Google pledges $2 million to support Law School center

The Center for Internet and Society focuses on studying interaction between new technologies and public policy

Google Inc. has pledged $2 million to support the Law School's Center for Internet and Society (CIS), a public interest technology law and policy program. The collaboration seeks to establish a balance between the right to access and use information and the ownership of information.

"The work done at CIS, exploring how to enhance availability of knowledge and information while supporting its producers and owners, addresses one of the most important questions of our time," said Dean Larry Kramer, the Richard E. Lang Professor of Law. "And Google is unique in private industry for the depth of its commitment to finding fair and workable solutions to this same question."

Lawrence Lessig, director of the center and the C. Wendell and Edith M. Carlsmith Professor of Law, said Google's support will be critical to achieving a healthy balance between copyright protection and creative license. "We will use this support to build a network of legal resources to achieve in practice the balance that copyright law and the First Amendment intend," he said.

Founded in 2000, the center brings together scholars, scientists and students to study the interaction between new technologies and public policy. It explores how technology can bring about change and how free speech, innovation, security and privacy are affected by developments in computers, databases, networks, surveillance capabilities and encryption technologies.

In recent years, the center's work has focused on intellectual property, free speech, privacy and security. Its intellectual-property projects aim to reform copyright and patent regulation to better conform to the current information economy.

The center's most recent initiative is the Fair Use Project, which seeks to defend "fair use" rights in a digital environment through declaratory judgment actions and litigation. Anthony Falzone, executive director of the project, said it will offer skilled representation to artists, scholars, filmmakers and others who typically cannot afford it. "We are going to team up not only with top academics and public interest organizations but also with leading lawyers and law firms, to leverage our resources and magnify our impact," he said. "In doing so, we hope to not only level the playing field but to change the way many owners of intellectual property rights approach fair use issues."