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'Public Life in a Wired World' subject of May 5 Aurora Forum

Has the Internet created new forums for public discourse and helped to advance democracy? Or has it exacerbated the fragmentation of public life and accelerated the privatization of ideas?

These are some of the questions Stanford law Professor Lawrence Lessig and University of California-Berkeley law Professor Pamela Samuelson will address at the next Aurora Forum, "Public Life in a Wired World," set for 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 5, in Kresge Auditorium. The forum will be moderated by Geoffrey Nunberg, a senior researcher at the Center for the Study of Language and Information and a consulting professor of linguistics at Stanford.

Lessig is founder of Stanford's Center for Internet and Society and author of Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace (1999) and The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World (2001). In October 2002, he argued before the Supreme Court for petitioners challenging the constitutionality of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998. Recently, he has backed a plan by U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, to introduce anti-spam legislation, which he said would, if passed, succeed at reducing unsolicited commercial e-mail. (Indeed, he has said he will resign from his job if his prediction is wrong.)

Samuelson holds joint appointments at Berkeley's Law School and the School of Information Management and Systems. She is an expert on intellectual property law. In 1998, she was named one of the 50 most outstanding women lawyers in the United States by the National Law Journal.

Nunberg currently is a fellow at the Humanities Center. He has written scholarly articles on a range of topics, including semantics and pragmatics; information access; written-language structure; multilingualism and language policy; and the cultural implications of digital technologies. He does a regular language feature for National Public Radio's Fresh Air and frequently contributes to the New York Times.

Sponsored by Continuing Studies, the Aurora Forum brings panels of socially engaged writers, artists and scholars to Stanford to discuss the past, present and future of the nation's ideals and aspirations. All events take place at 7:30 p.m. in Kresge Auditorium and are free and open to the public. For a full schedule of dates, panelists and topics, visit the web at



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