Lawyer, academic and activist Lawrence Lessig – who spent a decade championing more sensible intellectual property law, updated for the digital age – is now catalyzing change in America’s corrupt political system, which he argues is the root problem that makes solving others so difficult.

The Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School and director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Lessig is widely known in the global internet community as a vocal proponent of reduced legal restrictions on digital copyright, trademark and radio frequency in technology. He is a founding board member of Creative Commons, a non-profit organization that develops, supports and stewards better copyright practices to maximize digital creativity, sharing and innovation.

Currently, Lessig is largely focused on illuminating – and revolutionizing – the corrupting influence of money in American politics. In 2011, Lessig founded Rootstrikers, an organization dedicated to this mission. In his latest book, Republic, Lost (Twelve, 2011), he shows just how far the U.S. has spun off course – and how citizens can regain control. As the New York Times wrote, “Mr. Lessig’s vision is at once profoundly pessimistic – the integrity of the nation is collapsing under the best of intentions – and deeply optimistic. Simply legislative surgery, he says, can put the nation back on the path to greatness.”

Lessig’s TED 2013 talk on the subject went viral – a testament to his inspiring speaking talent, but also to the urgency of his rallying cry: only the people can force lasting change on America’s broken system.

Prior to joining the Harvard faculty, Lessig was a professor at Stanford Law School, where he founded the school’s Center for Internet and Society, and at the University of Chicago. He clerked for Judge Richard Posner on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court. Lessig serves on the Board of the AXA Research Fund, and on the advisory boards of Creative Commons and Sunlight Foundation.

Named one of Scientific American's Top 50 Visionaries, he is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Association, and has received numerous awards, including the Free Software Foundation’s Freedom Award and the Fastcase 50 Award. Lessig holds a BA in economics and BS in management from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA in philosophy from Cambridge and a JD from Yale.


Basic Books (November 30, 1999)


Basic Books (December 5, 2006)


CreateSpace (February 19, 2014)

Lawrence Lessig Website

Harvard Law School

Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics (Harvard University)


Creative Commons