With the radical changes in information production that the Internet has introduced, we stand at an important moment of transition, says Yochai Benkler in this thought-provoking book. The phenomenon he describes as social production is reshaping markets, while at the same time offering new opportunities to enhance individual freedom, cultural diversity, political discourse, and justice. But these results are by no means inevitable: a systematic campaign to protect the entrenched industrial information economy of the last century threatens the promise of today’s emerging networked information environment.
In this comprehensive social theory of the Internet and the networked information economy, Benkler describes how patterns of information, knowledge, and cultural production are changing—and shows that the way information and knowledge are made available can either limit or enlarge the ways people can create and express themselves. He describes the range of legal and policy choices that confront us and maintains that there is much to be gained—or lost—by the decisions we make today.
Yochai Benkler (born 1964) is an Israeli-American author and the Berkman Professor of Entrepreneurial Legal Studies at Harvard Law School. He is also a faculty co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.
From 1984 to 1987, Benkler was a member and treasurer of the Kibbutz Shizafon. He received his LL.B. from Tel-Aviv University in 1991 and J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1994. He worked at the law firm Ropes & Gray from 1994–1995. He clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer from 1995 to 1996. Benkler is the last person to clerk for a U.S. Supreme Court justice without having prior judicial clerkship experience.
He was a professor at New York University School of Law from 1996 to 2003, and visited at Yale Law School and Harvard Law School (during 2002–2003), before joining the Yale Law School faculty in 2003. In 2007, Benkler joined Harvard Law School, where he teaches and is a faculty co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society. Benkler is on the advisory board of the Sunlight Foundation. In 2011, his research led him to receive the $100,000 Ford Foundation Social Change Visionaries Award.