notes and fruits of our berkman retreat

looking to law for solution is diversion
resisting others who use law to preserve their interest is a tempting looser

Dear Charlie:

A couple of summers ago, I sent a memo to the faculty describing a process
for periodic conversations with individual faculty members to discuss their
research and teaching and to talk about ways that the school can provide
support. [snip] You are in the
group of people with whom I would like to meet with this summer (or early
in the fall if a summer meeting is not possible). Julie from my office
will call you to set up a time. In anticipation of that meeting, I would
very much appreciate your taking the time to write responses to these four
questions concerning your past and future scholarship and teaching. If
possible, you should send your responses to me a week before our
meeting. The meetings work best when people write in some reasonable
detail so that we can have a serious and productive discussion. I look
forward to talking with you.

1. What have been your central scholarly and research projects over the
past 3-5 years?

2. What do you think will be your central scholarly and research projects
for the next 3-5 years?

3. What could the school do to support your work better? To cite just one
example, is there any assistance we can offer to enable you to enhance the
international or comparative dimensions of your work?

4. What courses and seminars have you taught in the past 3-5 years, and how
do you think this teaching program relates to both your research and the
school’s needs?

Thanks very much.



Dear Elena

My project is the Berkman Center. It’s my best shot at addressing the problems of the world. I think of it as a project for the world, for my country, for Harvard, for my community, my family and myself.

I am eon, d of c. I founded the Berkman Center to promote a cyber society built on principles of openness and sharing. I hold the Center to this vision. I feel its force. May the Force be with you.

: you will see the front page of our 1998 Internet & Society conference site. At this conference, held in Sanders Theater, I announced our presence and set our agenda. The mission still holds. The smiling face next to the question is Fred Friendly’s, who helped found public broadcasting and who taught me the power of moderated Socratic discussion.

(1) “Will the Net Inevitably Drive a Deeper Wedge Between Rich and Poor?” – CyberStrategy for Jamaica: Development through Focused Connectivity.

My deepest hope in founding the Berkman Center was to find a development strategy to help people who have been oppressed.

On August 1, 2006, Jamaica’s Emancipation and Independence Day, I am hosting a program on the Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica’s inaugural broadcast titled “Emancipation and Independence” in which Jamaican leaders talk with me about Jamaica’s journey to freedom and the issues of emancipation and independence which still confront them. This program and accompanying distribution through public media is a joint production by PCBJ and the Berkman Center in association with SET. SET is a rehabilitation program rooted in Kingston’s prisons which teaches self development and digital skills, and which aspires to spread its wake-up development message to all Jamaicans. SET stands for Students Expressing Truth, which is the name the prison inmates chose to assert the core value their rehabilitation.

PBCJ, SET and Berkman will follow with a series of programs starting in October in which P.J. Patterson and Edward Seaga, the two former prime ministers of Jamaica from the two opposing political parties will help me introduce and frame issues dividing Jamaicans. Each of these issue introductions will be followed by a moderated Socratic discussion and a gathering and integration of public response. We hope to launch PBCJ as a global cyber source and point of connection for Jamaicans the world over by. We will do so by creating networks of public media connection among Jamaican diaspora communities. Jamaica through PBCJ will thus define the audience it seeks to reach and serve, and from which it seeks response. This is a strategy to promote integration and growth of positive national identity. We hope Jamaica will show the world how to do it. Kevin Wallen, who leads SET and will be a prominent program participant, asks rhetorically, “Why can’t we be leaders in enlightenment?” Kevin is a Berkman Fellow.……

(2) Responsibility in Higher Education – Cyberstrategy for Harvard

Harvard produces scholarly knowledge by a process encrusted with inefficiencies that need no longer obtain. It makes no sense for a Harvard scholar to produce work, then give it to a for profit corporation which returns it for peer review, then sells it back to us, and makes us pay for permission to use it.

Harvard is poised to take a leading role in open access, open formats, and open standards. Derek Bok, Steve Hyman, Sid Verba, promise great leadership. A university committee on Open Access led by Stuart Shieber has been preparing recommendations to restructure our process in respect to this problem. Terry Fisher sits on Stuart’s committee. This is work the Berkman Center wants to amplify. As Berkman moves from being a center of the Law school to being a center of the University, and as we plan our next Internet & Society Conference with colleagues from other schools, we have opportunity to acquaint Harvard at all levels with the importance of the open access issue.

Our immediate path forward here is one on which you could greatly help. We would like to put a motion before the HLS Faculty, moved by Terry Fisher and seconded by me, with argument in support by Stuart Shieber. The essence of the motion is adoption of a faculty policy granting Harvard a non-exclusive license on scholarly articles to permit Harvard to make the work available in an open-access open-format repository. We are hopeful that once this policy is fully explained and understood it will be voted overwhelmingly, and that consideration of the issue by our faculty will serve as a model for other faculties and schools of Harvard. Where Harvard leads, other universities may follow.…

(3) Building a Commons – CyberOne: Law in the Court of Public Opinion.

CyberOne is a new course I am teaching in the fall. The class will proceed with dual focus on medium and message. I am joined in teaching the course by my daughter, Rebecca Nesson. We are offering the class jointly in the Law and Extension schools.

The Law focus of the course is on empathic argument and the constitutional structures of code in cyberspace. Empathic argument connects emotionally with the person to be persuaded by making clear to that person that you understand their problem. Only then will they open to listening and moving. Constitutional structures of code in cyberspace are the cyber architectures of open communication and feedback.

The Extension focus of the course is on delivery of content and integration of feedback through virtual worlds. The Extension School leads Harvard in its engagement with interactive cyber media, and is the route through which a wealth of Harvard content can be shaped and opened to the commons.

Rebecca and I intend not only to teach a great course to multiple audiences but also to explore a new role for the Extension School in relation to the other schools of Harvard, and to demonstrate how Harvard can contribute to the structure and content of a new public discourse space.…

Winter Evidence will continue to be my base. I have taught seminars on the American Jury, Internet, and Biotech, but all to feed into my Evidence class and out through Berkman. My Biotech seminar focuses on the challenge to humanity inherent in our gaining control of our own human code. This becomes a form of the question whether we are capable of governing ourselves.

I felt last winter’s Evidence class achieved a high point in my teaching career (with a misstep at the end about which I will describe at our meeting). This Evidence class was the laboratory out of which CyberOne: Law in the Court of Public Opinion grew.

I hope through all of this that i can put across the argument that we have great power in our hands. We have responsibility to use it well. We have another chance. Our biggest challenge is to recognize that we are in a downhill battle and not to overreach. We will win respect by being gentle to our enemies. We will defeat them by making them friends.



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