Mary Anne Franks

Mary Anne Franks

Mary Anne Franks

Eugene L. and Barbara A. Bernard Professor in Intellectual Property, Technology, and Civil Rights Law


2000 H Street, NW Washington, DC 20052

Dr. Mary Anne Franks is the Eugene L. and Barbara A. Bernard Professor in Intellectual Property, Technology, and Civil Rights Law at the George Washington University Law School. She is an internationally recognized expert on the intersection of civil rights, free speech, and technology. Her other areas of expertise include family law, criminal law, criminal procedure, First Amendment law, and Second Amendment law.

Dr. Franks is also the President and Legislative & Tech Policy Director of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, a nonprofit organization dedicated to combating online abuse and discrimination. In 2013, she drafted the first model criminal statute on nonconsensual pornography (sometimes referred to as “revenge porn”), which has served as the template for multiple state laws and for pending federal legislation on the issue. She served as the reporter for the Uniform Law Commission’s 2018 Uniform Civil Remedies for the Unauthorized Disclosure of Intimate Images Act and frequently advises state and federal legislators on various forms of technology-facilitated abuse. Dr. Franks also advises several major technology platforms on privacy, free expression, and safety issues. She has been an Affiliate Fellow of the Yale Law School Information Society Project since 2019.

Dr. Franks is the author of the award-winning book, The Cult of the Constitution: Our Deadly Devotion to Guns and Free Speech (Stanford Press, 2019). She was awarded a Knight Foundation grant to support research for her second book, Fearless Speech, which is expected in 2024. Her scholarship has also appeared in the Harvard Law Review, the California Law Review, and UCLA Law Review, among others.

Prior to joining the GW faculty, Dr. Franks was the Michael R. Klein Distinguished Scholar Chair at the University of Miami School of Law and an Affiliated Faculty member of the University of Miami Department of Philosophy. She previously taught at the University of Chicago Law School as a Bigelow Fellow and Lecturer in Law and at Harvard University as a lecturer in social studies and philosophy. She holds a JD from Harvard Law School as well as a doctorate and a master’s degree from Oxford University, where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar. She was named a member of the American Law Institute in October 2018 and is a member of the District of Columbia Bar.

In the News

"UC Virtual Conference Centers Free Speech, Civil Rights Amid Ongoing Tensions on College Campuses"

Diverse: Issues in Higher Education quoted Mary Anne Franks on the “marketplace of ideas” brought up in First Amendment arguments not always being foolproof.

"It’s time to close the loophole that lets tech run wild"

The Hill quoted testimony from Mary Anne Franks said that there’s no exception to letting wild tech rule without liability for their actions.

"Students used AI to create nude photos of their classmates. For some, arrests came next"

USA Today quoted Mary Anne Franks on the severity of revenge porn and its legal outcomes.

BA, Loyola University New Orleans; MPhil, DPhil, Oxford University; JD, Harvard University