News / Lessig Presented SFI Lecture


The Sara Fine Institute (SFI) was pleased to welcome Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law at Stanford University, as the presenter of the 2008 SFI Annual Lecture. The lecture was held on Thursday, September 25, 2008, at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Law. The lecture hall was overflowing with attendees, many students from both the iSchool and the School of Law. Professor Lessig is the founder of the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford and is on the Board of the Creative Commons project. He is a leading figure, both internationally and in the United States, in a field that lies at the intersection of constitutional law and intellectual property law. Professor Lessig presented “A Declaration for Independence,” discussing the growing threat to some of the most important institutions in our culture and political life from an improper dependence on money. Lessig described this threat academic and governmental institutions, as well as the developing movement to check it.

The lecture was presented by the Sara Fine Institute at the School of Information Sciences. The Institute is dedicated to examining the ways in which technology impacts interpersonal communications and relationships with family, friends, professional colleagues, governing bodies, health care providers, and educational institutions. SFI Faculty Affiliates conduct research on social, political, ethical, medical, technical, and educational issues via innovative research projects and campus-community partnerships. Each year, the Institute hosts a lecture featuring a leading researcher or speaker on a current topic around the impact of technology. The 2008 SFI Lecture was sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Law and School of Information Sciences as well as by Panopto, a corporation specializing in scalable rich media systems.

Lessig is the C. Wendell and Edith M. Carlsmith Professor of Law at Stanford University. He teaches and writes in the areas of constitutional law, contracts, and the law of cyberspace. Prior to joining the Stanford faculty, he was the Berkman Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, and a Professor at the University of Chicago. He clerked for Judge Richard Posner on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and Justice Antonin Scalia on the United States Supreme Court.

For much of his career, Professor Lessig focused on law and technology, especially as it affects copyright. He represented web site operator Eric Eldred in the ground-breaking case Eldred v. Ashcroft, a challenge to the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. His current academic work addresses a kind of "corruption."

The 2008 SFI Lecture will be available online shortly. For more information, visit