Primavera De Filippi

Primavera De Filippi is a permanent researcher at the National Center of Scientific Research (CNRS) in Paris. She is faculty associate at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, where she is investigating the concept of "governance-by-design" as it relates to online distributed architectures. Most of her research focuses on the legal challenges raised, and faced by emergent decentralized technologies —such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and other blockchain-based applications —and how these technologies could be used to design new governance models capable of supporting large-scale decentralized collaboration and more participatory decision-making.

Academic career:

Primavera obtained a Master degree in Business & Administration from the Bocconi University of Milan, and a Master degree in Intellectual Property Law at the Queen Mary University of London. She holds a PhD from the European University Institute in Florence, where she explored the legal challenges of copyright law in the digital environment, with special attention to the mechanisms of private ordering (Digital Rights Management systems, Creative Commons licenses, etc). 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. Primavera is a permanent researcher at the National Center of Scientific Research (CNRS), working on a research project funded by the European Commission ( which analyses the legal challenges of commons-based peer-production (CBPP) platforms. She is faculty associate at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, where she is exploring the concept of "governance by design" as it relates to online distributed architectures, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc.

Online activities:

Primavera is involved in several organizations dedicated to promoting the free culture and open data. 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. She is currently a member of the Global Agenda Council on the Future of Software & IT Services at the World Economic Forum, as well as the founder and coordinator of the Internet Governance Forum's dynamic coalition on Network Neutrality and Platform Responsibility.

Research interests:

Primavera has been working for many years now on the legal challenges and opportunities of online decentralized technologies, with particular focus on distributed architectures, such as peer-to-peer networks, mesh networking technologies, and more recently the blockchain. 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 is also 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:
De Filippi, P., Wright, A. (2015) Blockchain and the Law. Harvard Academic Press (forthcoming).
De Filippi, P., Bourcier, D. (2015), HADOPI – a case of legislative serendipity, in Derrick Cogburn (ed.), The Turn to Infrastructure in Internet Governance. Palgrave-Macmillan
De Filippi, P., (2015). The interplay between decentralization and privacy: the case of blockchain technologies, in Journal of Peer Production, Issue n.7
De Filippi, P. (2015), Translating Commons-based Peer Production into metrics : Towards Commons-based Crypto-Currencies, in David Lee Kuo Chuen (Ed.), The Handbook of Digital Currency. Elsevier
De Filippi, P., Tréguer, F. (2015). Expanding the Internet Commons : The Subversive Potential of Wireless Community Networks, in Journal of Peer Production, Issue n. 6
De Filippi, P. (2015). Community Mesh Networks : Citizens’ Participation in the Deployment of Smart Cities, in Vesco, A. & Ferrero, F. (eds) Social, Economic, and Environmental Sustainability in the Development of Smart Cities. IGI Global  
De Filippi, P. Vieira, M. S. (2014). The Commodification of Information Commons : The Case of Cloud Computing. Columbia Science and Technology Law Review. . Vol XVI, p. 102
De Filippi, P., Hassan, S. (2014), Measuring Value in Commons-based Ecosystem : bridging the gap between the Commons and the Market, in Lovink, G., Tkacz, N. (eds.) The MoneyLab Reader. Institute of Network Cultures, University of Warwick
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).

Last updated

September 1, 2015