|Alma mater||McGill University
Harvard Law School
|Occupation||Professor at Columbia Law School|
|Known for||Net Neutrality|
|Political party||Democratic Party|
Tim Wu is an American academic who ran unsuccessfully in the 2014 Democratic primary for lieutenant governor of the state of New York. He is the Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law at Columbia Law School, the former chair of media reform group Free Press, and a regular contributor to The New Yorker. He is also a former Bernard L. Schwartz and Future Tense fellow at The New America Foundation. He is best known for coining the phrase network neutrality in his paper Network Neutrality, Broadband Discrimination, and popularizing the concept thereafter, leading in part to the 2010 passage of a federal Net Neutrality rule. Wu has also made significant contributions to wireless communications policy, most notably with his "Carterfone" proposal.
Wu is a scholar of the media and technology industries, and his academic specialties include antitrust, copyright, and telecommunications law. In 2013, Wu was named to National Law Journal's "America's 100 Most Influential Lawyers." Additionally, Wu was named one of Scientific American's 50 people of the year in 2006, and in 2007 Wu was named one of Harvard University's 100 most influential graduates by 02138 magazine. His book The Master Switch was named among the best books of 2010 by The New Yorker magazine, Fortune magazine, Publishers Weekly, and other publications.
Wu was born in Washington, D.C. and grew up in Basel, Switzerland and Toronto, Canada. His father, Alan Ming-ta Wu, was from Taiwan and his mother, Gillian Wu, is British-Canadian. They both studied as immunologists at the University of Toronto. Wu and his younger brother were sent to alternative schools that emphasized creativity. At school, he befriended Cory Doctorow. Wu's father died in 1980 and his mother bought him and his brother an Apple II computer using some of the insurance money, starting Wu's fascination with computers. Wu attended McGill University, where he initially studied biochemistry and later switched his major to biophysics. He graduated from McGill with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1995 and received his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1998. At Harvard, he studied under copyright scholar Lawrence Lessig.
Wu worked with the U.S. Dept. of Justice, Office of Legal Counsel, after graduating from law school, and before starting a clerkship with Richard Posner on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in 1998-1999. He also clerked for Stephen Breyer, U.S. Supreme Court in 1999-2000. Following his clerkships, Wu moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, worked at Riverstone Networks, Inc. (2000–02) and then entered academia at the University of Virginia School of Law.
Wu was Associate Professor of Law at the University of Virginia from 2002 to 2004, Visiting Professor at Columbia Law School in 2004, Visiting Professor at Chicago Law School in 2005, and Visiting Professor at Stanford Law School in 2005. In 2006, he became a full professor at Columbia Law School and started Project Posner, a free database of all of Richard Posner's legal opinions. Wu called Posner "probably America's greatest living jurist."
Wu is credited with popularizing the concept of network neutrality in his 2003 paper Network Neutrality, Broadband Discrimination. The paper considered network neutrality in terms of neutrality between applications, as well as neutrality between data and Quality of Service-sensitive traffic, and proposed some legislation to potentially deal with these issues.
In 2006, Wu wrote "The World Trade Law of Internet Filtering", which analyzed the possibility of the World Trade Organization's treating censorship as a barrier to trade. In June 2007, when Google Inc. lobbied the United States Trade Representative to pursue a complaint against China's censorship at the WTO, Wu's paper was cited as a "likely source" for this idea. In 2006, Wu was also invited by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to help draft the first network neutrality rules attached to the AT&T and BellSouth merger.
In 2007, Wu published a paper proposing a "Wireless Carterfone" rule for mobile phone networks; the rule was adopted by the Federal Communications Commission for the 700 MHz spectrum auctions on July 31, 2007, with FCC Commissioner Michael Copps stating: "I find it extremely heartening to see that an academic paper—in this case by Professor Timothy Wu of Columbia Law School—can have such an immediate and forceful influence on policy." In November 2007 BusinessWeek credited Wu with providing "the intellectual framework that inspired Google's mobile phone strategy."
With his Columbia Law School colleagues Professors Scott Hemphill and Clarisa Long, Wu co-directs the Columbia Law School Program on Law and Technology, founded in 2007. In August 2007, in collaboration with the University of Colorado School of Law's Silicon Flatirons Program, the Columbia Law School Program on Law and Technology launched a Beta version of AltLaw, which he produced.
The Master Switch
Wu's 2010 book The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires described a long "cycle" whereby open information systems become consolidated and closed over time, reopening only after disruptive innovation. The book shows this cycle develop with the rise of the Bell AT&T telephone monopoly, the founding of the Hollywood entertainment industry, broadcast and cable TV industries, and finally with the internet industry. He looks at the example of Apple Inc., which began as a company dedicated to openness that evolved into a more closed system under the leadership of Steve Jobs, demonstrating that the internet industry will follow the historical cycle of the rise of Information empires (though Wu does discuss Google as an important counterpoint). The book was named one of the best books of 2010 by The New Yorker magazine, Fortune magazine, Amazon.com, The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, and others.
In October 2014, Killswitch, a film featuring Tim Wu, as well as Lawrence Lessig, Aaron Swartz, and Edward Snowden received its World Premiere at the Woodstock Film Festival, where it won the award for Best Editing. In the film, Wu frames the story of two young hacktivists, Swartz and Snowden, who symbolize the disruptive and dynamic nature of the Internet. Wu warns of the danger to democracy when media companies and government are too closely aligned.
Congressman Alan Grayson stated he believed that Killswitch was "One of the most honest accounts of the of the battle to control the Internet -- and access to information itself." Richard von Busack of the Metro Silicon Valley, writes of Killswitch, "Some of the most lapidary use of found footage this side of The Atomic Café". Fred Swegles of the Orange County Register, remarks, "Anyone who values unfettered access to online information is apt to be captivated by Killswitch, a gripping and fast-paced documentary."
2014 Lieutenant Governor's race
Wu ran for the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor of New York against Kathy Hochul, a conservative Democrat, the running mate of incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo. Hochul won, but Wu took 40% of the popular vote. Wu campaigned alongside law professor and progressive activist Zephyr Teachout who ran for the Democratic nomination for governor of New York. In a Washington Post interview discussing his candidacy, Wu described his approach to the campaign as one positioned against the concentration of private power: "A hundred years ago, antitrust and merger enforcement was front page news. And we live in another era of enormous private concentration. And for some reason we call all these 'wonky issues.' They're not, really. They affect people more than half a dozen other issues. Day to day, people's lives are affected by concentration and infrastructure... You can expect a progressive-style, trust-busting kind of campaign out of me. And I fully intend to bridge that gap between the kind of typical issues in electoral politics and questions involving private power."
In late August 2014, The New York Times editorial board endorsed Wu for lieutenant governor in the Democratic Party primary. Wu was the only one of the four candidates in the Democratic gubernatorial races (governor and lieutenant governor) whom the paper endorsed. The primary took place September 9. The day after the Times endorsement, Wu was endorsed by the editorial board of Daily Kos.
He is married to Kate Judge, also a Columbia Law professor, and they have one daughter.
- Tim Wu (2010). The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires. New York: Knopf (ISBN 0307269930, ISBN 978-0-307-26993-5)
- Goldsmith, Jack L., and Tim Wu (2006). Who Controls the Internet? Illusions of a Borderless World. New York: Oxford UP (ISBN 0195152662, ISBN 978-0-19-515266-1)
- (2013) "How the Legal System Failed Aaron Swartz—And Us", The New Yorker News Desk blog, January 14, 2013.
- (2007) "Wireless Net Neutrality: Cellular Carterfone and Consumer Choice in Mobile Broadband", New America Foundation: Wireless Future Program. Working Paper No. 17, Newamerica.net
- (2005) "Copyright's Communications Policy", Michigan Law Review
- (2004) "The Broadband Debate: A User's Guide", Journal of Telecommunications and High Technology Law 3.69
- (2003) "Network Neutrality, Broadband Discrimination", Journal of Telecommunications and High Technology Law 2.2
- "Airports". Timwu.org. Accessed August 24, 2008. (Personal Webpage review.)
- "Keeping Secrets: A Simple Prescription for Keeping Google's Records out of Government Hands". Slate, January 23, 2006. Accessed August 24, 2008.
- "Network Neutrality FAQ". Timwu.org. Accessed August 24, 2008. (Personal Webpage feature; hyperlinked articles by Wu and others.)
- "No Ice". Timwu.org. Accessed August 24, 2008. (Personal Webpage feature.)
- "Why You Should Care about Network Neutrality: The Future of the Internet Depends On It!". Slate, May 6, 2006. Accessed August 24, 2008.
- "Tim Wu". OECD Ministerial Meeting on the Future of the Internet Economy, June 2008. Retrieved 10 December 2008.[dead link]
- "Who Should Govern the Internet?". New America Foundation. Retrieved 16 November 2012.
- Wu, T. (2003). "Network Neutrality, Broadband Discrimination". SSRN Electronic Journal. doi:10.2139/ssrn.388863.
- NETWORK NEUTRALITY, BROADBAND DISCRIMINATION by Tim Wu
- "Tim Wu Elected Board Chair At Free Press". Columbia Law School. 14 April 2008.
- Bray, Hiawatha (21 December 2010). "FCC passes New Neutrality Rule". Boston Globe.
- Ante, Spencer E. (8 November 2008). "Tim Wu, Freedom Fighter". BusinessWeek.
- "Reviewer's Favorites". The New Yorker.
- Wu, Tim (2010-12-22). "America's Original Startup". Fortune.
- "Best Books of 2010". Publishers Weekly.
- "Professor Tim Wu Named Advisor to Federal Trade Commission on Consumer Protection, Competition", Columbia University Public Affairs, New York, Feb. 8, 2011
- "TIM WU". General Assembly. Retrieved September 10, 2014.
- Sommer, Jeff (May 10, 2014). "Defending the Open Internet". The New York Times. Retrieved September 10, 2014.
- Warnica, Richard (September 6, 2014). "Toronto superstar academic who coined ‘net-neutrality’ could be nominee for N.Y. lieutenant-governor". National Post.
- Chen, David W. (August 31, 2014). "Inspired by His Father’s Activism, Tim Wu Is Running for Lieutenant Governor as an Outsider". The New York Times. Retrieved September 10, 2014.
- Ante, Spencer E. (2007-11-08). "Tim Wu, Freedom Fighter". BusinessWeek.
- "Tim Wu". Columbia University School of Law.
- Kim, Ryan (January 25, 2008). "Net neutrality guru to speak at USF". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved September 11, 2014.
- "Tim Wu". Columbia Law School. Retrieved 10 December 2008.
- Schneider-Mayerson, Anna (November 20, 2006). "Wu-Hoo! Nutty Professor Is Voice of a Generation". New York Observer. Retrieved September 11, 2014.
- Lattman, Peter (2006-10-06). "A Paean to the Opinions of the Prolific Judge Posner". The Wall Street Journal Law Blog. Retrieved 2008-10-17.
- Wu, Tim (2006-05-06). "The World Trade Law of Internet Filtering". SSRN.
- Rugaber, Christopher S. (2007-06-25). "Google Fights Internet Censorship". Washington Post.
- Wu, Tim (2007). "Wireless Carterfone". International Journal of Communication: 389–426. Retrieved 2007-11-09.
- "Statement of FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps on the 700 MHz Service Rules". Free Press Newsroom (Press release). freepress.net (Free Press). 2007-07-31. Retrieved 2008-08-24.
- "Program on Law and Technology at Columbia University School of Law". Programs & Centers. Columbia University. Retrieved 2008-08-24.
- "Program on Law and Technology at Columbia University School of Law". columbialawtech.org. Columbia Law School, Columbia University. Retrieved 2008-08-24.
- "About AltLaw". Archived from the original on 2008-07-13. Retrieved 2008-08-24.
Written by Stuart Sierra and Paul Ohm, with help from Luis Villa and Dana Powers, and produced by Tim Wu.
- "Best Books of 2010". Amazon.com.
- "The five best books I read this year". Washington Post.
- von Busack, Richard. "Breaking the Internet: Killswitch Screens at Cinequest". Metro Silicon Valley. Retrieved February 25, 2015.
- Swegles, Fred. "Battle for Internet Control Fuels O.C. -produced Movie". Orange County Register. Retrieved April 16, 2015.
- Grayson, Alan. "Grayson Screen Award Winning "Killswitch" Documentary". Congressman Grayson's House of Rep Official Web Page. Retrieved February 23, 2015.
- von Busack, Richard. "Breaking the Internet: Killswitch Screens at Cinequest". Metro Silicon Valley.
- Swegles, Fred. "Battle for Internet Control Fuels O.C. -produced Movie". Orange County Register.
- "zephyr-teachout-challenges-andrew-cuomo", buzzfeed.com
- washingtonpost.com, 2014/06/16.
- "Timothy Wu for Lieutenant Governor", editorial, The New York Times, August 27, 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-28.
- "The Governor’s Primary in New York: Governor Cuomo’s Failure on Ethics Reform Hinders an Endorsement", editorial, The New York Times, August 26, 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-30.
- "kos", "Daily Kos endorses Tim Wu for New York lieutenant governor, to torment Andrew Cuomo", editorial, Daily Kos, August 28, 2014. Retrieved 2014-08-29.
- Vilensky, Mike. "Ivy League Power Propels Columbia's Tim Wu in Bid to be New York's Lieutenant Governor". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved September 10, 2014.
Further reading and resources
- Futures of the Internet (Viewable and downloadable Web Video clip) (Flash, MP3, MP4, RealVideo, WMV, 3GP, YouTube, etc.). New York Chapter of the Internet Society (ISOC–NY). 2008-04-16. Retrieved 2008-08-24..
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tim Wu.|
- Tim Wu – Faculty biography, Columbia Law School, Columbia University.
- Tim Wu – Personal/Lieutenant Governor 2014 campaign website.
- Tim Wu – Publications and papers by Tim Wu in the Social Science Research Network (SSRN) (abstracts; full texts).
- Tim Wu on The Innovation Cycle at IIEA, 25 May 2009