March 30, 2005  ·  Lessig

The 711 unique comments submmitted to the Copyright Office on the “Orphan Works” question have been posted. This is a fantastic response. The comments of Creative Commons are posted here. Thanks to the Free Culture Movement, EFF and PublicKnowledge for running the Orphan Works site.

Now maybe we should get a wiki going to have a collaborative analysis of the comments?

March 24, 2005  ·  Lessig

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Late last night, Yahoo! launched a Creative Commons search engine, permitting you to search the web, filtering results on the basis of Creative Commons licenses. So, as I feel like I’ve said 10,000 times when explaining CC on the road, “Show me pictures of the Empire State Building that I can use for noncommercial use,” and this is the first of about 13,000 on the list.

This is exciting news for us. It confirms great news about Yahoo!. I met their senior management last October. They had, imho, precisely the right vision of a future net. Not a platform for delivering whatever, but instead a platform for communities to develop. With the acquisition of Flickr, the step into blogging and now this tool to locate the welcome mats spread across the net, that vision begins to turn real.

March 17, 2005  ·  Lessig

The wikification of Code has launched. To all the insanely insightful souls who’ve criticized and extended the book, welcome.

Creative Commons
has also taken this opportunity to launch a beta version of a newly branded tweak of an old license — the CC-Wiki license. We’ve been talking to wiki developers for some time now. They’ve been looking for a license that was (1) share alike, but (2) required attribution back to the wiki, rather than to the individual contributors to the wiki. We realized that could be achieved with a very slight change to our existing Attribution-ShareAlike license: rather than requiring attribution back to the copyright holder, require attribution back to either the copyright holder or a designated entity.

So we’ve made that slight modification to the attribution clause in this beta version, and used it for this wiki. But we won’t release the license generally till we’ve had the ordinary time for discussion. Click here to join a discussion about the license, and any further changes people think we should make.

March 15, 2005  ·  Lessig

So I did something today for the very last time in my life. I’m publishing a comment in the Minnesota Law Review about an article by Brett Frischmann titled “An Economic Theory of Infrastructure.” His is a great article; I was happy to write the comment.

But today, on the brink of publication, I had to confront the “Publication Agreement.” In order to give the Minnesota Law Review my work, I have also to give them my copyright. In particular, they get the “exclusive right to authorize the publication, reproduction, and distribution” of my work. They have in turn sold that right to Lexis and Westlaw.

Never again. It has taken me too long to resolve myself about this, and it was too late in the process of this article to insist on something different. But from this moment on, I am committed to the Open Access pledge:

I will not agree to publish in any academic journal that does not permit me the freedoms of at least a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license.

This is, of course, much less than RMS insists upon. My views are more confused than his. I am not yet convinced of this point w/r/t books. I am not yet convinced w/r/t eliminating the non-commercial restriction. But, still, there is no academic or scholarship related reason why the publishing of academic works today should require more of me than this. And to the extent academic publishing demands more of me than this, I will not support it.

At this point, I know of one law journal that may, soon, be able to publish my work. I hope there will be more. But until there are, there will be no more law review articles by Lawrence Lessig – a relief to many, no doubt; a loss to none, to be sure.

March 10, 2005  ·  Lessig

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So I wrote a piece in Wired about the IP wars and music. My argument was we needed fewer voices like mine, and more voices like Tweedy’s. Wired liked that, and decided they needed to arrange an event with more of my voice. Who am I to say no?

March 7, 2005  ·  Lessig

So despite the fact that the EU Parliament has rejected software patents for Europe, and despite the fact that there is not a qualified majority of member states supporting it, the EU Council has now endorsed their draft of the “Directive on the Patentability of Computer-Implemented Inventions.”

This struggle continues to astonish me. There’s no good economic evidence that software patents do more good than harm. That’s the reason the US should reconsider its software patent policy.

But why Europe would voluntarily adopt a policy that will only burden its software developers and only benefit US interests is beyond me.

They call it a “democracy” that they’re building in Europe. I don’t see it. Instead, they have created a government of bureaucrats, more easily captured by special interests than anything in the US.

March 6, 2005  ·  Lessig

So there’s a blog first created by the volunteers who watched Fox to create the data necessary to produced OutFoxed. They posted an item about a Bill O’Reilly column, which itself was posted on the web. The company syndicating O’Reilly’s column wrote them a nasty letter, telling them to take the column down. They did, and replaced it with a link. The same company wrote again, insisting that the blog was guilty of “unauthorized linking.”

Dear syndicators of Bill: Me thinks there’s no such concept as illegal linking (outside of China, at least, and please, don’t pester me with misreadings of the 2600 case). Indeed, I think that I, like anyone else, am perfectly free to link to the column, as this link does. And indeed, I’d invite anyone else out there who thinks that we still live in a FREE LINKING world to link to the same. Got to find some way to keep those lawyers busy.