Clay Shirky at Berkman: Roundup and Pictures

Video from Clay’s book talk has been posted here.

Yesterday, internet luminary and writer Clay Shirky joined us for a special day of Berkman@10 events at the Berkman Center and Harvard Law School. In the afternoon, Clay lead an intimate conversation at the Berkman Center on “protest culture,” which we’ll be releasing the video of through MediaBerkman in the upcoming weeks. Clay also gave a book talk at Harvard Law School, on the very first day his book Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations was released, and shot to the #1 for the Computers and Internet category on David Weinberger liveblogged by the afternoon as well as the evening talks. Mary Joyce of the Internet & Democracy project offers her thoughts on the book talk as well. Cory Doctrow calls the book a “masterpiece” and reviews the book for boingboing.

Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations is now available at your local bookseller and online, so be sure to buy your copy today! To learn more about Clay Shirky’s work, visit his homepage.

More pictures have been posted to our flickr stream.

Live Updates from Today’s FCC Hearing at Harvard Law School, Pt 2

David Weinberger is liveblogging the event.

Kevin Parker is liveblogging the event.

Wendy Seltzer is liveblogging the event.

Drew Clark is liveblogging the event.

Join the live IRC Chat in the room.

Post a question for discussion here.

Listen to the live webcast here.

FCCBoston08 Tag Stream

Statement from Copps (PDF)

Statement from Adelstein (PDF)

(These notes are by no means complete and comprehensive – and represent a summary, not a transcript, of the event)

4:00: Kevin Parker writes:

“Back to questions…

C. Martin: Should we investigate usage caps over time? P. Clark: Yes, you need to be careful, but we should recognize that there are costs associated with usage. This allows ISPs to have a postive engagement with customers instead of a negative one. This is simillar to the way things work in wireless.

P. Clark: The models don’t work very well. How do we quantify what is acceptable congestion? This is hard and Comcast has tried to say that it is what doesn’t interfere with others. How do we impose fairness among users? Nobody can send bits faster than anyone else at the same time (this is the historical approach). There has to be some way to deal with congestion.”

3:50: Playback of submitted selected video comments from the public

3:30: Via David Weinberger:

“Daniel Weitzner of MIT says the entire Web is peer-to-peer, although not technically. People use the Net in a synchronous, P2P manner. E.g., pages are pulled together from info all over. We depend on the open nature of the Web to enable that.

Richard Bennett (network architect): Does free speech require abandoning the active mgt of net traffic? If so, then we have to shut down the Internet. Is it legit to manage the Net by discriminating by application? The Net and its constituent nets serve different apps. E.g., VOIP needs to avoid jitter. It makes sense to move apps that don’t care about jitter (e.g., email) to the back of the queue. BitTorrent is insensitive to jitter; you care about the time between first and last packet, but not jitter of individual packets….except for apps like Vuze, but RB doubts Vuze’s business viability. If we abandon app discriminatory we have to get rid of IP because it includes info about the app in the packets. Get rid of Wifi because QoS discriminates among apps. Get rid of difference between UDP and TCP. We have to get rid of discrimination within their own homes. Even on Ethernet we have to discriminate among apps, e.g., WoS for audio systems to avoid lipsynching issues If you add capacity to a network, you’ve only moved the bottleneck from the first hop to the second hop. NN would inhibit rural delivery since it depends on wifi. So, sit back. We’ll solve it with more bandwidth and with revisions of the apps that use it, like BitTorrent.

David Clark says that TV is central here because it increases the traffic and it’s a collision of pricing models. We should be partnering, not fighting. Let’s talk about business model. The usage cost to Comcast for a month of user usage might be around $0.50. TV usage is 40 times as much (taking reasonable estimates), i.e., $20/month to cover your user costs. What’s going to give is the all you can eat flat rate pricing. We have to find a way that will be acceptable to the user. David likes selling tiers of consumption.”

Live Updates from Today’s FCC Hearing at Harvard Law School

David Weinberger is liveblogging the event.

Kevin Parker is liveblogging the event.

Wendy Seltzer is liveblogging the event.

Drew Clark is liveblogging the event.

Join the live IRC Chat in the room.

Post a question for discussion here.

Listen to the live webcast here.

FCCBoston08 Tag Stream

(These notes are by no means complete and comprehensive – and represent a summary, not a transcript, of the event)

1:20: Kevin Parker on the Q + A portion of the panel

1:15: Drew Clark posts on the hearing

12:50: Professor Yoo: There’s no question that network providers must add capacity. In this world, the network owners have to make decision on how they’re going to configure their bandwidth. We’re now in world where we have many different transmission technologies and are susceptible to traffic problems. One suggestion: We need to build more bandwidth, but it’s expensive and difficult to predict about.

12:45: Tim Wu: I hope the commission takes the time to clarify one thing: To arrive at a very simple kind of rule. Whatever we think reasonable network management is, it should not include blocking lawful applications. I’ve been interested in this issue since my time in Silicon Valley, and I use to be on the other side of this debate. One of the things that always bothered me about selling the products I did, was selling these products to oppressive regimes. In these technologies, and in searching deep packet inspections, you have the tech of censorship being built into the system. We should think very carefully about allowing America – the home of the free and open internet – becoming a place that has a reputation for a filtered and closed internet.

Let me discuss how this intersects with policy. America has spent a lot of time advertising itself as the home of a free press and a free internet. We advertise ourselves as the model of free speech and open networks. Keeping the internet as the American internet. What happens here will be followed everywhere.

12:30: From Kevin Parker:

“Panelist 3 – Judge Bosley. In western Mass broadband is important for economic development. Small businesses need bandwidth. Who gets to say what we need? (Nobody should.) This sounds like slotting fees at supermarket, pay for the end of the aisle. But this has become anticompetitive.

Issue isn’t content, it is capacity. ISPs have a point here, but we need to have an open net to find the most creative and innovative solutions. What we need is a national broadband plan. As is, ISPs have no incentives to increase average speeds, etc.

Panelist 4 – David Cohen, EVP Comcast. Wants to be a participant and not the main course for the meal. Comcast wants to give customers a superior internet experience. 92% of the country has broadband availble through cable. What is the key to success? Market forces and a lack of gov’t regulation.

There is nothing wrong with network management. This must happen. We have to fight congestion, spam, and viruses. Bandwidth consumption is a real concern. Goal is to have a minimal impact on a small number of users. We don’t block any websites or applications (but HMS does!).”

12:20: David Weinberger on Yochai Benkler’s testimony

12:11: Panels Begin: Marvin Ammori: This is about the future of the internet. Comcast is deliberately targeting and interfering with p2p technologies, including Bittorrent and others. These technologies help to distribute open source software, high resolution photos, and video. Video services, like Bittorrent and Miro, threaten Comcast. By targeting p2p, Comcast is threatening innovation.

12:04: Gilles: We only provide distribution to licensed content and have agreements with the content providers on our network.

11:53: Technology demonstration of Vuze. Gilles BianRosa. The reason I am here is to foster transparency and openness. Vuze is one of the fastest growing video distribution platforms – we offer a high resolution experience, comparable to watching a DVD. There have been 20 million downloads of our application. We have more than 150 content partners, including PBS, BBC, Showtime, History Channel. The absence of enforceable ground rules threatens the openness of the internet. And we only have promises of good faith to protect us. Make the rules relevant and transparent, so innovators like Vuze can deliver – the future of the internet depends on it.

11:45: McDowell: Today we focus on the positive and constructive economic destruction caused by the vibrancy of new media. The new media economy is working through growing pains. In fact, Comscore reported that American viewed an eye-popping 10 billion online videos in December alone.

11:35: Adelstein: Our colleagues at the FTC, held their own hearing on net neutrality over 8 months ago. I’m glad we’re doing this now. We need to establish an effective internet bill of rights that will secure rights for generations to come. We must preserve the open and neutral character of the internet that’s been it’s hallmark from the very beginning. Right now we’re seeing a broadband market where telephone/isps control 93% of the broadband market… Consumers don’t want the internet to become another version of old media. We face a major challenge in this country making sure we deploy affordable broadband connection everywhere. I think that preserving the vibrant quality of the internet, and having high speed access, are issues that go hand in hand. Access translates into opportunity.

11:32: If we don’t get this right, we will have squandered a technology and an opportunity.

11:30: Now we have allegations that an operator is degrading/blocking p2p file programs. I am not saying that all of these services are unlawful. But the affect our choices in the future – what we say, where we can go, what info we can encounter, and how we can access it. How all of this turns out is a very big deal for each and every one of us. I keep saying: The time has come that the specific enforceable principle of non-discrimination at the FCC… should be added to the FCC’s internet policy statement.

11:25: Copps: I have long advocated that the commission get away from the beltway to hear from the people about these issues – and the future of the internet is one such issue. I see no reason for us to wait on a new law to get this going… Before we begin hearing from our panelists, consider for a moment where we are in chartering the future of the internet. Right now, network operators are making choices that will determine how Americans will communicate now and in the future. Some of their choices may be right, some of their choices may be wrong. These are hard and complex questions. But these critical questions are indeed being made, and they were being made in a virtual black box that the American public had little opportunity to peek into. If anyone is uncertain that these choices are indeed being made right now, let’s take a quicklook at what we learned in 2007. That was the year that one of the nation’s wireless providers rejected a pro-choice text message as too controversial.

11:18: Martin: Review of the FCC’s internet policy statement

11:16: Marky: Finally, the commission should examine these issues not only to discern corporate practice, but also to ascertain whether these actions are temporary – “managerial creations of the moment” that the carriers may find useful and make permanent for non-networking reasons. The beauty of the internet is its wonderful, chaotic, evolving nature, and it’s ability to reinvent itself every year.

11:13: Marky: I am pleased that the commission has returned to MA in exploring contemporary issues in the development of the internet. We should keep in mind (1) The internet is as much mine and yours as it is Verizons, AT&T’s, and Comast’s, (2) The nature of the net is really not about services provided by carriers themselves – they don’t provide internet services, they provide broadband access to the internet. This distinction is vital in my view.

11:07: We’re fortunate and delighted to say that Chairman Ed Markey could attend, and we want to welcome him to open with remarks.

FCC Hearing: Today

Today, the FCC is hosting a hearing on broadband network management practices on the campus of Harvard Law School, hosted by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society. In addition, the Berkman Center will host a public post-panel discussion and reception following the hearing. 

The FCC will hear from two panels of stakeholders who will offer policy and technical perspectives.  Panelists will include David L. Cohen, Executive Vice President of Comcast; Eric Klinker, Chief Technology Officer of BitTorrent; Marvin Ammori, General Counsel for Free Press; and Berkman Faculty Director Yochai Benkler.


The hearing will be audio webcast at this site, starting at 11 AM ET.

Social Tools

If you’re attending the hearing today, you can participate by posting questions and comments on our question tool (simply choose the instance for the Feb25FCCHearing). The and flickr to share them.

For updates throughout the day, visit our events blog.

Also be sure to check out Berkman fellow David Weinberger’s op-ed in this past Saturday’s Boston Globe on Net Neutrality and today’s hearing.

February 28: Berkman@10: Clay Shirky on “Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations”


Berkman@10: Clay Shirky on “Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations” hceuscover.jpg

Thursday, February 28, 6:00 PM
Austin West Classroom, Austin Hall
Harvard Law School
No RSVP Required – This Event is Free and Open to The Public


“Here Comes Everybody” is about the social changes coming as a result of the internet’s power to support group action. Sharing, conversation, collaboration, collective action; all of these forms of group effort have been hampered by the myriad real-world difficulties of finding and coordinating with others. Our new group-forming media have removed many of those difficulties, and we are in the middle of a transformation of all kinds of group action.

About Clay

Clay Shirky studies the way communications tools alter or amplify social life; his current work is on large-scale collaborative n800px-clayshirkyji1.jpgetworks. Mr. Shirky is on the faculty at NYU’s graduate Interactive Telecommunications Program, and has worked as an advisor or consultant to many organizations, including Yahoo, Microsoft, the U.S. Navy, the BBC, and Lego. He has also been an advisor to many social startups, including Meetup, Social Text,, Flickr, and Dodgeball. Mr. Shirky is the author of the forthcoming book, “Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations”, which examines the ways in which new forms of social media are allowing for new kinds of collaborative action.


+ Buy the book on Amazon

+ Clay’s Homepage

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School is proud to celebrate its tenth year as a research program founded to explore cyberspace, share in its study, and help pioneer its development. Through research, events, and discussion, Berkman@10 considers “The Future of the Internet” – to celebrate the work we have done together over the past decade, and to look ahead to what we hope to accomplish collectively in the next. Visit for more information.

(Image via Joi Ito and licensed under Creative Commons)

Harvard University Unanimously Votes ‘Yes’ for Open Access

(Cross posted from the Berkman Center Blog)

Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences has unanimously approved a motion for finished academic papers to be posted for free online, in an open access repository, on an opt-out basis.

The New York Times reported on the measure before the vote, where Stuart Shieber, a professor of computer science and who spearheaded the initiative, commented “As far as I know, everyone I’ve ever talked to is supportive of the underlying principle.”

Robert Darnton, Director of the Harvard University Library, expressed his enthusiasm in an op-ed to the Harvard Crimson, and stated “It will be a first step toward freeing scholarship from the stranglehold of commercial publishers by making it freely available through our own university repository. Instead of being the passive victims of the system, we can seize the initiative and take charge of it.”

Open Access leader Professor Peter Suber has an excellent roundup of links and resources related to the initiative, which you can check out on his blog. Professor Suber will be visiting the Berkman Center to give a talk on Open Access next month as part of our Berkman @ 10 Celebration. The Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed both cover the historic passage of the motion.

The Berkman Center has extensively discussed open access issues in the past, including at the 2007 Internet & Society Conference, where Stuart Shieber lead a working group session on “How Universities Can Support Open Access.” In addition, Gavin Yamey, senior editor of the PLoS Medicine, a peer-reviewed open-access journal , spoke at Harvard on “Opening Up to Open Access.” Harvard students Gregory Price and Elizabeth Stark also called on the University last spring to foster the development of open access to academic knowledge through a mandated repository. Berkman Fellow Melanie Dulong is also working on an Open Access Data Protocol with Science Commons, a project of Creative Commons.  Fellow Gene Koo has since the vote followed up with thoughts on the vote and what law schools can do, as well.

Congratulations to Professor Shieber and all those who helped work on the initiative!

MIT Media Lab Colloquium series: Yochai Benkler on Cooperation and Human Systems Design

MIT Media Lab Colloquium series
Yochai Benkler
Cooperation and Human Systems Design

Monday November 5, 2007
Bartos Theater
4:00-5:30 pm

Globalization and rapid innovation cycles make the social and economic environment more complex and harder to characterize for planning or pricing. In response, we see adoption of loosely-bound, permeable human systems — technical platforms, business processes, and institutional devices — that enable pervasive experimentation and learning through decentralization of practical capacity and authority to act. Providing such practical freedom for human agency creates new challenges in design for cooperation. Doing so requires attention to work in social and biological sciences, political science and business management, that diverges from dominant interpretations of human action as selfishly motivated, and developes a more cooperative view of human nature, human interaction, or both. Observed heterogeneity of motivational profiles and practices of sustained cooperation suggests the potential for design aimed not at aligning individual selfish incentives, but at enabling the dynamics of self-reinforcing, cooperative social-psycological processes.

Bio: 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. 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 received the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Pioneer Award in 2007, and the Public Knowledge IP3 Award in 2006.

October 23: Aaron Swartz on the “Open Library”

Berkman Center Luncheon Series

Tuesday, October 23, 12:30 PM
Berkman Center Conference Room
23 Everett St., 2nd Floor, Cambridge MA

Guest: Aaron Swartz
Topic: Open Library

Thanks to new technology, the grand vision of a library containing every book in the world is now within our grasp. The Open Library Project, a loose collection of technologists, publishers, librarians, and book-lovers, has taken up this challenge by trying to create a website collecting everything we know about books — including library records, publishers’ blurbs, full-text and scans, reviews, and more. Learn about the vision, the technology, the progress, and how you can join us.

About Aaron

Aaron Swartz is the Tech Lead for Open Library. He was previously a co-founder of, which was purchased by Condé Nast in late 2006. He was worked on Internet specifications for RSS and RDF and was one of the early team members of the Creative Commons project. He is the author of a number of free software packages and a co-founder of

+ Open Library demo

+ Open Library vision

+ Aaron Swartz’s website


This event will be webcast live. Webcast viewers can join the discussion through IRC text chat or in the virtual world Second Life. If you miss the live chat, catch the podcast audio & video at MediaBerkman.

RSVP is required, as space is limited. To RSVP, please send an email to by October 22 at 12:00PM.