Have we found a blueprint for democratic participation online? The SOPA/PIPA debate provides the first example of how the Networked Public Sphere was able to shift the debate, and the outcome, on a piece of critical legislation, supported by some of the most powerful lobbies in Washington and starting out with broad bipartisan support. Combining network analysis, text analysis, human coding, and interviews, new research offers a unique insight into the dynamics of what the future of democratic participation could become. Yochai Benkler, co-director, Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society"
Yochai Benkler is the Berkman professor of Entrepreneurial Legal Studies at Harvard, and faculty co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. Since the 1990s he has played a part in characterizing the role of information commons and decentralized collaboration to innovation, information production, and freedom in the networked economy and society. His books include The Wealth of Networks: How social production transforms markets and freedom (Yale University Press 2006), which won academic awards from the American Political Science Association, the American Sociological Association, and the McGannon award for social and ethical relevance in communications. His work is socially engaged, winning him the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Pioneer Award for 2007, Public Knowledge's IP3 Award in 2006, and the Ford Foundation Visionaries Award in 2011. It is also anchored in the realities of markets, having been cited as "perhaps the best work yet about the fast moving, enthusiast-driven Internet" by the Financial Times and named best business book about the future in 2006 by Strategy and Business. Benkler has produced reports or served in an advisory capacity for a range communications and intellectual property regulators and policy makers at the national and international levels. His work can be freely accessed at benkler.org.