Primavera De Filippi

Primavera De Filippi is a postdoctoral researcher at the CERSA / CNRS / Université Paris II (Panthéon-Assas). She is currently a research fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, where she is investigating the legal challenges of “governance-by-design” in online distibuted architectures, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum etc.

Academic career:

Primavera pursued her research - over the past 10 years - in several countries (such as Italy, France, UK, South Korea and the U.S.) with a view to investigate the impact of the Internet and digital technologies on the development of culture and innovation.

After obtaining a master’s Degree at the Bocconi University of Milan, where she analysed the use of Digital Rights Management (DRM) systems for the online distribution of digital content, she enrolled into a second master’s degree in Intellectual Property Law at the Queen Mary University of London to further investigate the legal implications of DRM technologies. Primavera also holds a PhD from the European University Institute in Florence, where she has been exploring the legal challenges of copyright law in the digital environment, with special attention to the corresponding strengths and limitations of private ordering. During these years, she spent two months at the University of Buffalo in New York and one year as a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley, where she worked with internationally renowned IP scholars such as Pamela Samuelson, Molly Van Houweling, Jason Schultz and Suzanne Scotchmer.

Primavera is presently a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), working on a research project funded by the European Commission ( which aims to analyse the legal challenges raised (and faced) by online commons-based peer-production (CBPP) platforms. She is also a research fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, where she is exploring the concept of “governance by design” in online distributed architectures, as governance rules and community norms are increasing dictated by the technical infrastructures subtending online platforms.

Online activities:

Primavera is currently involved in several organizations dedicated to promoting the sharing of culture and knowledge.

Since 2007, she participated to the activities of COMMUNIA’s thematic network for the promotion of the public domain. As the project came to an end, she co-founded, together with other members of the network, the International Communia Association for the promotion and the preservation of the digital public domain (

In 2010, she joined the Open Knowledge Foundation as the coordinator of the Public Domain working group, through which she actively contributed to the making of the Public Domain Calculators ( By the end of 2012, she established the French chapter of the Open Knowledge Foundation, which she is currently coordinating as one of the board members.

In 2011, she became the legal expert of the Creative Commons France affiliate group, working on translating, explaining and promoting the use of Creative Commons licenses in France.

Primavera co-founded and is currently coordinating the Dynamic Coalition on Network Neutrality and the Dynamic Coalition on Platform Responsibility of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF).

Finally, Primavera is co-leading the initiative, whose objective is to open source and automate the drafting of legal documents by creating a global template system of codified legal texts.

Research interests:

Primavera’s research interests are mostly related to the development of distributed online architectures and their repercussions on the legal system, online practices and the preservation of online civil liberties.

Her current research is investigating the emergence of alternative, decentralized architectures that rely on peer-to-peer networks and distributed technologies to provide secure and autonomous platforms for online interactions and communications (BitTorent, Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc). She is analysing the legal framework in which these platforms operate, as well as the viability of alternative governance models - combining regulation by code, contracts and social norms - implemented by these platforms on top of the legal framework - either as a complement or a supplement the former. In this regard, Primavera is exploring the concept of “governance-by-design” as it relates to decentralized technologies, with a view to understand how a more sophisticated usage of these technologies might lead to the establishment of new (distributed) governance models that contribute to the preservation of civil rights in the cyberspace.

Primavera’s research is also focused on exploring the legal challenges of collaborative peer-production online. She is particularly interested in understanding the value created by online peer-production communities, and how such value can be used as a means to support and encourage the process of commons-based peer-production. In this regard, the project she’s currently working on (P2Pvlaue) aims at creating tools to facilitate the governance of online communities, and to increase the creativity of commons-based peer-production platforms.

Recent publications:

Gracz, K., De Filippi, P. (2014) : Regulatory failure of copyright law through the lenses of autopoietic systems theory, in International Journal of Law and Information Technology, 2014, 0, 1-33. Oxford University Press.

De Filippi, P. (2014). Bitcoin: a regulatory nightmare to a libertarian dream. Internet Policy Review, 3(2).

Vieira M. S., De Filippi P. (2014), « Between Copyleft and Copyfarleft : advanced reciprocity for the commons », in Journal of Peer Production (JoPP), Issue #4 : Value and currency.

Belli L., De Filippi P. (eds.) (2013) The value of Network Neutrality for the Internet of Tomorrow, Report of the Dynamic Coalition on Network Neutrality.

De Filippi P. (2013), Ubiquitous Computing in the Cloud : User Empowerment –vs- User Obsequity, in Jean-Eric Pelet, Panagiota Papadopoulou (eds.) User Behavior in Ubiquitous Online Environments, IGI Global.

De FIlippi, P. (2012) Copyright Law in the Digital Environment : Private Ordering and the regulation of digital works, LAP Lambert Academic Publishing.

Primavera De Filippi, Luca Belli (2012), The Law of the Cloud v the Law of the Land : Challenges and Opportunities for Innovation, European Journal of Law and Technology, Vol. 3, No 2.

De Filippi P., McCarthy S. (2011), Cloud Computing: Legal Issues in Centralised Architectures, in Cerrillo-i-Martinez, A., Peguera, M., Pena-Lopez, I. & Vilasau Solana, M. (eds.) Net Neutrality and other challenges for the future of the Internet. UOC-Huygens

Last updated

August 19, 2014