Disclosure of Financial Interests

I sometimes write articles or make public presentations advocating particular interpretations or modifications of legal rules.  In addition, I sometimes provide advice to government agencies in the United States and in other countries concerning how their laws or policies might be improved.  When doing so, I always strive to offer unbiased recommendations.  However, I occasionally have financial interests that might be affected by the reforms I advocate.  To minimize the risk of bias in such situations, and to help my audiences decide how much weight my recommendations deserve, I will strive on this page to disclose all forms of financial compensation I have in the past received – or could in the future receive – that might taint my judgment.

Currently, most of my work falls into four major categories.  First, I am exploring ways in which legal rules might be modified so as (a) to stimulate the development of drugs that address the diseases that afflict poor countries and then (b) to make those drugs more widely available.  See Infection: The Health Crisis in the Developing World and What We Should Do About It.  In a few instances, I have given presentations concerning my ideas to pharmaceutical companies or their executives; I have not received any compensation for any of those presentations.  I also occasionally give presentations in "summits" organized by the GLG Institute for executives in pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers of generic drugs; I am paid modest honoraria for those presentations.

Second, I have written about, and still sometimes make public presentations about, ways in which the rules affecting the entertainment industry might be reformed so as to capitalize on the potential economic and cultural benefits of the technologies that are transforming that industry while simultaneously ensuring that the creators of recorded entertainment are fairly compensated.  In this context, I do have (or have in the past had) some relevant financial interests.  Specifically:

Third, I oversee the development and periodic revision of a digital curriculum designed to teach librarians in developing countries about copyright law.  I sometimes give public presentations to librarians or other groups considering adopting this curriculum.  I have not been and will not be compensated for this work.

Fourth and finally, between 2002 and 2014, I was the faculty director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society.  For my work in that capacity, I was paid by Harvard University an annual stipend.  I remain a member of the Berkman Center Board of Directors. All financial contributions to the Berkman Center are listed on the disclosure page of the center – along with the projects to which they are applied.  I do not receive any financial benefit from any of those contributions.

Other activities in which I have engaged in the past that might have affected my views concerning the interpretation or reform of legal rules include the following:

I will update this page whenever my financial interests change materially.

William Fisher

Last updated: November 30, 2014