CIS Speaker Series - Stopping SOPA: Copyright, Free Speech, and Popular Constitutionalism

November 15, 2012 12:50 pm to 2:00 pm

During late 2011 and January 2012, millions of people protested the passage of the controversial copyright bill the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in Congress. The protests culminated in the largest online protest in the history of the Internet, with web giant Wikipedia and thousands of other websites going black in a day of self-censorship. In a few short months, the protesters achieved something remarkable: they defeated money, politicians, Hollywood, and the copyright lobby, all in the name of a “free and open Internet.” This talk with Professor Edward Lee, explains these grassroots movements as a form of popular constitutionalism. Courts didn't define speech rights. People did. And, in the end, it was the people's view of free speech that carried the day.

Professor Lee teaches international intellectual property law, copyright law, and trademark law. He joined IIT Chicago-Kent's faculty in 2010 as a professor of law and director of the Program in Intellectual Property Law. He was a visiting faculty member at Chicago-Kent during the fall 2009 term from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, where he was a professor of law. Professor Lee is a 1995 cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, where he was an editor and co-chair of the books and commentaries office of the Harvard Law Review. In 1992, he graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude from Williams College with a bachelor's degree in philosophy (highest honors) and classics.

Professor Lee's research focuses on the ways in which the Internet, technological development, and globalization challenge existing legal paradigms. He also writes extensively about the Framers' understanding of the Free Press Clause as a limit on using the Copyright Clause to restrict technologies. In addition to numerous articles, he co-authored a leading casebook with Daniel Chow titled International Intellectual Property: Problems, Cases, and Materials (West Group 2006).

Previously, Professor Lee was a legal writing instructor at Stanford Law School and an attorney at Stanford's Center for Internet and Society, where he supervised students involved in public interest litigation related to law and technology and the Internet. From 1996 to 1999, Professor Lee was a litigation associate in the Washington, D.C., office of Mayer, Brown & Platt, working at all levels of trial and appellate litigation, including cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Immediately following law school, he clerked for the Honorable John T. Noonan Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Check out Edward Lee's latest book The New Free Speech

Room 280B
559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA
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