June 30, 2003  ·  Lessig

I’ve had so many exchanges in email and offline about the role the Internet is playing in this election, and I continue to be struck by the will of many to believe that it matters not at all.

But let’s remember this: We’re about to see an amazing shift in passion and attention in this Democratic Primary. To those who insist the Internet matters not at all, what explains this?

The issue is not how many people you have on your mailing list; the issue is how many are writing and persuading and building a community around your candidacy. One candidate has done that bettter than anyone else. Congratulations, Governor. Whether or not this is how campaigns should be run, it is exactly how elections should be won.

June 30, 2003  ·  Lessig

I’ve had so many exchanges in email and offline about the role the Internet is playing in this election, and I continue to be struck by the will of many to believe that it matters not at all.

But let’s remember this: We’re about to see an amazing shift in passion and attention in this Democratic Primary. To those who insist the Internet matters not at all, what explains this?

The issue is not how many people you have on your mailing list; the issue is how many are writing and persuading and building a community around your candidacy. One candidate has done that bettter than anyone else. Congratulations, Governor. Whether or not this is how campaigns should be run, it is exactly how elections should be won.

June 29, 2003  ·  Lessig

It was an extraordinary week last week at the Supreme Court. Most of the press has focused on the Michigan affirmative action cases, which were of course important, and rightly decided. But I continue to be struck by the profoundly important decision in the Lawrence case, which found it beyond the government’s power to regulate the private, consensual sexual behavior of adults.

There will be gaggles of law review articles written about this, and lots of speculation about the continued life of privacy jurisprudence. But I was struck by a more tangible reaction to the decision that says a great deal about how it feels to those it affects.

We’re living in the Castro in San Francisco while renovations on our house are completed. As anyone who has driven through this neighborhood knows, at Market and Castro there is a huge Gay Pride flag that flies every day of the year. Huge — maybe the largest flag I have ever seen.

I was out of town on the day of the decision. But I am told that the day after Lawrence was decided, the Gay Pride flag came down. An American flag was raised in its place.

It was an extraordinary moment that said more about the importance of this decision than any commentary ever could.

June 29, 2003  ·  Lessig

It was an extraordinary week last week at the Supreme Court. Most of the press has focused on the Michigan affirmative action cases, which were of course important, and rightly decided. But I continue to be struck by the profoundly important decision in the Lawrence case, which found it beyond the government’s power to regulate the private, consensual sexual behavior of adults.

There will be gaggles of law review articles written about this, and lots of speculation about the continued life of privacy jurisprudence. But I was struck by a more tangible reaction to the decision that says a great deal about how it feels to those it affects.

We’re living in the Castro in San Francisco while renovations on our house are completed. As anyone who has driven through this neighborhood knows, at Market and Castro there is a huge Gay Pride flag that flies every day of the year. Huge — maybe the largest flag I have ever seen.

I was out of town on the day of the decision. But I am told that the day after Lawrence was decided, the Gay Pride flag came down. An American flag was raised in its place.

It was an extraordinary moment that said more about the importance of this decision than any commentary ever could.

June 25, 2003  ·  Lessig

It was a great day in DC.

Public Knowledge had arranged the meetings, with members and their staff from both sides of Congress, and both sides of the isle. We met with the staffs of Senators Cantwell, McCain and Leahy, then met with Congressman Cannon and Boucher. And — at her request — we met with Congresswoman Bono.

It was a strongly positive meeting with everyone, though of course Congresswoman Bono started most skeptically. By the end, however, she demonstrated a genuine openness to the issue, and a willingness to consider the proposal. It is of course very easy to demonize the otherside. But after listening to her talk about both this and the Sonny Bono Act, her motivations seemed quite genuinely to be about securing to artists continued reward from creativity. Not a bad motivation, all things considered, if we can balance it with protection of the public domain.

Others began closer to where we were, and so we ended even closer to where we wanted them to be. Congressman Boucher agreed to join as a sponsor — so at least three good souls in DC.

The best part, of course, was Congresswoman Lofgren’s press conference, announcing the bill that she and Congressman Doolittle will introduce, and explaining the reasons. She gets it, and she is powerful and right in her explanation. We owe her a great deal.

Indeed, I had that thought about everyone we met today. This was a strange day of feeling Congress sometimes somehow might work. It’s very early, and we have yet to weather the criticism and opposition. And of course, if money lines on this one, we will not prevail. But every, from Members to staff, took this as seriously as anyone could hope. Let’s see what happens.

One point was clear however: The work of the petition was extremely important. At least one Member indicated to me that he/she had been made aware of this issue by someone signing the petition. Another member indicated they had heard from people who had signed the petition. The more of this we can build, the more likely it is that we can build enough support to prevail.

Stay tuned for the next stages. But thanks to Public Knowledge, and the 15k+, who have helped carry this idea one step closer to reality.

June 25, 2003  ·  Lessig

It was a great day in DC.

Public Knowledge had arranged the meetings, with members and their staff from both sides of Congress, and both sides of the isle. We met with the staffs of Senators Cantwell, McCain and Leahy, then met with Congressman Cannon and Boucher. And — at her request — we met with Congresswoman Bono.

It was a strongly positive meeting with everyone, though of course Congresswoman Bono started most skeptically. By the end, however, she demonstrated a genuine openness to the issue, and a willingness to consider the proposal. It is of course very easy to demonize the otherside. But after listening to her talk about both this and the Sonny Bono Act, her motivations seemed quite genuinely to be about securing to artists continued reward from creativity. Not a bad motivation, all things considered, if we can balance it with protection of the public domain.

Others began closer to where we were, and so we ended even closer to where we wanted them to be. Congressman Boucher agreed to join as a sponsor — so at least three good souls in DC.

The best part, of course, was Congresswoman Lofgren’s press conference, announcing the bill that she and Congressman Doolittle will introduce, and explaining the reasons. She gets it, and she is powerful and right in her explanation. We owe her a great deal.

Indeed, I had that thought about everyone we met today. This was a strange day of feeling Congress sometimes somehow might work. It’s very early, and we have yet to weather the criticism and opposition. And of course, if money lines on this one, we will not prevail. But every, from Members to staff, took this as seriously as anyone could hope. Let’s see what happens.

One point was clear however: The work of the petition was extremely important. At least one Member indicated to me that he/she had been made aware of this issue by someone signing the petition. Another member indicated they had heard from people who had signed the petition. The more of this we can build, the more likely it is that we can build enough support to prevail.

Stay tuned for the next stages. But thanks to Public Knowledge, and the 15k+, who have helped carry this idea one step closer to reality.