Yochai Benkler is the Berkman Professor of Entrepreneurial Legal Studies at Harvard, and faculty co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. Before joining the faculty at Harvard Law School, he was Joseph M. Field ’55 Professor of Law at Yale. He writes about the Internet and the emergence of networked economy and society, as well as the organization of infrastructure, such as wireless communications.
In the 1990s he played a role in characterizing the centrality of information commons to innovation, information production, and freedom in both its autonomy and democracy senses. In the 2000s, he worked more on the sources and economic and political significance of radically decentralized individual action and collaboration in the production of information, knowledge and culture.
His work traverses a wide range of disciplines and sectors, and is taught in sundry professional schools and academic departments. In real world applications, his work has been widely discussed in both the business sector and civil society.
His books include The Wealth of Networks: How social production transforms markets and freedom (2006), which received the Don K. Price award from the American Political Science Association for best book on science, technology, and politics, the Donald McGannon award for best book on social and ethical relevance in communications policy research, was named best business book about the future by Stategy & Business, and otherwise enjoyed the gentle breath of Fortuna. His articles include “Overcoming Agoraphobia” (1997/98, initiating the debate over spectrum commons); “Commons as Neglected Factor of Information Production” (1998) and “Free as the Air to Common Use” (1998, characterizing the role of the commons in information production and its relation to freedom); “From Consumers to Users” (2000, characterizing the need to preserve commons as a core policy goal, across all layers of the information environment); “Coase’s Penguin, or Linux and the Nature of the Firm” (characterizing peer production as a basic phenomenon of the networked economy); and “Sharing Nicely” (2002, characterizing shareable goods and explaining sharing of material resources online). His work can be freely accessed at benkler.org. Benkler received the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Pioneer Award in 2007, and the Public Knowledge IP3 Award in 2006.