Lawrence Lessig

Lawrence Lessig is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School, and the director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University.

 
 

Recent Articles

Calling for a Convention

Amending the Constitution is our best bet for fixing Congress.

To keep money from corrupting our democratic politics, we need constitutional change. No doubt lots can be done by statute alone—meaningful transparency rules, such as the Disclose Act, and small-dollar public funding, such as the Fair Elections Now Act. The Supreme Court, however, has all but guaranteed that these won’t be enough. Transparency by itself won’t build trust; public funding can only be voluntary; and independent expenditures are all but certain to swamp even the best reforms tolerated by the Court. If we’re ever going to get a Congress “dependent,” as James Madison put it in Federalist Paper No. 52, “upon the People alone,” and not “the Funders,” it is clear that Congress will need new constitutional authority. Yet it is also clear that Congress won’t ask for this authority itself. The chance that this Congress, or any Congress elected in the current environment, could muster 67 votes in the Senate to alter Washington’s economy of influence is zero. Congress is the...

Innovation, Regulation, and the Internet

I n a small hearing room in the House Rayburn Office Building, I met with a group of Capitol Hill staffers to discuss the issue of "open access" in broadband cable. "Broadband" is what policy makers call the next generation of Internet access--faster and always on. Cable is now the dominant mode for serving broadband. And the open-access debate is about whether customers get to choose the Internet service provider (ISP) that serves them broadband cable or must take the ISP of their cable company's choice. There were maybe 10 staffers in the hearing room, and though kind people call me young, only one was my age (38) or older. They were kids, though they were said to be the ears of the House on this and other issues of cyberspace and its future. The session started as any law school seminar would. I played the professor--I am a professor--and I laid out an argument about how to understand the present open-access debate. Open access, I argued, has been the rule for narrowband Internet (...