February 26, 2005  ·  Lessig

Regarding Mr. Orlowski’s breathless rant about Doonesbury and Creative Commons: as the Surburban Limbo evinces (thanks, Staci!), the plot-line is actually two years old. While you’d have to be a bit clueless to believe that Thudpucker is actually speaking CC-speak, it would be quite amazing to think that he was speaking CC-speak in January, 2003. Sure, CC had been around for six weeks. But even Mr. Trudeau is not following events that closely.

Another mistake, Mr. Orlowski. Will you correct this one?

  • Mnemoth

    I’d agree it’s pretty hard to tie Doonsbury’s story arc to Creative Commons in particular… but the idea behind Creative Commons is hardly new, or even unique to CC. (and you can’t really compare anything Thudpucker says to CC anyways, CC is about preserving your rights while opening doors for others.. I’d interpret the Doonsbury character as saying that artists have no rights at all.

    The Greatful Dead used to encourage people to bring tape recorders to their concerts… I could never presume to get into Jerry Garcia’s mind… I always sort of assumed it was financial… if more people hear the Dead bootleg tapes, more people will want to follow them around and hear them live… sound anything like Doonsbury’s Thudpucker? :)

    CC is more like extending what’s been going on in computer programming for years into music, video and literature… Open Source and GNU immediately come to mind. The idea being that you’re free to use the program I’ve just written, and build freely upon its source code, but… you have to agree to share it freely, including your source code…

  • Max Lybbert

    I know it’s not the same thing, but this reminds me of a time where Scott Adams wrote a Dilbert strip poking fun at nuns and, due to bad luck and cosmic forces, it ran the same week Mother Theresa died. He got lots of hate mail from that.

  • http://www.blog-awards.com adm

    http://www.blog-awards.com Blog Awards is the competition which was created to collect more reviewed blogs from all over the world on the one place with a purpose to reward the best ones.
    In contest, the best blogs are selected by another blogger in their reviews, number of clicks etc.
    Besides competitors,the first 15th blogs from each category or country will be overlooked by professional commission.
    The best ones, except the precious prizes of our sponsores, will get an icon which they may emphasize somewhere on their blog.

  • http://www.tekstadventure.nl/branko/blog/ Branko Collin

    Orlowski is a well-known troll. The Register employed him to make sure they get enough enraged mail for their online letters section. He will not apologise, but will respond in public if he feels it will fan the flames.

  • John Gault

    I’ve had a soft spot in my heart for Mr. Orlowski ever since he described Declan McCullagh as a “Draw by cyon libertarian”.

  • John Gault

    sorry, should read, “Draw by Crayon Libertarian”.

  • Mark Paris

    It seemed obvious to me that the Doonesbury strips were referring to music downloading, free, paid, illegal or whatever. It seems fairly close to the way I see the downloading phenomenon: a market response to pricing perceived to be too high.

  • http://www.tekstadventure.nl/branko/blog/ Branko Collin

    Downloading (sharing!) music is not just about prices.

    People also download because it is the only way they can get at a rare track; a market response to little or no supply, if you wish.

    People also download because their friends want them to share in their enthusiasm; a market response to high demand, if you wish.

    People also download because they need a track for an unimagined purpose. For instance, they may sing a song to a retiring colleague based on an existing tune, or they may want to make a mix tape for a friend who is going to travel. A market response where buyers want to switch markets, if you wish.

  • Oliver

    At a bookstore Q&A I asked Gore Vidal what thoughts he might have about “copyright reform and the free culture movement.” He replied that current copyright terms are unfair to him, because he’s lived longer than authors once were supposed to. He also acknowledged the existence of a “public commons” that he said performed an important function. But I was left with the impression that my utterance “free culture” rang no bells with him and that he isn’t much aware of CC. Of course he’s very old and could be hard of hearing, but he answered on point to several dozen questions before mine and I don’t think I mumbled.

  • http://www.tekstadventure.nl/branko/blog/ Branko Collin

    current copyright terms are unfair to him, because he’s lived longer than authors once were supposed to

    That is simply not true. Authors now live as long as authors two hundred years ago (when copyrights in the US were 14+14 from the date of creation).

    It may be the case that authors’ heirs live longer now than 200 years ago, but that would be hard to measure.

    Whichever way is chosen to determine a copyright term, choosing a longer term is always about profit maximization.

  • oliver

    I think he said he had copyrights that had expired. Is that not possible?

  • http://www.tekstadventure.nl/branko/blog/ Branko Collin

    Only if he did not renew them, in which case I expect he did not really mind.

  • http://www.yahoo.com James

    I would definately nominate this blog for an award. Truely informative and interesting. I must agree with Branko Collin’s comment about downloading music. Not everyone has access to music and me in South Africa, i know how frustrating it can be. Why wait for the release when you can get in from the net instantly.

  • Dan Costello

    Previous to reading this blog, I was not familiar with Orlowski (though I do enjoy the Register). I have to say, the main thing that becomes clear about a paragraph into *any* of his articles is that he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer. In fact, he’s clearly cut from the same cloth as Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, etc. Congratulations, Professor Lessig — you’ve earned yourself an opposite number. :-) Fortunately, you could cut him to intellectual ribbons should the need arise.

  • http://www.theregister.co.uk Andrew Orlowski

    Dan Costello –

    You must be new here. My email archive has many complimentary comments Lawrence has made about my writing. But more recently, it looks as if he’s trying to discredit one of his critics. (…“breathless rant” … “another mistake” … “well, no one ever called him Jimmy Olsen” … )

    Lawrence -

    On January 28 2004 I wrote:

    I feel we’re passing like ships in the night here, and I’d genuinely like to know where ideas come from, as well as where they’re going. Perhaps our long promised dinner could help?

    And on February 8 2004 you replied:

    it would, indeed. soon, I promise. I’m swamped with disease and duty at the moment (maybe they go together). sorry for the delay.

    Engagement with critical ideas is far more valuable than shooting or smearing one’s critics. I hope we can still make dinner. I’m returning to San Francisco at the weekend, and really look forward to hearing from you.

    John Gault –
    thank you :)

  • Kevin

    Jimmy Olsen was a photographer.

  • Mark Paris

    I believe he was a cub reporter.

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    Jimmy Olsen was notable for

    1) Being “Superman’s Pal”


    2) Doing wacky things like turning into a giant turtle-man or marrying a gorilla.

    I’m not sure which aspect was being referenced :-)

  • LuYu

    Hey, is the point not being missed here? I thought that whole rant in El Reg was supposed to be about European “moral rights” with respect to copyright (perhaps that copyrights are actually rights in Europe as opposed to revocable priviledges as in the US).

    Given the emphasis that Mr. Orlowski placed on those moral rights, I find it surpising that not a single comment has addressed this issue yet. It would be nice to see some opinions on this, since this philosophy did so much to alter copyright law in the US in 1976.

  • LuYu

    I guess I should have scrolled down to the earlier post about Bill Thompson… :-/

  • http://www.superdickery.com Kinda

    …ever thought anout what it would have been like if there was no Jimmy Olsen.

    DC Comics did!


    This site is hilarious.