Saturday, April 30, 2005

Lessig:

Lawrence Lessig gave a brilliant presentation at Philadelphia University on Thursday. And it was nice meeting him too (although I didn't get to that dinner).

Although the event was moderately attended, those who did make it were captivated by his presentation, so much so that he spend almost an hour answer questions and the Q&A session had to be cut off with more questions waiting.

For those that don't know his argument, it's this: Whereas in the past Copyright law served to foster creativity, in the modern digital age, the legal structure greatly impedes creativity, or at least the law presents a huge danger of impeding creativity and thus we need legal reform. He made it clear that he doesn't support Piracy and he is not on the side of those who want to get *something* for nothing, just that we need common sense reform of Copyright Law in the digital age that keeps in mind that it's artistic creativity that is the ultimate policy that the law should seek to promote.

If I were to disagree with one aspect of his argument, it's this: Just because Copyright Law as it exists in the digital age doesn't always promote the free exchange of ideas, artistic creativity, (and what Lessig calls "remix"), doesn't necessarily mean that the law will effectively quash or event put a dent in any of these things. There could just be a huge, but unfortunate disconnect between the law on the one hand and practices on the other. In many cases people will still do what they are going to do, create what they will create, regardless. [Lessig recognizes this disconnect. I think where he and I differ is that he sees the current law as truly affecting artistic output, indeed, with the potential to crush it; I'm not so sure.]

See Creative Commons.

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