Lawrence Lessig has already transformed intellectual-property law with his Creative Commons innovation. Now he's focused on an even bigger problem: The US' broken political system.

Why you should listen

Lawyer and activist Lawrence Lessig spent a decade arguing for sensible intellectual property law, updated for the digital age. He was a founding board member of Creative Commons, an organization that builds better copyright practices through principles established first by the open-source software community.

In 2007, just after his last TED Talk, Lessig announced he was leaving the field of IP and Internet policy, and moving on to a more fundamental problem that blocks all types of sensible policy -- the corrupting influence of money in American politics.

In 2011, Lessig founded Rootstrikers, an organization dedicated to changing the influence of money in Congress. In his latest book, Republic, Lost, he shows just how far the U.S. has spun off course -- and how citizens can regain control. As The New York Times wrote about him, “Mr. Lessig’s vision is at once profoundly pessimistic -- the integrity of the nation is collapsing under the best of intentions --and deeply optimistic. Simple legislative surgery, he says, can put the nation back on the path to greatness.”

Read an excerpt of Lessig's new book, Lesterland >>

What others say

“In [Republic, Lost], Lessig ... details how money came to corrupt our government, how our broken system hurts both the Left and the Right, and what it will take to return American democracy to its rightful owners – the people.” — Rolling Stone blog, October 5, 2011

More news and ideas from Lawrence Lessig


Lawrence Lessig explores a run for president, around one powerful idea

August 13, 2015

Lawrence Lessig may be running for President of the United States. But he isn’t looking to big donors to fund his exploratory campaign. Rather than do the usual candidate song and dance of courting wealthy donors and corporations, Lessig is using the Kickstarter method for his campaign. He’s collecting small donations from individuals through his website, […]

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Live from TED

Power poses, idea technologies and the Internet’s birthday: A recap of “Where are we now?” All-Stars Session 3 at TED2014

March 19, 2014

By Liz Jacobs and Ben Lillie Taking stock of our moment in history helps us better understand ourselves, our societies and the present moment itself  — which often gets lost in the temptation to look backwards or forwards. And at TED2014: The Next Chapter we’re doing plenty of both. But we’re also designating this All-Stars […]

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