law and policy. More

Intellectual Property in the Digital Environment - Winter 2012

The course will consider the changes to the organization of information, knowledge, and cultural production in the networked environment, and how they have affected, and been… More

Communications and Internet Law and Policy - Fall 2011

The course will provide an introduction and overview to questions of communications and Internet law and policy. More

Communications and Internet Law and Policy - Fall 2009

The course discusses the emergence of the networked information economy and society, and the ways in which law and policy shape both economic relations and political values in the… More

Communications and Internet Law and Policy - Winter 2009

The course will provide an introduction and overview to questions of communications and Internet law and policy. 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

Introduction to Patents, Copyrights, and Similar Exclusive Rights Regimes - Fall 2007

The course will offer an introduction to the basic institutional systems that regulate information production and exchange through the definition and allocation of exclusive… More


Events

Oct 4, 2018 @ 5:30 PM

Network Propaganda

Manipulation, Disinformation, and Radicalization in American Politics

VIDEO & PODCAST: New research on the media ecosystem around the 2016 US election offer new perspectives and methods for diagnosing the sources of, and potential solutions for, the… More

Oct 17, 2017 @ 12:00 PM

Will Wikipedia exist in 20 years?

Featuring Katherine Maher, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, in conversation with Harvard Law School Professor Yochai Benkler

Join us for a stimulating conversation highlighting different perspectives of the question, "Will Wikipedia exist in 20 years?" More

Feb 14, 2017 @ 12:00 PM

Hyperloop Law: Autonomy, Infrastructure, and Transportation Startups

featuring General Counsel of Hyperloop One, Marvin Ammori

The future of transportation may include Google's autonomous vehicles, Uber's flying cars, and Amazon's delivery drones--all bound together by a high-speed hyperloop backbone. You… More

Sep 27, 2016 @ 4:00 PM

Power and Participation in the Networked Public Sphere

with John Palfrey, Yochai Benkler, Intisar Rabb, Zeynep Tufekci, Catherine Bracy, and Jonathan Zittrain

A creative discussion about the impact of the networked public sphere on global events, power dynamics, and our society at large, and how that influence may be changing in years… More

Mar 25, 2015 @ 6:00 PM

Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World

With Berkman Fellow, Bruce Schneier. Moderated by Jonathan Zittrain with special guests, Yochai Benkler, Joe Nye, Sara Watson and Melissa Hathaway.

In Data and Goliath, security expert Bruce Schneier offers another path, one that values both security and privacy. He shows us exactly what we can do to reform our government… 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

Feb 3, 2014 @ 5:00 PM

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?… More

Oct 18, 2011 @ 6:00 PM

The Penguin and the Leviathan: How Cooperation Triumphs over Self-Interest

Yochai Benkler, Berkman Center Faculty Co-Director

In his new book, Yochai Benkler uses evidence from neuroscience, economics, sociology, biology, and real-world examples to break down the myth of self-interest and replace it with… More

Sep 12, 2011 @ 5:00 PM

News and Entertainment in the Digital Age: A Vast Wasteland Revisited

In 1961, Newt Minow – then Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission – delivered a landmark speech to the National Association of Broadcasters on “Television and the… 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

Dec 10, 2009 @ 1:00 PM

FCC "Workshop: Review and Discussion of Broadband Deployment Research"

The FCC is holding a public workshop on two independent studies that were requested in connection with the development of the National Broadband Plan: the Berkman Center's "Next… More

Sep 23, 2009 @ 7:00 PM

Communication and Human Development: The Freedom Connection?

Amartya Sen, Michael Spence, Yochai Benkler, Clotilde Fonseca

Nobel Laureates Amartya Sen and Michael Spence joined Information and Communication Technology (ICT) experts Yochai Benkler and Clotilde Fonseca in a public discussion of the role… More

Oct 16, 2007 @ 2:10 AM

Mix and Mash: A Discussion and Screening of (Illegal) Remixes

with Yochai Benkler

Yochai Benkler hosts Mix and Mash: A Discussion and Screening of (Illegal) Remixes More