Larry Lessig says that we’re not active enough politically and if we don’t do anything our freedoms will be taken away. (O’Reilly Page) Full coverage is below.

TimO introduces. Larry’s Code gives us a way to think about technology. Stanford, Creative Commons, Eldred vs. Ashcroft (“free mickey campaign” in hacker circles). Listen very hard and incorporate into your thinking framework.

I’ve been doing this for two years, over a hundred of these gigs and then it’s over. one more after this. So i wrote a song… well, just the refrain “creativity and innovation always builds on the past / the past always tries to control the creativity that builds on it / free society tries to protect the future by limiting the cotnrol fo the past / ours is less and less of a free society”.

Recants history of free society. London said copyright is forever, Bono said forever less a day. he’s got some cool slides. copyright reversed and shakespeare was freed. freed clture.

1790, free cultured carried to america. unregulated creativity. unregulated because copyright law only covered “printing” not derivatives. only for 14 years. you could read the source of shakespeare — the source was the work. this was the design. even with patents, you could just take a cotton gin apart. control was tiny.

This lasted even until 1928. His hero, Walt Disney — plays steamboat willey! oh, just a clip… guess it’s fair use. Of course, Disney stole willey from steamboat bill by steamboat bill. didn’t wait fourteen years. they just ripped, mixed and burned steamboat! he always paroddied films. this is disney — taking public domain works and copyrighted works and made movies. Grimm are utterly bloddy and moralistic stories which were retold by Disney. Only because of the commons. a lawyer-free zone. [logo: lawyer with no sign] (cheers!) “Limited Times” and it was originally limited… 14 yrs, 28, 42, 56, 63, 65, 66, 67, 68, 70, 75, 95. extended by the mickey mouse protection act. meaning of the pattern is clear. no one can do to disney what disney did to the grimm. the public domain is gone. [free mickey!]

Things are different now. We have a massive creativity regulation system. [pic: copyright law grows]. regulating printings to copies to derivs. 14 years to life+70. expansion of law but also expansion of technological control. opaque creativity — proprietary code. you don’t get to see how the thing qorks and law protects the thing you don’t see. nature has been reformed so nature can be hidden and still protected. not just that but also control of uses. shows his adobe ebook pic and his “permissions”. 10 selections into the clipboard every 10 days. allowed to read allowed. aristotle: politics. but no, can’t copy any text. can’t print any pages. the future of ideas, no copy, no printing, don’t dare read allowd! [laughs]. sing button in next version, though.

control is built into the tech. that control adds to expansion of law. new kind of regulation. most uses were unregulated. not just fair use, but unregulated. reading is not just fair it’s unregulated. giving, sleeping, selling, all unregulated. and in the center is a small bit of stuff regulated (publishing) and then there’s this tiny band inside called fair use (quoting). so three camps, not two: unreg, fair use, copyirght. internet: every act is a copy so unregulated uses disappear. now we’re forced into tiny thing of fair uses. and then they delete fair use.

shows movie of sony aibo. teaches people how to hack your dog so it can dance jazz. now listen up, europeans. it’s ok to dance jazz in the us (maybe not georgia…) but otherwise ok. fair use right? not under the DMCA, apparently. DMCA has erased fair use. not allowed to touch for any reason. all that’s left of these three classes of uses is copyright.

here’s the point: NEVER MORE CONTROLLED, EVER. valenti doesn’t see this. new scope, new length, new control. never fewer people controlling more. even perpetual copyright was better — no one could print and ordinary uses were fine.

you build a world of transparent creaitivity., the weird exception. free sharing. was nature in 1790 and we’re rebuilding nature. common base, some make money,. create like it’s 1790. remind the world what it was like when innovation was a process of common knowledge. a battle between proprietary and free, we show value of free. we still capture the imagination.

free code threatens. and threats turn against free code. sw patents. Gates (brilliant! has some insights. brilliant policy maker): industry would be at acomplete standstill today [if we always had patents]… the solution is to patent as much as we can. future startups will charge as much as a they can. estblshed companies exclude future competirtors

some changes but field is dominated by apologists fort the status quo. like greg aharonian. “it’s idiotic but patents are wonderful!”. what have you done about this? ms has a lot of patents and they’ll use them on open source. but patents are not nukes, they’re not physical. but you could do something about law. you could fuel a revolution that fights these legal threats. but have you?

copyright law. homeric tragedies. documentary film makes doc about education in america. there’s a tv with a couple secs of Simpsons… call groening called anothe rperson, so on, ended up with a lawyer who asked $25,000 for a couple seconds. insane rules. but their insane rules are being applied to the whole world. insanity expands.

broadcast flag. before you touch DTV, it must be architected to control DTV. let’s rebuild the network to make sure the content is protected. or thing fritz chips. intel: “polkice state in every computer”. outrageous proposal for digital vigilantes — copyright owners launching attacks on p2p machines. you have to get permission from the attorney general to sue someone who destroys your machine with virus.

“a terrorist war”, as valenti says against your children the terrorists. but what’s the problem here? “to stop the harm” what is the harm? Take the own numbers. 5x the numbers of cd sold were traded on the net for free. harm? drop in sales of 5%. recession, raised their prices, changed the way they counted… that might make the 5%. but even so, is that a lot of harm? is this the ground we have for a war against tech? tech is many times larger than theirs? what about the harm to us? how mcuh money to VCs invest on content-touching? zero. they shut down the innovation in the name of a terrorist war. for what? 5%.

what have you done about this? we’re bigger than they are? we have might and right. why are we doing nothing? they’re winning because we’ve done nothing to stop it. JC Watts, going to resign from congress. washington can’t believe it. he says 7 yrs is enough. when he came to washington was about the time the war began. in an interview watts said “if you’re explaining, you’re losing” in washington. bumper sticker culture. if it takes three secs you’re off the radar screen. you lose. that’s the problem. 6yrs after the battle began we’re still explaining and losing. they talk about protection. they don’t get how extending copyrights is theft. we’ve failed.

i’ve spent 2 yrs talking about this. lots of energy, no action. we’ve done nothing inwashington. we hate washington. but if we don’t do something our freedom will be taken away. either by the people with patents or with copyright, we’ll get our freedom taken away. if we can’t fight we don’t deserve it. but we’ve done nothing. [applause]

how many people give more money to eff than they give to their telecom for DSL? how many people give more to eff than the monopoly the other side? how many people give their money to boucher, cannon, hank perritt? it’s not a left-right issue. it’s about right and wrong., some people say they’re too extreme. he’s with you. it’s fought the battles but it needs to be reformed… so write “please be more mainstream” on the check you send. on the check! do something. likely nothing will happen and your freedom will be taken away even further.


Q: can you lead a march when you’re at the supreme court? A: i think i can tell the liberal and conservative judges that they have no reason to vote the other way and we’ll win. but marches on supreme court make you lose! lawyers can’t lead marches. but you, lead a million bit march. if we win and all we get is the supreme court, we’ve lost. it’s not enough to get constitution, you need to get the politicians.

Q: what do you feel about evil GPL forcing creators giving up rights to their work? A: RMS can defend himself but i can defend him too. we can’t think monolithically. GPL protects the builders from embrace-and-extend in a way that destroys the common code base. code is different, not disney. again, you can enjoy RMS’ wrath. we’re building something similar, creative commons. first stage is to use RDF metadata to mark content. we hope we can extend the public domain. it’s weird that we need to protect freedom and the default is control. GPL copylefted it and expanded freedom — great insight. background is perverted, not the responses we should criticize.

Q: malicious attack on p2p networks… are they illegal from DMCA? A: they are! but they’re being exempted. calling the hollywood militia. this is easy to stop. you could stop it overnight if you did something.

Q: you say this is the last talk. will you reconsider this threat? A: no, next to last. then i’ll be lawyer. then husband for a while. see what happens with the eldred case then work on the creative commons, that’s my job. i love this but other work needs to be done.

Q: how much is an american problem? the laws you cite are us-centric. A: yes, it is, completely. when has the world told america it’s only an american problem? but we’re exporting the problem. if we can solve it here, we wouldn’t infect the wrest of the world. if the rest of the world rejected the vision it would be a problem that we’d deal with. i’m focused because we’re causing the problem. only our constitution says limited times. ours does! ours embraces commons in the constitutuion. stand for that, not extremism. find a balancec.

Q: i love lawyers. every day i meet a lwayer and they solve a problem for me. contract law is dull unless you can change time and space. this is the most exciting time to be a lawyer. A: chinese curse: let you live in interesting times. that’s where we live. [stallman sits down] i’m a lawyer with a guilty conscience. i make lawyers for a living. (Q: that’s because you’ve got tenure.)

posted July 24, 2002 10:33 AM (Technology) #


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