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John Palfrey

Professor of Law and Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources , Harvard Law School ( USA)

John Palfrey

John is Henry N. Ess III Professor of Law and Vice Dean for Library and Information Resources at Harvard Law School. He is also a faculty co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, where he was executive director from 2002-2008.

John’s research and teaching focus on Internet law, intellectual property, and the potential of new technologies to strengthen democracies locally and around the world. He is the author or co-author of several books, including Intellectual Property Strategy (MIT Press, 2011); Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives (Basic Books, 2008); and Access Denied: The Practice and Politics of Global Internet Filtering (MIT Press, 2008).

Outside of his Berkman Center work, he is a venture executive at Highland Capital Partners. He is an adviser and investor in several technology companies in both the for-profit and non-profit spaces, including StyleFeeder, Global Voices Online, Nominum, and Kyruus. He is a fellow of the British-American Project. He serves on the Board of Directors of the Mass2020 Foundation, the Ames Foundation, and Open Knowledge Commons.

John came back to the Harvard Law School from the law firm Ropes & Gray, where he worked on intellectual property, Internet law, and private equity transactions. He also served as a Special Assistant at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency during the Clinton administration. While attending Harvard Law School, John worked at the Berkman Center, was a Teaching Fellow in Internet Law, and served as an editor of the Harvard Environmental Law Review. From 2002 – 2008, he served as Executive Director of the Berkman Center.

John graduated from Harvard College, the University of Cambridge, and Harvard Law School. John was a Visiting Professor of Information Law and Policy at the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland for the 2007-2008 academic year. He was a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar to the University of Cambridge and the U.S. EPA Gold Medal (highest national award). John is admitted to the New York (inactive) and Massachusetts (active) bars.