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Lessig Defends Free Culture in Keynote 179

lisah writes "Professor Larry Lessig, a keynote speaker at this week's Linux World Expo, took issue with current copyright laws and their effect on a free read-write culture. Lessig says that, by today's standards, the simple act of creating a video mashup renders its creator a 'pirate' and argued for sweeping changes that would embrace a fair use culture. Lessig asked the audience to consider sharing works under a Creative Commons license and redirect money they would spend on restricted content to organizations that support a fair use and free culture. He says that opponents of a free read-write culture have strong financial and political backing so unified community support is crucial. 'If the debate is controlled by lawyers and lobbyists...," says Lessig, 'this debate will be lost.'"
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Lessig Defends Free Culture in Keynote

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  • Interesting... (Score:2, Interesting)

    It's interesting to see how this affects different media. Creating and posting a mash-up of the Harry Potter films would be grounds for a lawsuit, and yet there's nothing to stop millions of thirteen-year-olds writing terrible fanfic and posting it all over the internet. Oh, the horror!
    • Re:Interesting... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by BootNinja ( 743040 )
      Some authors, such as Orson Scott Card [hatrack.com] actively discourage fanfiction and takes measures to prevent it. Following is Card's own words on the subject:
      http://www.hatrack.com/research/interviews/yoda-pa tta.shtml [hatrack.com]
      (at the bottom of the page)

      Question
      How do you feel about your fans writing "fanfiction" using characters that are already established by you (e.g, Ender, Valetine, etc.)?

      OSC Answers
      I'm flattered; and then, if they try to publish it (including on the net) except in very restricted circumstances

      • IANAL, but it sounds to me like he's mixed up certain aspects of trademark or patent law with copyright. Unless the fan is actually copying his work (more than the characters) then copyright is not involved. And unless he's somehow taken out a trademark on certain parts of his stories then there's nothing for the fans to dilute, which appears to be what he thinks is happening with "copyright".
        • Re:Interesting... (Score:3, Interesting)

          by penix1 ( 722987 )
          See my post above about derivative works. Copyright law does prohibit derivative works. So Card can (and it appears from the post above will) sue those violating the derivative works clause of copyright.

          B.
        • Of course, that may be a misunderstanding he used to have.
      • He's dead wrong (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Builder ( 103701 )
        Mr Card is absolutely wrong. You do not have to defend your copyright, only your trademarks. If any of these characters is trademarked, then he has to act in every case where he becomes aware of infringment. See the recent posts about Google trying to stop people using their name as a verb.

        Trademarks must be defended. Patents and copyrights don't.

        Interesting to see that OSC would sue over something he obviously doesn't understand. Hopefully his lawyers would stop him.

        It's also interesting to see an artist c
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by KDR_11k ( 778916 )
          I'd put my money on his publisher ('s lawyers) intentionally feeding him lies so he prevents fan works from competing with any sequels.
  • Money! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by andrewman327 ( 635952 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @07:28PM (#15923487) Homepage Journal


    How much money would this culture cost the entertainment producers? If fair use is really fair then it should still allow


    I do not think that media should be allowed to be replayed for free. Significant amounts of money went into making TV shows and movies and the like and any system must ensure that the producer gets his cut. Contrary to the demands of my sig, not all information should be completely free. Using the CC license [creativecommons.org] is a happy medium. The I really think that this speaker has the right approach, so to speak. From TFA:

    He also noted that there are two ways of approaching the argument for free culture. The first is the "lefty" way of talking about ideals, which doesn't seem to get very far with many people. The "right" approach discusses why expanded rights for users under copyright law would be good for business, good for growth, and good for the economy and society.
    • Re:Money! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by chris_eineke ( 634570 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @07:57PM (#15923576) Homepage Journal
      I do not think that media should be allowed to be replayed for free.
      That's one of many options. If there a lot options, usually a free market can make the right decision (not the best, just the right). Let's get rid of the state-enforced monopoly that is copyright and see with what option businesses come up with. Try DRM? Fine with me. But don't legislate it.

      I do not think that media should be allowed to be replayed for free. Significant amounts of money went into making TV shows and movies and the like
      That's funny. Compare a Ferrari from 1983 (random date) that cost $230,000 to make and sold for $800,000 to a baseball card from 1930 that cost $0.02 and sold for $0.50. The Ferrari is less worth today, but the baseball card increases its value. Conclusion: the price of a good does not depend on the cost, but the on the desire of the buyer. The more desire there is for a product, the higher the price will be. Austrian Economics, check it out.

      and any system must ensure that the producer gets his cut.
      Good idea in theory. In practice, that's communism. And as we already know, that didn't and continues not to do so well. (Compare: someone who polishes turds. Should he get paid for the hard work he does?)
      • Re:Money! (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Rakishi ( 759894 )
        That's one of many options. If there a lot options, usually a free market can make the right decision (not the best, just the right). Let's get rid of the state-enforced monopoly that is copyright and see with what option businesses come up with. Try DRM? Fine with me. But don't legislate it.

        Well if we're going to remove artificially create rights and restrictions we also need to get rid of most laws. Or are you being hypocritical? Why do YOU have a monopoly on your property? I should be able to take whatev
        • Re:Money! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Mr. Hankey ( 95668 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @08:46PM (#15923815) Homepage
          Well if we're going to remove artificially create rights and restrictions we also need to get rid of most laws. Or are you being hypocritical? Why do YOU have a monopoly on your property? I should be able to take whatever I want, sure you can stop me or try to but I should be able to freely shoot you dead as well.

          You're missing the point. Copyright did not start out to be a mechanism for forcing people to pay for content every time they were exposed to it. The current incarnation is completely counter to its original purpose, and arguably no longer serves the public in a positive way.

          Huh? By that reasoning all artificial rights are communism. Everything short of total anarchy is communism.

          Forced distribution of resources dictated by the government is communism, capitalism lets the market dictate how they are distributed. By what definition is copyright capitalistic?
          • It's pointless to say "that's communism" or "that's capitalism". The truth is that there's no such thing as pure communism or capitalism. Neither one works as an economic system unto itself. You have to mix and match. You could easily say that socialized health care is a communist idea, but the fact remains that most developed countries have it regardless of their ostensible economic system. Copyright is the same way. It's a system that fosters the sharing of ideas. It may not be "pure capitalism" b
            • While I don't disagree with any of your points in principle, I do believe that Copyright has been extended well beyond the period where it's useful for its intended purpose. It is my opinion that IP hoarding and the associated lawsuits have gotten to the point where they're destructive to both the public domain and the society in general.
          • by Mant ( 578427 )

            Forced distribution of resources dictated by the government is communism,

            Er no. Communism is a political philosphy, not an economic one like capitalism. They are in no way opposites.

            Government control of resources is known as a Command Economy, or centrally planned. Its a part of the communist idea, but you can have a planned economy with any comuunisim at all (it is quite popular with some extreme right wing politicians as well).

            capitalism lets the market dictate how they are distributed. By what

            • by PCM2 ( 4486 )

              Er no. Communism is a political philosphy, not an economic one like capitalism.

              Upon what do you base this statement? Is it a coincidence that, after The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx's most significant work is called Das Kapital? Marx saw capitalism and communism as not just comparable, but inextricably linked. He argued that communism would be the economic system that would succeed the era of rampant capitalism. Who knows... he may yet be proven right. The capitalist era seems only to be gaining stea

        • Well if we're going to remove artificially create rights and restrictions we also need to get rid of most laws. Or are you being hypocritical? Why do YOU have a monopoly on your property? I should be able to take whatever I want, sure you can stop me or try to but I should be able to freely shoot you dead as well.

          And you've just illustrated with Intellectual Monopoly is not property. It just doesn't translate.
          As this is /. we can queue the unlimited number of bad analogies, but the reason they are all bad

          • Any idea can literally be known by every living human and this doesn't preclude the next-born to also know or have this idea, and in no way impacts all those that already have the idea.

            Yes, that's true - ideas are nonrival goods. But they are not free goods, and they do roughly obey the law of supply and demand. The question becomes how to create incentives for the production of ideas, if the ideas cannot be valuable to the idea-generator.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by dwandy ( 907337 )

              Yes, that's true - ideas are nonrival goods. But they are not free goods, and they do roughly obey the law of supply and demand.

              I'm not sure what you mean by this: ideas aren't goods, but they are 'free' as in anyone can trade time and neuron-cycles for one. The notion that intellectual monopoly should be called intellectual property is marketing speak by those that want to extort rents... ideas aren't 'goods' or 'property' as they can't be 'owned' in the physical property sense.

              The question becomes how

              • Humans create. Our creativity is one of the main reasons we are the dominant species on this planet. That creativity bubbles within us (more in some than others to be sure!) and wants to get out.

                True - left alone, humans will create. For themselves. But creating a market in ideas is the only way to have a mechanism that can easily compensate people for creating things of value to others. I think your example of OSS software is illustrative in this regard. There are no shortage of projects for popular n

                • by dwandy ( 907337 )

                  True - left alone, humans will create. For themselves. But creating a market in ideas is the only way to have a mechanism that can easily compensate people for creating things of value to others.

                  Well ...that's just not true. "only way"? current way, sure, but a market for ideas is only a coupl'a hundred years old and yet Mozart composed music that is still appreciated today and he was compensated. Am I suggesting that was a better way? maybe not, but it's different....

                  But who is out there volunteering to

      • "Compare: someone who polishes turds. Should he get paid for the hard work he does?"

        If there's a demand for polished turds, yes. But if The Market says "We want turds, but we don't want to pay for them" while the Turd Polisher #1 says "My turds are $3" then The Market needs to find Turd Polisher #2, who's giving them away for free, instead of subverting Turd Polisher #1's business ... and let him instead realize that he's pricing himself out of the market.
        • The only industry I can imagine that pays for polished turds is the hardcore porn industry. ;)

          (Yeah, mod me -1: Disgusting.)
        • by Mr2001 ( 90979 )

          If there's a demand for polished turds, yes. But if The Market says "We want turds, but we don't want to pay for them" while the Turd Polisher #1 says "My turds are $3" then The Market needs to find Turd Polisher #2, who's giving them away for free, instead of subverting Turd Polisher #1's business ... and let him instead realize that he's pricing himself out of the market.

          This is, of course, exactly what file sharing enables. The Market says "we want 'Hit Me Baby One More Time', but we don't want to pay fo

      • Good idea in theory. In practice, that's communism. And as we already know, that didn't and continues not to do so well.

        I don't follow how paying the person responsible for the work -- the person without whom the work would not exist -- equates to communism. Please clarify?

        Compare: someone who polishes turds. Should he get paid for the hard work he does?

        Of course he should -- if there's a market for polished turds. But more to the point -- should the poor sot who crapped out the turd be getting pai

    • Re:Money! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mr. Hankey ( 95668 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @08:19PM (#15923677) Homepage
      The entire purpose of Copyright, as it was initially envisioned, was to create a thriving public domain to benefit the people as a whole. Yes, that which others had spent money on was originally intended to be free after a time, in order to allow the creator time to make a profit before their work was contributed to the public. As a limited sort of monopoly, it more or less did what it was intended.

      Through gratuitous copyright extension however, the system has been perverted into what is primarily a vector with which to attack others through the legal system. What was originally supposed to be a way to increase the size and quality of the public domain is now being used to create virtually unlimited monopolies on information. Whatever view you may have on copyright, it's certainly not being used as it was originally intended. The Creative Commons is a step in the right direction, but we're still stuck with the problem.
      • What was originally supposed to be a way to increase the size and quality of the public domain is now being used to create virtually unlimited monopolies on information.
        I'd state it as

        What was originally supposed to be a way to increase the size and quality of the public domain is now being used to ensure that no new content ever gets into the public domain. The exact opposite of the original intent.

      • The entire purpose of Copyright, as it was initially envisioned, was to create a thriving public domain to benefit the people as a whole

        The purpose of copyright is to encourage and reward creativity and ambition. It is not to make of the public domain a refuge for the second-rate.

        I see posts almost daily on Slashdot complaining that there is nothing new in movies or music or games.

        But when the Geek produces his homemade own sci-fi epic, it is, quite predictatively, an anal-rententive remake of Star Trek:

        • westlake, you happen to be wrong. The purpose of copyright was twofold: (1) to reward the artist, and (2) to return the work to the public domain after a limited period of time. Now that the term of copyright has been tripled from 25 to 75 years neither purpose is being served. The artist is long dead. And the public has to wait a ridiculous 75 years. All that is being served is the interest of big money -- i.e. companies like Disney.
          • I would disagree as to even the rewarding the artist part. The grant to the artist is meant to encourage him. Whether or not he is in fact rewarded depends on the market. Whether or not he should be encouraged depends on the nature of his work and willingness to seek a reward (consider e.g. architectural works, which traditionally were uncopyrightable because we knew they'd get created anyway, what with copyright not being a notable incentive in that field).

            The purpose of encouraging the artist, however, is
        • The purpose of copyright is to encourage and reward creativity and ambition. It is not to make of the public domain a refuge for the second-rate.

          Precisely, the intention was to make our public domain and culture first rate. The fact that it has been turned on itself to produce money rather than improve our culture is a shame.
      • The entire purpose of Copyright, as it was initially envisioned, was to create a thriving public domain to benefit the people as a whole.

        I see this repeated often in Slashdot YRO discussions, but have seen little primary or secondary source material affirming this interpretation of copyright envisioners' intent.

        The purpose of copyright, intrinsically, is to confirm that creators have a special intellectual property right, that they have some form of possession over the creative works they make that others d
        • The first copyright law in the US was entitled "An act for the encouragement of learning". Copyright exists (at least in the U.S.) purely to encourage the advance of science and the arts, which are the domain of the public, by encouraging people with a limited form of monopoly for their works. A reasonable limit is important, as it was recognized by the creators of the U.S. Constitution that unlimited monopolies do more damage than good. An excerpt from the Constitution:

          "Copyright law, in turn, traces back
    • Re:Money! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bayankaran ( 446245 )
      How much money would this culture cost the entertainment producers?

      How can you monetize/calculate the revenue of your work released under "Creative Commons" or other licenses?

      I am an entertainment producer. Its easy to make cheap copies of whatever (CD/DVD/download) you are selling. So one cannot determine the loss of revenue if you release your work under a "Creative Commons" license.

      I dont put any type of restrictions on the DVDs (there is an FBI warning, but who takes it seriously) I sell. Inste
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Kadin2048 ( 468275 )
        The solution is not to make work on speculation; make it on commission.

        We've become attached to the speculative/at-risk work model of art production, even though I'm not convinced that it's really all that beneficial to artists. It results in many more artists and much more art than the market really demands at any given time, and many more failures than would otherwise happen, if artists waited for a demand to exist, and then created for that demand, rather than the other way around.

        If you are a sculptor,
    • Re:Money! (Score:4, Informative)

      by ratboy666 ( 104074 ) <{moc.liamtoh} {ta} {legiew_derf}> on Thursday August 17, 2006 @12:19AM (#15924743) Journal

      You are wrong about TV The producer/actors/etc involved in a TV production are paid on the first airing. By the commercial inserts. If the program HAPPENS to be successful and go into syndication, there will be additional payouts, but that is NOT guaranteed. And, in some cases, is rather ludicrous (examples off the top of my head: reruns of Jeopardy, American Idol, or Survivor?).

      In other words, some shows MUST have made all the money on the first airing; we can presume that most others do so as well.

      TV programs and movies cannot be, as a result, directly compared. "Piracy" cannot really hurt TV, unless the program is pirated BEFORE it is released with its commercials. Indeed, PVRs with commercial skip are a greater "threat" to the TV content producers. Which is why product placement becomes such a big deal. I watch "American Idol" (a guilty pleasure). I rarely (never) watch it "live", but from my PVR, with commercials deleted. However, I know Coke and Ford sponsor the program - product placement. (and, yes, I *am* influenced by the ads.

      YMMV
      Ratboy

      "Piracy" can hurt movies; but not to a big extent. Specifically, it is still very costly to download a full-resolution (DVD) quality movie. I compute the typical cost in Toronto to be $5. Given that this is directly comparable to DVD rental, and considerably less convenient (days to download), AND is only DVD (SD) resolution, I don't think the theater experience is really threatened. And that is where the movies should be paid for -- the theatrical release.
      • The fruit seller down the street from me is not guaranteed that anyone will buy his oranges before they go bad. That doesn't make stealing them ok.

        The producers, writers and actors of TV shows expect that if they do a good job, their show will go into syndication and sell on DVD. You can't just deprive them of that income because those sales aren't guaranteed. The fact that people are willing to pay for the DVDs and watch those reruns and that advertisers are willing to pay for those reruns to be aired prov
    • Last I checked, you, me or anyone else has no 'right to a profit'. If current entertainment is so expensive to produce, perhaps that is because it is a monopoly and woefully inefficient. Monopolies set their prices at such that marginal cost equals marginal revenue, rather than at equilibrium price. That is, monopoly pricing is inherently unfair and usually bad for the rest of the economy.

      It is irrelevant how much a product costs entertainment producers. If as an entertainer you want to make a profit, then
  • Sadly... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @07:34PM (#15923504)
    Most people are going to look at Dr. Lessig and fail to grasp why this is important at all. Until we all realize that we're being ripped off, and that this kind of freedom IS important, we're going to be stuck with the media giants telling us where, when, and how we can use "their content."
    • Re:Sadly... (Score:3, Interesting)

      I've always felt that the reason DRM and content restrictive licenses don't drum up more outrage is simply because most people are entertainment sinks. Media and content goes into their ears and eyes and then doesn't do anything. The creative types, the young folks learning about mixed media on computers, and the artists are in such small number that their outrage over being stifled goes unnoticed by everyone else. If more people actually used the media as a means of creative expression and not just a di
      • drum up more outrage is simply because most people are entertainment sinks.

        That is because the media companies want us to be entertainment sinks. Much of the population is too busy filling there mind with crap to notice what is going on in the world unless its being broadcast to them by one of the big six.

        Check out "You Are Being Lied To" by Rusk Kick for some insightful information

      • Re:Sadly... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jack Action ( 761544 )
        I've always felt that the reason DRM and content restrictive licenses don't drum up more outrage is simply because most people are entertainment sinks. Media and content goes into their ears and eyes and then doesn't do anything.

        Yes and no.

        Wait until DRM restrictions are slapped on TV's (HDTV anyone?) and begin to interfere with Joe Couch Potato's ability to watch the latest pablum.

        Then, there will be outrage.
  • by Almahtar ( 991773 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @07:43PM (#15923537) Journal
    Redirecting spending money from copyrighted content to independent artists releasing their work under the Creative Commons license is akin to becoming vegan/veggetarian: It requires willpower, it requires sometimes going for what is best when it's not what you want, and overall it's worth it. It's also doomed to failure in an instant gratification culture.

    It has my support, though, for what that's worth. I wish the idea the best of luck, and I gladly participate.
    • by MrAndrews ( 456547 ) <mcmNO@SPAM1889.ca> on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @07:59PM (#15923585) Homepage
      That's a big problem for the CC movement at the moment... it DOES require willpower for the average person to go "free". It's a lot easier in software, but entertainment is still the domain of the big players. And it's not really a valid argument that big companies are the only ones making good stuff... but they spend a lot of money to maintain the image that non-Big Label content is amateurish. You "hit it big" when you sign with a multinational company, and until then, you're just building your portfolio.

      Open source software folks are probably the best ones to realize the flaw in that argument, since by the same standards something like Linux would only be for amateurs. But still I think we all view indie content as necessarily lower-quality, which makes the whole thing a self-fulfilling prophecy... artists see no reason to be professional amateurs so they DO hold out for the big labels. We'd rather watch Firefly on DVD than support some of the cool things web artists (working under CC) want to do.

      If everyone that reads Slashdot pledged to spend $10 a month on CC content, I bet you'd see a lot more quality content emerge, and it'd require a lot less willpower to swear off copyrighted things completely.
    • Redirecting spending money from copyrighted content to independent artists releasing their work under the Creative Commons license is akin to becoming vegan/veggetarian: It requires willpower, it requires sometimes going for what is best when it's not what you want, and overall it's worth it. It's also doomed to failure in an instant gratification culture.

      It also makes the assumption that creative works, like foods, are fungible; that any one is as good as any other. In neither case is this particularly tr
  • by Shihar ( 153932 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @07:47PM (#15923549)
    I had the pleasure of seeing Lessig speak a year ago. If you ever have the chance to see this man, do so. Even if you hate his message, he is an absolute god when it comes to speaking and presenting. His style of presentation has earned its own title of the "Lessig" style of presentation.

    While I am somewhat awed by Lessig's ability to present, my real admiration for him comes from how he has pursued his cause. Lessig argues for radical change in current laws. He is not the only person to argue for radical change. What makes Lessig different is that had has not only made attempts to work within law to bring about change, but he has gone even further and tried to implement what he advocates within a voluntary and completely legal manner without reliance on the force of government to enact the change that he seeks. Lots of people advocate some sort of radical change in society, but relatively few make a genuine attempt to bring about such change through methods other then complaining to the government to use the force of law.

    The Creative Commons is an incredible accomplishment. While the CC is in no danger of displacing current media, it has certainly started to make a dent. Will the CC ever make a dent large enough for the average Joe to really sit up and take notice without legislative change? Perhaps not, but what it has done is create an ecosystem to explore the 'fair use' world that Lessig envisions. Even those who find the watering down of copyright power revolting can not honestly proclaim any sort of mal-intent from creating a way for artists who want to offer their works to the public domain a simple and easily identifiable way to do so.

    I strongly encourage anyone who is even vaugly interested in this debate to check out Lessig's book, Free Culture. Keeping in tune with Lessig's philosophy on copyright, the book is freely available online. Some enterprising readers of the book also have a complete reading of the book in MP3 format. Check it out.
    • The problem with Lessig is that his position is not anti-copyright, but reform copyright enough to find a "happy" middle ground. While this sounds nice, the RIAA and MPAA understand very cleary that this is an all or nothing battle and have been using him to confuse and appease the masses from the front-door while they ram down harsher than ever copyright restriction laws and lawsiuts thru the back door. Is he refusing to take a total stand against copyrights because he has some deep moral understanding a
  • Lessig says that, by today's standards, the simple act of creating a video mashup renders its creator a 'pirate' and argued for sweeping changes that would embrace a fair use culture.

    I suppose that the validity of that statement is rather dependent upon the jurisdiction under which you have chosen to live. As for the dire consequences of this particular example, I shall be hard pressed to lose much sleep; first of all, the statement only applies in those circumstances in which the creator of the video clip

    • How ghastly! Perusing my post, I have come upon the horrendous realization that I seem to have misspoken in one of my paragraphs; perhaps I should retire for the night, but before I do, please allow me the opportunity to correct the aforementioned paragraph, which I shall now include:
      I am unfamiliar with the finer nuances of the English language. When one refers to an entire group ("opponents"), without using an adjective such as "some," does one imply that the rest of the sentence applies to every person b
    • How can a debate be controlled by "lawyers and lobbyists," and even if such a thing was possible, how would this lead to the loss of the debate? If you have truth and reason on your side, you shall surely win the debate if both parties are allowed to express themselves.
      Y'all ain't from these here parts, are ya?
    • I suppose that the validity of that statement is rather dependent upon the jurisdiction under which you have chosen to live.

      Am I given a choice, or do the other 99.999999% of the voting population choose for me?

      the statement only applies in those circumstances in which the creator of the video clip does not desire to allow you to use their product in such a manner; if one find such a practice objectionable, one is free (nay, encouraged) to go forth and produce more free content

      Not so fast. There exist

      • Am I given a choice, or do the other 99.999999% of the voting population choose for me?

        Yes, you are given a choice as to where you desire to live. The only manner in which the voting population of your current country could limit that choice would be if they decided to completely seal off the country and not allow anyone to leave (as was done in many Eastern Bloc countries during the Cold War, though that was definitely without the consent of the citizenry).

        If you accidentally copy part of one of those wor

        • by tepples ( 727027 )

          The only manner in which the voting population of your current country could limit that choice would be if they decided to completely seal off the country and not allow anyone to leave

          So how do I find the money to leave? And what country outside of Berne is developed enough that I don't lose more in press freedom than I gain by escaping the corruption of copyright?

          How exactly does one go about "accidentally copying part" of a work; I suppose it may make some sense if one refers to music

          And I am in fac

  • Keynote? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by amliebsch ( 724858 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @08:36PM (#15923765) Journal

    FTFH: Lessig Defends Free Culture in Keynote

    If he's going to be defending "Free Culture," then shouldn't he really be doing it in Impress [openoffice.org] and not Keynote [apple.com]???

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Wednesday August 16, 2006 @10:36PM (#15924325) Homepage

    Lessig is starting to sound like Stallman. Stallman is more effective, though. What we need is some serious lobbying, along the following lines:

    • Copyright harmonization The US should not go beyond the 50 years of the TRIPS agreement. 50 years from first publication, copyright expires. That's it. Free Elvis! (The US can do that unilaterally. Less than 50 years requires international negotiation.)
    • Make copy protection illegal for uncopyrightable material If you can't copyright it, you can't use technical means to protect it.
    • Enforce the Audio Home Recording Act Any arrangement between manufacturers and/or content distributors to restrict rights guaranteed to consumers is illegal restraint of trade.
    • Free spectrum, free content If it goes out over the free airwaves, like TV channels for which broadcasters do not pay, it can't be copy protected.
    Now that's a reasonable agenda to lobby for.
    • Pft. That's totally unreasonable.

      Copyright harmonization The US should not go beyond the 50 years of the TRIPS agreement. 50 years from first publication, copyright expires. That's it. Free Elvis! (The US can do that unilaterally. Less than 50 years requires international negotiation.)

      Actually, the US should abandon all copyright treaties. That, we can also do unilaterally. Copyright harmonization isn't even a good idea. Each country should decide how much copyright, in terms of length and scope, is best fo
      • by Animats ( 122034 )
        Pft. That's totally unreasonable.

        Actually, the US should abandon all copyright treaties.

        That's probably out of reach politically, and it's not even a good idea, but scaling back to the 50 years of TRIPS might be within reach. Few works have significant commercial value after 50 years. Maybe put in a renewal provision that allows renewal after 50 years for $10,000/year, to keep Disney happy. This would allow a smooth flow of old content into the public domain.

        I don't think that this ("Make copy prote

        • That's probably out of reach politically, and it's not even a good idea

          We'll have to work on it politically, but anything's possible. I fail to see why you think it's a bad idea, however.

          Few works have significant commercial value after 50 years.

          Actually, few works have significant commercial value ever. Of those few, fewer still have significant commercial value after a few months of publication in any given medium. Of those, fewer yet still have significant commercial value after a few years. Almost noth
    • I would love to see all that come to pass, but come on... how on earth could such a lobbying agenda ever get funded at the requisite levels? Remember "Rock the Vote," where an entire generation was going to wake like a sleeping giant & give Washington what for? Even with exposure to the saturation point, voter turnout was anemic at best for Rock the Vote's target demographic.

      Turning your laudable agenda into reality takes more than tip-jar money - it takes soul-owning money. The other side has quite an
  • He also used a really funky "one slide per emphasized word" method of presentation that David Weinberger took great pleasure in parodying in his own talk [wikimedia.org] two days later. :-)

I've never been canoeing before, but I imagine there must be just a few simple heuristics you have to remember... Yes, don't fall out, and don't hit rocks.

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