Larry Lessig talks about copyright concerns

Yesterday I streamed Larry Lessig’s last talk on free culture via my cell phone. Sorry the audio is tough to hear, but it was an important speech and other recordings will eventually show up (it was professionally recorded). The Stanford Daily wrote it up. He took on the issue of copyright and corruption. Rumors are swirling that Lessig is planning on running for Congress. Lessig’s blog is here. For those who don’t know Lessig, he’s the founder and CEO of Creative Commons and as a Stanford Law Professor has launched a bunch of interesting and important initiatives there.

Comments

  1. I am so unimpressed with Lessig, each and every time he is brought forward. For one, I find it hugely annoying when hard leftists with very dense and complex Marxian views of the type “all property is theft” and who imagine they undertake campaigns in the name of “the People” try to reduce their politics (when they fail) to single issues they think will be more “popular”.

    Hence, the grabbing at this idea of campaign corruption after the effort to “free” copyright didn’t work at the Supreme Court.

    How does he think people are going to be paid? The idae that people give away their books is fun when you yourself are a university professor with foundation grants and a salary. Does he think we are endlessly to put out tip jars in Second Life?

    I personally don’t see anything inherently evil about PACs or lobbyists. If they are registered and have the tax structure under the law, what on earth is wrong with them? Why can’t people with money and a point of view get together and promote it? Why must their freedom be restrained, and the sectarian ideologies of copyleftists be promoted as official policy out of the Supreme Court, even?!

    I’m never convinced by anything Lessig and his followers say, ever, because they never explain: who pays?

  2. I am so unimpressed with Lessig, each and every time he is brought forward. For one, I find it hugely annoying when hard leftists with very dense and complex Marxian views of the type “all property is theft” and who imagine they undertake campaigns in the name of “the People” try to reduce their politics (when they fail) to single issues they think will be more “popular”.

    Hence, the grabbing at this idea of campaign corruption after the effort to “free” copyright didn’t work at the Supreme Court.

    How does he think people are going to be paid? The idae that people give away their books is fun when you yourself are a university professor with foundation grants and a salary. Does he think we are endlessly to put out tip jars in Second Life?

    I personally don’t see anything inherently evil about PACs or lobbyists. If they are registered and have the tax structure under the law, what on earth is wrong with them? Why can’t people with money and a point of view get together and promote it? Why must their freedom be restrained, and the sectarian ideologies of copyleftists be promoted as official policy out of the Supreme Court, even?!

    I’m never convinced by anything Lessig and his followers say, ever, because they never explain: who pays?

  3. Prokofy – all interesting points with merits. But you need to look at the samizdat culture that thrived in the USSR where freedom of speech was not protected. Many self-written texts needed to be reproduced underground and of course no profit could be collected until decades later when the true authors were revealed and people paid money to hear reflections on the original idea.

    I’m of the idea that “intellectual property” is a service and that grows (and becomes profitable) only upon extension by others. I don’t understand how somebody can charge $2500 for a digital picture that costs nothing to reproduce or expects a vigorish ad infinitum for a statement made once.

  4. Prokofy – all interesting points with merits. But you need to look at the samizdat culture that thrived in the USSR where freedom of speech was not protected. Many self-written texts needed to be reproduced underground and of course no profit could be collected until decades later when the true authors were revealed and people paid money to hear reflections on the original idea.

    I’m of the idea that “intellectual property” is a service and that grows (and becomes profitable) only upon extension by others. I don’t understand how somebody can charge $2500 for a digital picture that costs nothing to reproduce or expects a vigorish ad infinitum for a statement made once.

  5. Hmm. Having read all of Lessig’s books, I’ve never once seen him write “all property is theft”. In fact, he points to the *balance* of property more than anything else.

    Criticisms of Lessig’s works along those lines is akin to people who are anti-Darwin and have never read ‘The Origin of the Species’. Perhaps Prokofy should spend more time reading than writing. :-)

  6. Hmm. Having read all of Lessig’s books, I’ve never once seen him write “all property is theft”. In fact, he points to the *balance* of property more than anything else.

    Criticisms of Lessig’s works along those lines is akin to people who are anti-Darwin and have never read ‘The Origin of the Species’. Perhaps Prokofy should spend more time reading than writing. :-)

  7. Stop trolling, Taran/Nobody, I’ve read Lessig’s work. And I didn’t say that he said “all property is theft” — that’s a quote variously attributed to John Updike and others. THAT was merely to sum up the idea that many people *more extreme than Lessig* espouse, invoking him.

    I don’t see the balance you claim at all in Lessig’s work. I also know that people who try to criticize him are set upon by junkyard dogs that fiercely protect his ideology — who are usually more extreme than he is.

    BTW, it doesn’t take much ingenuity to come up with a criticism of Darwin, looking at the created world. In fact, you could say something like, God created evolution har har.

    Open your mind.

    anon, I fail to understand why samizdat, which grew up by authors who were censored or who had no hope of being published, and who in fact did often publish abroad and get paid for the work (Sinyavsky and Daniel, to name but two) and people who are NOT censored, who have ample opportunity to publish without restriction, if nowhere else, on their blogs.

    I don’t make any moral equivalence whatsoever between the Soviet Union of the 1960s-1990s and the United States at that time or now. That would be absurd.

    Copyright and payment for work protects the ability of people to make a living with their work. If you zoom in on this or that example of copyright that appears absurd to you — 100-year-old copyrights, ad jingles long since replaced, etc. you will find absurdities. But taken as a whole, the system works to *make it possible for artists/creators/writers to earn a living.

    Nothing I have seen in Creative Commons makes it possible for people to earn a living in the same way. I don’t see Julian Dibbell going off to publish ALL his books in this fashion. I don’t see him putting his most recent article in Wired, for which he was paid handsomely, up on a blog. So it’s empty, it’s facile, it’s actually a kind of Big Lie, because it basically enables people who *are* paid to just posture now and then and make it seem like they are providing Art for the People — which is fake, they aren’t.

  8. Stop trolling, Taran/Nobody, I’ve read Lessig’s work. And I didn’t say that he said “all property is theft” — that’s a quote variously attributed to John Updike and others. THAT was merely to sum up the idea that many people *more extreme than Lessig* espouse, invoking him.

    I don’t see the balance you claim at all in Lessig’s work. I also know that people who try to criticize him are set upon by junkyard dogs that fiercely protect his ideology — who are usually more extreme than he is.

    BTW, it doesn’t take much ingenuity to come up with a criticism of Darwin, looking at the created world. In fact, you could say something like, God created evolution har har.

    Open your mind.

    anon, I fail to understand why samizdat, which grew up by authors who were censored or who had no hope of being published, and who in fact did often publish abroad and get paid for the work (Sinyavsky and Daniel, to name but two) and people who are NOT censored, who have ample opportunity to publish without restriction, if nowhere else, on their blogs.

    I don’t make any moral equivalence whatsoever between the Soviet Union of the 1960s-1990s and the United States at that time or now. That would be absurd.

    Copyright and payment for work protects the ability of people to make a living with their work. If you zoom in on this or that example of copyright that appears absurd to you — 100-year-old copyrights, ad jingles long since replaced, etc. you will find absurdities. But taken as a whole, the system works to *make it possible for artists/creators/writers to earn a living.

    Nothing I have seen in Creative Commons makes it possible for people to earn a living in the same way. I don’t see Julian Dibbell going off to publish ALL his books in this fashion. I don’t see him putting his most recent article in Wired, for which he was paid handsomely, up on a blog. So it’s empty, it’s facile, it’s actually a kind of Big Lie, because it basically enables people who *are* paid to just posture now and then and make it seem like they are providing Art for the People — which is fake, they aren’t.

  9. >and all his books are free to download under CC.

    Because he has a high salary as a professor at Stanford, and is paid to write.

  10. >and all his books are free to download under CC.

    Because he has a high salary as a professor at Stanford, and is paid to write.