University of Pittsburgh
February 15, 2010

Pitt Lecture Features Noted Harvard Internet Scholar Jonathan Zittrain Exploring Traffic in Bright Ideas, Sharp Minds in the Online Marketplace

Zittrain presents "Minds for Sale" Feb. 18 as the 2010 Sara Fine Institute Lecture
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-The University of Pittsburgh's 2010 Sara Fine Institute Lecture will explore the (literal) value of a good idea as Internet scholar Jonathan Zittrain discusses how bright ideas and the brains that spawn them can be bought and sold like other commodities in the modern digital marketplace. Zittrain, a professor at Harvard University Law School and codirector of Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, will present "Minds for Sale" at 3 p.m. Feb. 18 in the Teplitz Memorial Courtroom of Pitt's Barco Law Building, 3900 Forbes Ave., Oakland.

Zittrain will discuss the ability of online companies and projects to purchase as much brainpower as they can afford and some of the consequences of recruiting armies of thinkers by the thousands and millions. He will offer a fascinating view of a future in which nearly any mental act can be bought and sold. The 2010 lecture is presented by Pitt's Sara Fine Institute and sponsored by Pitt's Schools of Information Sciences and Law and the Pittsburgh Technology Council. The event is free and open to the public. Visit the School of Information Sciences' Web site for more information and to RSVP at

At Harvard, Zittrain has conducted research on the battles for control of digital property and content, cryptography, electronic privacy, the roles of intermediaries within Internet architecture, and the useful and unobtrusive deployment of technology in education. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Internet Society and performed the first large-scale tests of Internet filtering in China and Saudi Arabia, in 2002. As part of the OpenNet Initiative, he coedited a 2008 study of Internet filtering by national governments, "Access Denied: The Practice and Policy of Global Internet Filtering" (The MIT Press). He created the Web site Chilling Effects to track and archive legal threats made to Internet content producers and, in 2009, launched Herdict, a Web site tracking self-reported inaccessible sites globally. His book, "The Future of the Internet-and How to Stop It" (Yale University Press, 2008), argues for a more user-controlled Web.

Pitt's Sara Fine Institute (SFI) is dedicated to examining the ways technology impacts interpersonal communications and relationships with family, friends, professional colleagues, governing bodies, health care providers, and educational institutions. Each year, the institute presents a lecture on a leading-edge topic in information and the role of technology. SFI is part of Pitt's School of Information Sciences, which educates students in the information professions, including information science, library and information science, and telecommunications. The curriculum and research activities are focused on people, their information needs, and the technology to manage such information. For more information about the school, visit