Frequently Asked Questions

Please feel free to contact us if your question is not covered here.

When was the Berkman Center established?

In 1996, Harvard Law School professor Charles Nesson and Jonathan Zittrain established what was then called the "Center on Law and Technology" at Harvard Law School. The Center grew out of a seminar with Arthur Miller, David Marglin, and Tom Smuts in 1994 on cutting-edge Internet issues. The Center set out "to explore and understand cyberspace, its development, dynamics, norms, standards, and need or lack thereof for laws and sanctions." A gift of $5.4 million in 1997 from the Berkman family--Jack N. and Lillian R. Berkman, and their son Myles--underwrote Nesson's vision. Lawrence Lessig was awarded the Berkman professorship. In 1998, the Center changed its name to the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, and has steadily expanded ever since.
A special tenth anniversary report, Berkman@10: a decade of exploring cyberspace, sharing in its study, and pioneering its development features a lengthier history, as well as a full time line.

Is the Berkman Center part of Harvard Law School?

In May 2008, the Berkman Center was elevated to a University-wide Center, also known as Interfaculty Initiative. Until this point, we had been a research center at Harvard Law School. Today, we report to both the Provost of Harvard University and the Dean at Harvard Law School and are administratively housed at Harvard Law School.

Who are the Berkman Directors?

The Board of Directors shapes the Berkman Center’s overall vision and makes significant financial, research, academic, personnel, governance, and other overarching organizational decisions. Terry Fisher is the Chair of the Board, and he is joined on the Board by Professors Yochai Benkler, Susan Crawford, John Deighton, Phillip Malone, Charles Nesson, Felix Oberholzer-Gee, John Palfrey, Stuart Shieber, and Jonathan Zittrain. Urs Gasser is the Executive Director, leading implementation of the vision and objectives set forth by the Board.

Can the Berkman Center help me obtain admission to Harvard?

The Berkman Center is not associated with admission to any of the academic programs at Harvard University. To learn more about these programs, please visit the admissions pages for each of Harvard's schools.

Can the Berkman Center provide me with a degree in Internet studies or some other type of degree or certificate?

The Berkman Center does not award degrees or offer courses. On occasion, Berkman faculty directors, independent of the Berkman Center, may teach executive-education courses or courses for Continuing Legal Education credit in addition to their regular course offerings at the respective schools.

Does the Berkman Center provide legal assistance?

As a general rule, the Berkman Center does not (and cannot) provide legal assistance. However, Harvard Law School students occasionally contribute to cyber-related cases as clinical work, under the supervision of a Berkman Center-affiliated faculty member.
For local area residents in need of legal assistance, we suggest that you visit the website of the Attorney General of Massachusetts.

Does the Berkman Center take policy positions?

The Berkman Center for Internet & Society does not take an institutional position on matters of policy. However, it encourages its faculty, fellows, staff, and community members to express their viewpoints, and invites in-depth conversations on controversial issues. Our goals are to stimulate informed analysis and to catalyze the expression of diverse opinions.

How can I get involved with the Berkman Center?

There are innumerable (and overlapping) ways to get involved with the Berkman Center--as a financial supporter, an intern, a fellow, or a conference participant, to name a few.
Details on research and employment opportunities, mailing lists, and more can be found under the Get Involved tab.
For other kinds of involvement, please send an email to cyber@law.harvard.edu describing the capacity in which you wish to become involved with the Berkman Center.

Who handles press inquiries?

Inquiries are currently being handled by the Center's core staff at press@cyber.law.harvard.edu. Please include a brief description of your story, your contact info, and your deadline.

How do I contact people affiliated with the Berkman Center?

If you are a member of the press with a query, please send an email with a brief description of your story, your contact info, and your deadline to press@cyber.law.harvard.edu.
Otherwise, please see our people directory for individual email addresses.

How do I find out about upcoming events?

Information about upcoming events can be found under the Events tab.

Can you help me follow up with a conference presenter/speaker?

We are ready to help you follow up with one of our conference presenters/speakers. Simply send an email to cyber@law.harvard.edu that briefly identifies whom you wish to contact and why.

Where do I find more information about the Berkman Center?

This website is the most abundant and up-to-date source of information about the Berkman Center, its objectives, and its endeavors.
A special tenth anniversary report, Berkman@10: a decade of exploring cyberspace, sharing in its study, and pioneering its development is also an excellent source of information about the Center.
You can also sign up for email alerts about Berkman Center projects, etc. under the Get Involved tab.

What is your privacy policy?

The Berkman Center's privacy policy appears here.

What are your funding and support policies?

The Berkman Center's funding and support policies appear here.

Last updated May 10, 2012