May 21, 2004  ·  Lessig

So how you reconcile privacyin a world where almost everything you do is “public” is hard. E.g., every click you utter on the net is in a sense “public”; every place you go on the web is “public” — both in the sense that you transmit to the public information about you as you do it. Yet all of us have the strong (and right) sense that there should be a limit.

Here’s a candidate running for U.S. Senate who doesn’t get that: Jack Ryan. (Warning: if you click on his website you get a pop-up asking to contribute.) (Disclosure: I’ve contributed to his opponent, Barak Obama). According to Joshua Marshall, Ryan has a campaign worker following Obama every moment of the day, video taping absolutely everything he does “in public.”

Not only does he record Obama’s public appearances, he tails Obama in his car; he follows him into restrooms; he stays a couple feet behind him when he’s walking in public; he waits outside his office and pesters his secretary. And he heckles Obama at public appearances.

Technically, of course, ok. And even maybe more than technically — after all, Obama is running for Senate. But do we really need another politician who lives by what is technically ok, to further erase any boundary of privacy?

Wonder how Ryan will vote on cameras monitoring every movement of citizens in “public places”? (Thanks to Tom Barger).

May 21, 2004  ·  Lessig

There’s lots about the conflict between SoundScan’s reports about increasing album sales in the US, and the RIAA’s claim to have been hurt by “piracy.” This piece by Moses Avalon does a very nice job reconciling the numbers. Here’s a summary paragraph:

Forget the confusing percentages, here’s an oversimplified example: I shipped 1000 units last year and sold 700 of them. This year I sold 770 units but shipped only 930 units. I shipped 10% less units this year. And this is what the RIAA wants the public to accept as “a loss.”

May 21, 2004  ·  Lessig

As reported, we survived the government’s motion to dismiss in Golan v. Ashcroft. Thanks to the excellent work of lawyers at Wheeler, Trigg & Kennedy, we’ve now convinced the court of the importance of discovery to demonstrate the actual harms caused by “restored” copyrights.

Aaron has built a site to help us collect stories, some of which may become part of the suit. Please help spread the link: the beginning of an archive to the public domain.

May 11, 2004  ·  Lessig

WHYY reports that Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly, host of The O’Reilly Factor, will not authorize Fresh Air to relicense segments from his amazing appearance on Terry Gross’s amazing show. Speculation why he’d ban the repeat of his worlds elsewhere is growing. But it is obvious to this writer that it is nothing more than a flash of modesty by this engaging figure, no doubt motivated by a desire to drive traffic to Fresh Air’s site (again, it is here). Yet another example of commercial media reaching out to help noncommercial media.