Bio

John is the Head of School at Phillips Academy, Andover.  He also serves as a Trustee of the Knight Foundation and president of the Board of Directors of the Digital Public Library of America.

John’s research and teaching focus on new media and learning.  He has written extensively on Internet law, intellectual property, and the potential of new technologies to strengthen democracies locally and around the world.  He is the author or co-author of several books, including Interop: The Promise and Perils of Highly Interconnected Systems (Basic Books, 2012) (with Urs Gasser); Intellectual Property Strategy (MIT Press, 2012); Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives (Basic Books, 2008) (with Urs Gasser); and Access Denied: The Practice and Politics of Global Internet Filtering (MIT Press, 2008).

John served previously as the Henry N. Ess III Professor of Law and Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources at Harvard Law School.  He is a director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, where he was executive director from 2002-2008. John came back to the Harvard Law School from the law firm Ropes & Gray, where he worked on intellectual property, Internet law, and private equity transactions. He also served as a Special Assistant at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency during the Clinton administration.  He previously served as a venture executive at Highland Capital Partners and on the Board of Directors of the Mass2020 Foundation, the Ames Foundation, and Open Knowledge Commons, among others.  John was a Visiting Professor of Information Law and Policy at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland for the 2007-2008 academic year.

John graduated from Harvard College, the University of Cambridge, and Harvard Law School.  He was a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar to the University of Cambridge and the U.S. EPA Gold Medal (highest national award).

(Last updated October, 2012)

30 thoughts on “Bio

  1. [...] John Palfrey of Harvard Law’s Berkman Center, hits the nail on the head regarding Digital Natives, or DN’s as he calls them. He purports that for those who’ve grown up in the digital age, most information is scanned at the headline level, that very select pieces will be pursued for some level of detail and that those which are pursued need some level of authenticity, trust and a feedback loop. It’s a perfect explanation of why blogs and social networking are so successful with youth. They ‘get’ the technology, they’re able to build relationships based on trust and common ground and there’s tons of opportunity for immediate and interactive feedback. [...]

  2. [...] This is untrue. Unless, that is, Cory is implying that Radio Open Source has been somehow been tricked into releasing their content under CC license since day 1. And John Palfrey sits on the Radio Open Source board. By any measure, this is a guy who understands copyright better than most people in the world and is there to act as an advisor to Brendan and the gang. I can’t see how this claim of a grave misunderstanding holds any water. [...]

  3. [...] John Palfrey, on the basis of a comment to YouTube’s copyright liability risks, has made a very important and outside-the-box suggestion as to how to deal with the present copyright uncertainty in the digital realm: “One might imagine a process by which citizens who create user-generated content (think of a single YouTube video file or a syndicated vlog series, a podcast audio file or series of podcasts, a single online essay or a syndicated blog, a photo covering the perfectly captures a breaking news story or a series of evocative images, and so forth) might consistently adopt a default license (one of the CC licenses […]) for all content that they create, with the ability also to adopt a separate license for an individual work that they may create in the future. [...]

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