Backgrounder; Online Society: the good the bad and the ugly

Lawrence Lessig and Jimmy Wales at the iCommon...
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This page is for additional resources regarding the three interlocutors on the MIT discussion panel titled “The good, the bad, and the ugly”.

Yochai Benkler: Publications

The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom (Yale Press 2006).

(or, you can check out Yale Press’s cool new annotation platform for the book)


On Cooperation and Cooperative Human Systems Design

Law, Policy, and Cooperation, in Balleisen, Edward, and David Moss, eds. Government and Markets: Toward a New Theory of Regulation, Cambridge University Press, forthcoming

Dynamic Remodeling of in-group bias during the 2008 Presidential Election, PNAS, March 31, 2009; with David Rand, Thomas Pfeiffer, Anna Dreber, Rachel Sheketoff, and Nils Wernerfelt

On Commons in Information and Communications Systems

Commons-Based Peer Production and Virtue, 14(4) J. Political Philosophy 394-419 (2006); with Helen Nissenbaum

“Sharing Nicely”: On shareable goods and the emergence of sharing as a modality of economic production, 114 Yale L. J. 273 (2004)

Commons-Based Strategies and the Problems of Patents, 305 Science 1110 (Aug. 20, 2004)

Coase’s Penguin,or Linux and the Nature of the Firm, 112 Yale Law Journal 369 (2002)

Freedom in the Commons, Towards a Political Economy of Information, 52 Duke L.J. 1245 (2003) (Frey Lecture audio)

Common Wisdom: Peer Production of Educational Materials, Center for Open and Sustainable Learning, 2005, or you can get a print version here.

The Political Economy of Commons, Upgrade, Vol. IV., No.3 June 2003

The Battle Over the Institutional Ecosystem in the Digital Environment, 44 Communications of the ACM No.2 84 (2001)

Property, Commons, and the First Amendment: Towards a Core Common Infrastructure (White Paper for the Brennan Center for Justice) (March, 2001)

From Consumers to Users: Shifting the Deeper Structures of Regulation Towards Sustainable Commons and User Access, 52 Fed. Comm. L.J. 561 (2000)

Free as the Air to Common Use: First Amendment Constraints on Enclosure of the Public Domain, 74 N.Y.U. Law Review 354 (1999)

Overcoming Agoraphobia: Building the Commons of the Digitally Networked Environment, 11 Harvard Journal of Law & Technology 287 (1998)

The Commons As A Neglected Factor of Information Policy (working draft presented at Telecommunications Policy Research Conference 9/98)

On Exclusive Rights Regimes

Sharing, Trading, Creating Culture (reviewing Lessig, Remix), Science, 324 (5925):337 – 338 (2009).

with Amy Kapczynski, Samantha Chaifetz, and Zachary Katz, Addressing Global Health Inequities: An Open Licensing Approach for University Innovations, 20 Berkeley Tech. L.J. 1031 (2005).

Intellectual Property and the Organization of Information Production, 22 Int’l Rev. of L. & Ec. 81 (2002). (Working Draft 10/99, available for reference to quotations to the working paper, 10/99)An Unhurried View of Private Ordering in Information Transactions, 53 Vanderbilt Law Rev. 2063 (2000) (with better renditions of Figures 1 and 2)

Constitutional Bounds of Database Protection: The Role of Judicial Review in the Creation and Definition of Private Rights in Information, 15 Berkeley L. & Tech. J. 535 (2000)

Open Spectrum, or Spectrum Commons

Some Economics of Wireless Communications, 16 Harvard Journal of Law & Technology 25 (Fall 2002)Overcoming Agoraphobia: Building the Commons of the Digitally Networked Environment, 11 Harvard Journal of Law & Technology 287 (1998)

Net Gains: Is CBS Unconstitutional? (with Lawrence Lessig) The New Republic, December 14, 1998

Siren Songs and Amish Children: Autonomy, Information, and Law, 76 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 23, 62-84, 87-105 (2001).

Democracy, Autonomy, and Information: Theoretical and Constitutional Analysis

Through the Looking Glass: Alice and Constitutional Foundations of the Public Domain, 66 J. Law & Contemp. Probs. 173 (Winter/Sring 2003)

Siren Songs and Amish Children: Autonomy, Information, and Law, 76 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 23 (2001)Free as the Air to Common Use: First Amendment Constraints on Enclosure of the Public Domain, 74 N.Y.U. Law Review 354 (1999)
Free Markets vs. Free Speech: A Resilient Red Lion and it Critics, Reviewing Rationales and Rationalizations, Regulating the Electronic Media (Robert Corn-Revere, ed.) 8 Int’l J. L. & Information Tech. 214 (2000)

Internet Regulation Generally

Communications Infrastructure Regulation and the Distribution of Control Over Content, 22(3) Telecommunications Policy 183 (1998)Net Regulation: Taking Stock and Looking Forward, 71 Colorado Law Rev. 331 (2000)

Internet Regulation: A Case Study in the Problem of Unilateralism, 11 European J. of Int’l L. 167 (2000)

Rules of the Road for the Information Superhighway : Electronic Communication and the Law (West Publishing, 1996 & 1997 supp.)

Selected Commentary and Op-Eds by Cass R. Sunstein

At Unease, in The New Republic, at 41 (September 6, 1999) (Book Review of Don’t: A Reader’s Guide to the Military’s Anti-Gay Policy by Janet E. Halley) (Word version)

Cash and Citizenship, in The New Republic, at 42 (May 24, 1999) (Book Review of The Stakeholder Society by Bruce Ackerman and Anne Alstott) (Word version)

Why We Should Celebrate Paying Taxes, in The Chicago Tribune, at 19 (April 14, 1999) (with Stephan Holmes) (Word version)

The Courts’ Perilous Right Turn, in The New York Times, at 25 (June 2, 1999) (discussing current judicial activism by conservative courts) (Word version)

Vanity Fair, in The New Republic (March 29, 1999) (Book Review of Luxury Fever: Why Money Fails to Satisfy in an Era of Excess by Robert H. Frank) (Word version)

Originalism for Liberals, in The New Republic, at 31 (Sept. 28, 1998) (Book Review of The Bill of Rights by Akhil Reed Amar & For the People by Akhil Reed Amar and Alan Hirsch) (Word version)

More is Less, in The New Republic, at 37 (May 18, 1998) (Book Review of Seeing Like A State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed by James Scott) (Word version)

Even Beef Can Be Libeled, in The New York Times, at 29 (January 22, 1998) (discussing the “mad cow disease” lawsuit against Ophrah Winfrey) (Word version)

Reinforce The Walls Of Privacy, in The New York Times at 23 (September 6, 1997) (discussing the issue of celebrities’ privacy in the aftermath of Princess Diana’s death) (Word version)

Porn on the Fourth of July, in The New Republic at 42 (January 9, 1995) (Book Review of Defending Pornography: Free Speech, Sex, and the Fight for Women’s Rights by Nadine Strossen) (Word version)

Henry Jenkins: Selected Articles

-“Game On! The Future of Literacy Education in a Participatory Media Culture,” Threshold, Winter 2006, reprinted on New Media Literacies Web site.

Reality Bytes: Eight Myths About Video Games Debunked,” The Video Game Revolution, PBS, undated.

-“Welcome to Convergence Culture,” Receiver, March 2005.

Chasing Bees, Without a Hive Mind,” Technology Review, December 2004.

Taking Media in Our Own Hands,” Technology Review, November 2004.

The Tomorrow That Never Was,” Technology Review, October 2004.

The Myths of Growing Up Online,” Technology Review, September 2004.

When Piracy Becomes Promotion,” Technology Review, August 2004.

Bombay Awakes,” Technology Review, July 2004.

Photoshop for Democracy,” Technology Review, June 2004.

Playing Politics in Alphaville,” Technology Review, May 2004. Reprinted in Telemedium, Spring 2005.

Look, Listen, Walk,” Technology Review, April 2004

The Christian Media Counterculture,” Technology Review, March 2004.

Why Heather Can Write,” Technology Review, February 2004

The Cultural Logic of Media Convergence,” International Journal of Cultural Studies, Spring 2004

-“The War Between Effects and Meaning: Rethinking Video Game Violence,” Independent Schools, Spring 2004

Media Literacy Goes to School,Technology Review, January 2004

-“Harnessing the Power in Video Games,” INSIGHT, vol. 3, 2003

Media Literacy Begins at Home,Technology Review, December 2003

War Games,Technology Review, November 2003

-“Meaningful Violence,” co-authored with Kurt Squire, Computer Games, November 2003

-“To Inform AND Entertain,” The Ivory Tower, International Game Developers Association, October 2003

Enter The Cybercandidates,Technology Review, October 2003

-“Refreshing,” co-authored with Kurt Squire, Computer Games, October 2003

Selling Online Content—25 Cents at a Time,Technology Review, September 2003

-“Understanding Civilization (III),” co-authored with Kurt Squire, Computer Games, September 2003

Videogame Virtue,Technology Review, August 2003

-“Democratizing Games,” co-authored with Kurt Squire, Computer Games, August 2003

Playing Our Song?,Technology Review, July 2003

“Sensory Overload,” co-authored with Kurt Squire, Computer Games, July 2003

Convergence Is Reality,Technology Review, June 2003

SimTreadmill,” co-authored with Kurt Squire, Computer Games, June 2003

Media Tonic for War Fever,Technology Review, May 2003

-“The Limbaugh Baby,” co-authored with Kurt Squire, Computer Games, May 2003

Celluloid Heroes Evolve,Technology Review, April 2003

-“Playing Together, Staying Together,” co-authored with Kurt Squire, Computer Games, April 2003

The Diversity Divide,Technology Review, March 2003

Science Fiction and Smart Mobs,Technology Review, February 2003

Transmedia Storytelling,Technology Review, January 2003

The Aging Net,Technology Review, December 2002

Love Online,Technology Review, October 2002

-“Coming Up Next: Ambushed on Donahue,Salon, September 2002

Placement, People,Technology Review, September 2002

The Chinese Columbine,Technology Review, August 2002

Treating Viewers as Criminals,Technology Review, July 2002

Power to the Players,Technology Review, June 2002

Will the Web Save Comics?Technology Review, May 2002

Cyberspace and Race,” Technology Review, April 2002.

Game Theory,” Technology Review, March 2002

Blog This,” Technology Review, February 2002.

Of Trek and TiVo,” Technology Review, January 2002.

A Safety Net,” Technology Review, December 2001.

Ratings are Dead; Long Live Ratings,” Technology Review, November 2001.

Tourism With a Twist,” Technology Review, October 2001.

“From Barbie to Mortal Combat: Further Reflections,” presented at Playing By The Rules: The Cultural Policy Challenges of Video Games, U.Chicago, October 2001.

Good News, Bad News,” Technology Review, September 2001.

-“Challenging the Consensus,” Boston Review, Summer 2001.

Culture Goes Global,” Technology Review, July/August 2001.

“Matt Hills Interviews Henry Jenkins,” Intensities: The Journal of Cult Media, Issue 2, 2001.

Convergence? I Diverge.,” Technology Review, June 2001.

TV Tomorrow,” Technology Review, May 2001.

Information Cosmos,” Technology Review, April 2001.

Art Form for the Digital Age,” Technology Review, September/October 2000.

Digital Land Grab,” Technology Review, March/April 2000.

“Lessons from Littleton: What Congress Doesn’t Want to Hear About Youth and Media,” Independent School, Winter 2000.

Professor Jenkins Goes to Washington,” Harper’s Magazine, July 1999.

“Games, the New Lively Art,” in Jeffrey Goldstein (ed.) Handbook for Video Game Studies (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2005).

“Quentin Tarantino’s Star Wars?: Digital Cinema, Media Convergence and Participatory Culture,” in David Thorburn and Henry Jenkins (eds.) Rethinking Media Change (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2003).

“Game Design as Narrative Architecture,” in Pat Harrington and Noah Frup-Waldrop (Eds.) First Person (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2002.)

With Kurt Squire, “The Art of Contested Spaces,” in Lucian King and Conrad Bain (Eds.) Game On (London: Barbican, 2002.)

“Interactive Audiences?: The ‘Collective Intelligence’ of Media Fans” in Dan Harries (ed.), The New Media Book, (London: British Film Institute, 2002)

“Tales of Manhattan: Mapping the Urban Imagination through Hollywood Film,” in Lawrence Vale and Sam Bass Warner (Eds.), Imaging the City: Continuing Struggles and New Directions (Cambridge: CUPR Press, 2001).

“Reception Theory and Audience Research: The Mystery of the Vampire’s Kiss,” in Christine Gledhill and Linda Williams (eds.) Reinventing Film Studies (London: Arnold, 2000).

With Janet Murray, “Before the Holodeck: Tracing Star Trek Through Digital Media,” in Greg Smith (ed.) On a Sliver Platter: CD-ROMS and The Promises of a New Technology (New York: New York University Press, 1999).

With Justine Cassell, “Chess for Girls?: Gender and Computer Games,” From Barbie to Mortal Kombat: Gender and Computer Games (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1998).

“‘Complete Freedom of Movement”: Video Games as Gendered Play Spaces,” From Barbie to Mortal Kombat: Gender and Computer Games (Cambridge: MIT Press,1998).

“Voices from the Combat Zone: Game Grrlz Talk Back,” From Barbie to Mortal Kombat: Gender and Computer Games (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1998).

“The Innocent Child and Other Modern Myths,” The Children’s Culture Reader (New York University Press, 1998).

“The Sensuous Child,” The Children’s Culture Reader (New York University Press, 1998).

“‘Her Suffering Aristocratic Majesty’: The Sentimental Value of Lassie,” in Marsha Kinder (ed.) Kids’ Media Culture (Console-ing Passions) (Durham: Duke University Press, 1999).

“A Conversation with Henry Jenkins,” Interview on the intersections of fan and academic criticism, for Taylor Harrison and Sara Projansky, Enterprise Zones: Critical Positions on Star Trek (Boulder: Westview Press, 1997).

“‘The All-American Handful’: Dennis the Menace, Permissive Childrearing and the Bad Boy Tradition,” in Lynn Spigel and Mike Curtin (eds.) The Revolution Wasn’t Televised: Sixties Television and Social Conflict (New York: Routledge, 1997).

“‘This Fellow Keaton Seems to Be the Whole Show’: The Interrupted Performance in Buster Keaton’s Films,” in Andrew Horton (ed.) Buster Keaton’s Sherlock Junior (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1997).

With Cynthia Jenkins and Shoshanna Green,“‘The Normal Female Interest in Men Bonking’: Selections from Terra Nostra Underground and Strange Bedfellows,”in Cheryl Harris and Alison Alexander (eds.) Theorizing Fandom: Fans, Subculture, and Identity (Hampton Press, 1998).

With Mary Fuller, MIT, “Nintendo and New World Travel Writing: A Dialogue,” in Steven G. Jones (ed.) Cybersociety: Computer-Mediated Communication and Community (Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 1995): 57-72.

“Monstrous Beauty and the Mutant Aesthetics: Rethinking Matthew Barney’s Relationship to the Horror Genre”, (to be published in The Wow Climax).

With Henry Jenkins IV, “‘The Monsters Next Door’: A Father-Son Conversation about Buffy, Moral Panic, and Generational Differences,” (To be published in Fans, Gamers, Bloggers)

“‘You Don’t Say That in English!’: The Scandal of Lupe Velez,” (to be published in The Wow Climax).

The Education Arcade:


The Education Arcade explores games that promote learning through authentic and engaging play. TEA’s research and development projects focus both on the learning that naturally occurs in popular commercial games, and on the design of games that more vigorously address the educational needs of players. Our mission is to demonstrate the social, cultural, and educational potentials of videogames by initiating new game development projects, coordinating interdisciplinary research efforts, and informing public conversations about the broader and sometimes unexpected uses of this emerging art form in education.

Education Arcade projects have touched on mathematics, science, history, literacy, and language learning, and have been tailored to a wide range of ages. They have been designed for personal computers, handheld devices and on-line delivery.


The Education Arcade was established by leading scholars of digital games and education. Researchers at MIT explored key issues in the use of a wide variety of media in teaching and learning through the Games-to-Teach Project, a Microsoft-funded initiative with MIT Comparative Media Studies that ran between 2001 and 2003. The project resulted in a suite of conceptual frameworks designed to support learning across math, science, engineering, and humanities curricula. Working with top game designers from industry and with faculty across MIT’s five schools, researchers produced 15 game concepts with supporting pedagogy that showed how advanced math, science and humanities content could be uniquely blended with state-of-the-art game play.

Future Focus

Having sponsored several annual conferences with the Entertainment Software Association at its E3Expo in Los Angeles and having now completed a series of landmark research projects in the field, the Education Arcade looks ahead to help drive new innovations by partnering with educational publishers, media companies, and game developers. Several challenges have severely limited broader development and availability of educational games in the market, including the collapse of the CD-ROM software market, the failure of educational media in retail spaces, strict state adoption requirements, expensive production costs, and limited collaboration across the variety of disciplines needed to create compelling and educationally viable interactive media. By working with partners in a variety of media, the Education Arcade aims to help overcome these formidable challenges by focusing on an initial set of strategically targeted, educationally proven, and expertly developed and produced on-line computer games that will be distributed through desktop computers and mobile devices.


Interesting and related MIT discussions, debates, lectures and panels.

  • The Future of Civic Engagement in a Broadband-Enabled World Eugene Huang
  • Collaboration and Collective Intelligence Trebor Scholz, Cory Ondrejka and Mizuko (Mimi) Ito
  • Death of the News? Jason Pontin, Susan Glasser and Maria Balinska
  • Focus on Educational Innovation

    Remember the phrase used By Benkler and Jenkins; “Critical Optimism”.