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Yale Law School Receives Award from Microsoft for Studies of Law and Technology

Yale Law School's Information Society Project (ISP) has received an award of more than $500,000 from Microsoft Corp., a leading software and information services company.

The ISP will use the funds over a period of three years for a variety of educational and research programs focusing on the deeper social and technological challenges of the information society. It produces innovative thinking and scholarship about law and technology by bringing together a network of professors, young scholars and law students.

"The new funding will enable us to provide fellowships for post-graduates and aspiring academics as well as summer grants for law students. In this way we can help some of the brightest and most ambitious students in the world carry out cutting-edge research on the information society," said ISP Director Jack Balkin, who is the Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School.

The ISP will expand its working group of young researchers with seven additional post-graduate fellowships over the next several years. Fellows will be in residence at the Law School to teach, conduct their own research and contribute to ISP workshops. In addition, the ISP runs conferences, symposia and a speaker series each year, which bring together policy makers, scholars and students from around the world.

"The ISP's conferences are famous for their scholarly depth and intellectual seriousness; with Microsoft's help we can continue this proud tradition," added Balkin.

The broad range of issues that the ISP studies-such as intellectual property, digital democracy, freedom of speech, privacy, telecommunications, biotechnology, cybercrime and cybersecurity-are leading subjects of debate in the halls of academia, in government capitals and on newspaper editorial pages; and more and more law students have been drawn to these subjects. Yale Law School Dean Harold Hongju Koh noted: "The ISP has been a leading center of innovative thought on the information society since its inception in 1997. This award will help the ISP's scholars and students continue to take a comprehensive approach to the study of global technology and advance our understanding of these fundamental issues."

"Microsoft is at the center of the computing landscape, making it an ideal partner for the ISP," said ISP Executive Director Eddan Katz. Noting that new technologies stretch existing laws while the law poses challenges for the developers of technology, he added: "The brightest young researchers can help identify and anticipate the social and legal challenges that the technology industry will confront five years down the line. At the same time, in working with computer engineers during the design process, we can gain a first glimpse into the network infrastructure of the future."

"The Information Society Project provides excellent opportunities for the study of law and technology issues," said Brad Smith, senior vice president and general counsel for Microsoft. "As an integral part of Yale Law School, ISP is able to leverage some of the best legal minds in the country. We are pleased to support a program that will aid in the advancement of innovative technology solutions."

The ISP will begin implementing the new programs in the 2005-06 academic year with summer grants, a new fellowship and a speaker series. The ISP is also planning the first conference devoted to developing issues and problems in search engine law, to be held during the 2005-06 academic year.