May 31, 2007  ·  Lessig

So I posted the entry calling on people to write a reply to the Helprin piece, and then got on a plane in Boston. When I landed in Frankfurt, I got an email: “Wow! Pretty amazing wiki article.” And indeed it was (and is) — filled with useful facts and ideas, structured and accessible. A real improvement on the Lessig-averages no doubt.

I would have focused the attack in much the same way, though with some differences in emphases. In my view, the right answer comes not so much from careful attention to the metaphysics of property, but from a practical consideration of the burdens of different copyright systems. Where we know that after a very short time, the vast majority of work has no continuing commercial value at all, and that after a relatively short period of time, we’ve provided authors with all the incentives to create they could possibly need, what justification is there for the continued burden of copyright regulation? That question leads some to say “none,” and others to say (ala Posner), “well, at least require those wanting an additional term to take affirmative steps to claim it.” But all who adopt this practical perspective conclude the term should be well short of infinity.

The other thing that struck me about the essay was a point that often gets lost in the rhetoric around “originality” and “remix.” This debate is often couched in terms of “respect” for the author. The problem with the remixer, I’ve been told again and again, is that he doesn’t respect the author.

But compare Helprin’s piece with Jonathan Lethem’s, “The Ecstasy of Influence.” Lethem’s is constructed through the words of others. Helprin’s barely cites anyone. Yet Helprin’s topic is perhaps the most familiar in the history of copyright law. There must be a thousand interesting places where people have considered the same issue, and provided interesting, and compelling responses. (One favorite is Nimmer’s: “If I may own Blackacre in perpetuity, why not also Black Beauty? The answer lies in the first amendment. There is no countervailing speech interest which must be balanced against perpetual ownership of tangible real and personal property. There is such a speech interest, with respect to literary property, or copyright.” Melville B. Nimmer, Does Copyright Abridge the First Amendment Guaranties of Free Speech and the Press?, 17 UCLA L. Rev. 1180, 1193 (1970).)

Yet Helprin doesn’t bother with what others have written. He wakes up one morning puzzled by a feature of law that has been with us for more than two centuries, and rather than research the question a bit, or think about it in light of what others have said, he just fires off an op-ed to the New York Times.

Now between Lethem’s piece (pure remix) and Helprin’s (pure Helprin), which is more respectful of authorship?

May 31, 2007  ·  Lessig

Tomorrow is the official on-sale date for Andrew Keen’s “The Cult of the Amateur,” but the book is already getting lots of attention. Keen, a writer, and failed Internet entrepreneur, spends 200 pages attacking the rise of the “amateur” and the harm — economic, social, cultural and political — these amateurs will cause. Without “standards,” without “taste,” without “institutions” to “filter” good from bad, true from false, the Internet, Keen argues, is destined to destroy us.

There’s much in the book that even we amateur-o-philes should think about. How can we build trust into the structures of knowledge the Internet is enabling (Wikipedia, blogs, etc.)? How can make sure the contribution adds to understanding rather than confuses it? These are hard questions. And as is true of Wikipedia at each moment of every day — there is more work to be done.

But what is puzzling about this book is that it purports to be a book attacking the sloppiness, error and ignorance of the Internet, yet it itself is shot through with sloppiness, error and ignorance. It tells us that without institutions, and standards, to signal what we can trust (like the institution (Doubleday) that decided to print his book), we won’t know what’s true and what’s false. But the book itself is riddled with falsity — from simple errors of fact, to gross misreadings of arguments, to the most basic errors of economics.

So how could it be that a book criticizing the Internet — because the product of a standardless process where nothing is “vetted for accuracy” (as he says of Wikipedia) — could itself be so mistaken, when it, presumably, has been “vetted for accuracy” and was only selected for publication because it passed the high standards of truth imposed by its publisher — Doubleday?

And then it hit me: Keen is our generation’s greatest self-parodist. His book is not a criticism of the Internet. Like the article in Nature comparing Wikipedia and Britannica, the real argument of Keen’s book is that traditional media and publishing is just as bad as the worst of the Internet. Here’s a book — Keen’s — that has passed through all the rigor of modern American publishing, yet which is perhaps as reliable as your average blog post: No doubt interesting, sometimes well written, lots of times ridiculously over the top — but also riddled with errors. Keen’s obvious point is to show those with a blind faith in the traditional system that it can be just as bad as the worst of the Internet. Indeed, one might say even worse, since the Internet doesn’t primp itself with the pretense that its words are promised to be true.

So lighten up on poor Mr. Keen, folks. He is an ally. His work will help us all understand the limits in accuracy, taste, judgment, and understanding shot through all of our systems of knowledge. The lesson he teaches is one we should all learn — to read and think critically, whether reading the product of the “monkeys” (as Keen likens contributors to the Internet to be) or books published by presses such as Doubleday.

I’ve outlined some of these errors in the Extended Entry below. I’ve also placed that enumeration on a wiki, and I invite everyone to help construct the The Keen Reader — listing and demonstrating the errors in his book, so others can see quite clearly just how brilliant a self-parody this book is.

Extended Entry

The Least Important (Lessig) Fallacy

I expect this is true with anyone whose work is described by others, but I had a pretty clear sense of the care and accuracy of Keen’s book early on, when he wrote this about my own work:

In a twisted kind of Alice in Wonderland, down-the-rabbit-hole logic, Silicon Valley visionaries such as Stanford law professor and Creative Commons founder Lawrence Lessig and cyberpunk William Gibson laud the appropriation of intellectual property. (p24)

I take it Keen means “misappropriation,” because while I do “laud the appropriation of intellectual property” in the sense that I support, for example, the legal licensing of creative work by others, so does Keen. So his claim is that I praise what some call “piracy.”

This is a claim too ridiculous to have to rebut. I certainly have argued in favor of changing the way copyright law functions. But I never have “laud[ed]” “piracy.” See, e.g., Lawrence Lessig, Free Culture 10, 18, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 139, 255 (2004) (describing “piracy” as “wrong”). Only the most careless of readers could make such a claim.

Likewise, midway through the book, Keen writes:

Stanford University law professor Lawrence Lessig argues that “legal sharing” and “reuse” of intellectual property is a social benefit. In fact, … Lessig wants to replace what he calls our “Read-Only” Internet with a “Read-Write” Internet, where we can “remix” and “mashup” all content indiscriminately. Lessig, misguided as he is, suggests that digital content—whether it be a song, a video, a short story, or a photograph—should be commonly owned for the benefit of everyone. What Lessig fails to acknowledge is that most of the content being shared—no matter how many times it has been linked, cross-linked, annotated, and copied—was composed or written by someone from the sweat of their creative brow and the disciplined use of their talent. (p144)

Let’s unpack this a bit:

(1) “Lessig argues that “legal sharing” and “reuse” of intellectual property is a social benefit.”

True enough. “Legal sharing” (as opposed to “illegal sharing”) is a social benefit. Reuse of IP is also a social benefit. Does Keen think the opposite? Should we ban “legal sharing”? And should a song only be “used” once?

(2) “In fact, … Lessig wants to replace what he calls our “Read-Only” Internet with a “Read-Write” Internet, where we can “remix” and “mashup” all content indiscriminately.”

Not true enough. I have no desire to “replace” “our Read-Only Internet” with anything. As I try to say every time I talk about it, the RO Internet is valuable and good. I do praise the rise — or more accurately, the revival — of a RW culture, sure. But “indiscriminately”? Who ever argues for “indiscriminate” use? Certainly the examples I use and praise are quite discriminate in their “remix” of culture. That’s why they are so good.

(3) “Lessig, misguided as he is, suggests that digital content—whether it be a song, a video, a short story, or a photograph—should be commonly owned for the benefit of everyone.”

First, I was very disappointed that in the published version of Keen’s book, he changed this quote from what it was originally. Originally, I was not only “misguided” but “dangerous.”

But second, again, come on. No where do I argue that “digital content … should be commonly owned.” This is about as ignorant a summary of my work as one could proffer. I defend again and again (against copyright abolitionists) the value and importance of copyright. I argue that copyright must be preserved, even in a digital age. Even the Creative Commons project doesn’t argue that works be “commonly owned.” CC gives copyright owners the ability to exercise their rights, not common rights.

(4) “What Lessig fails to acknowledge is that most of the content being shared—no matter how many times it has been linked, cross-linked, annotated, and copied—was composed or written by someone from the sweat of their creative brow and the disciplined use of their talent.”

Another brilliant example of Keen’s self-parody. If you read this quickly, you might think that Keen is saying that an author creates wholly on his own, without building upon the work of others. But read again, and this time carefully: Note the pronoun “their.” Keen’s talking about the collective process that creativity always is. That at least is the charitable way to read the sentence. Otherwise, you’d have to say Keen doesn’t know basic grammar.

But misunderstanding my work isn’t much of a sin. Many brilliant sorts do that all the time (read, for example, the exams from classes I teach. Talk about a humbling experience…). The significant errors in Keen’s book are elsewhere.

I outline some of them here:

The “value” fallacy

Keen has a less than keen understanding of economic value. Indeed, the sort of understanding that would fail first year economics. See, for example, his attack on Google. As he writes,

Take Google, for example, the economic paragon of a truly successful Web 2.0 media company. With a market cap of approximately $150 billion, the Silicon Valley company took in $6.139 billion in revenue and $1.465 billion in profits in 2005. Telling is the fact that unlike companies such as Time Warner or Disney that create and produce movies, music, magazines, and television, Google is a parasite; it creates no content of its own. (p135)

In terms of value creation, there is nothing there apart from its links. (p135)

Why stop at Google? Why not attack, for example, the creators of phone books. They too are simply “parasites” “creat[ing] no content of [their] own.” But this argument is ridiculous. “Value” is created in both cases by improving the efficiency of access to others, or to their material. Efficiency is value.

The efficiency fallacy

Much like the previous error, Keen systematically ignores dynamic efficiency in favor of static loss. So, for example, he writes,

“What you may not realize is that what is free is actually costing us a fortune.” (p27)

And as he continues:

Of course, every free listing on Craigslist means one less paid listing in a local newspaper. Every visit to Wikipedia’s free information hive means one less customer for a professionally researched and edited encyclopedia such as Britannica. Every free music or video upload is one less sale of a CD or DVD, meaning one less royalty for the artist who created it. (p29)

There are at least three obvious errors here. First, Keen is apparently lumping two obviously legal changes (Craigslist and Wikipedia) with one not so legal (“free music or video upload”) though of course, not all “free music” or “video uploads” are illegal.

Second, not even the RIAA suggests that there is a 1 to 1 substitution between “free” and “paid.”

But third, and most significant, Keen writes as if there is an economic loss when people get to do things more efficiently. As if there is a reason for a policy maker to be concerned when, for example, the costs of some activity drop because society has found a way to do the same activity more efficiently. He points, for example, in the context of printed books, to the many people who have earned a living from that lumber-ware. He asks: ” Isn’t this a model worth preserving?” (p115)

Again, econ 101: Thousands used to work to support circuit switched networks. Many fewer are needed to run packet switched networks. Does that mean we should ban the Internet in order to “preserve” circuit switched telephone networks? Every new and more efficient technology displaces less efficient economies before them. How many of those should we “preserve”?

Or perhaps, my favorite quote. Again, remember, this is in a book attacking the Internet for its lack of truth and failure of “balance”:

Every defunct record label and round of newspaper downsizing are a consequence of “free” user-generated Internet content—from Craigslist’s free advertising, to free music videos, to free encyclopedias, to free weblogs. (p27)

Every? Really? It’s the sort of claim that would earn a freshman essay a D.

The wiki fallacy

Keen spends a great deal of time attacking Wikipedia, and its founder, Jimmy Wales. As Keen writes, “Wikipedia … is almost single-handedly killing the traditional information business.” (p127-8). I take it not even Wales would exaggerate the importance of Wikipedia like this. And again, implicit in Keen’s argument is the efficiency fallacy mentioned above.

But the real error here is betrayed in the following:

Since Wikipedia’s birth, more than fifteen thousand contributors have created nearly three million entries in over a hundred different languages—none of them edited or vetted for accuracy (p4).

“None of them edited or vetted for accuracy”? On one level, of course, this is absurdly false. Wikipedia is constantly edited, and attributions constantly vetted for accuracy. Indeed, for many of the articles, the level of editing and vetting is vastly greater than any article published in any encyclopedia ever.

But on a different level, what Keen must mean is that it is not “edited” or “vetted” by experts. Or exclusively by experts (for again, experts certainly participate in Wikipedia). This is related to Keen’s obsession (indeed, I’m sure if he has one, his shrink must have a field day with this obsession) with “experts” and makers of “taste.” So central is this to Keen’s argument, it deserves its own heading.

The Expert Fallacy

The most pronounced theme throughout the book is the faith in the “experts” of the non-Internet world. Consider some sample quotes:

But what had once appeared as a joke now seems to foretell the consequences of a flattening of culture that is blurring the lines between traditional audience and author, creator and consumer, expert and amateur. (p2)

Because democratization, despite its lofty idealization, is undermining truth, souring civic discourse, and belittling expertise, experience, and talent. (p15)

Yes, a number of Web 2.0 start-ups such as Pandora.com, Goombah.com, and Moodlogic.com are building artificially intelligent engines that supposedly can automatically tell us what music or movies we will like. But artificial intelligence is a poor substitute for taste. (p.32)

Recently, Jurgen Habermas, one of Europe’s most influential social thinkers, spoke about the threat Web 2.0 poses to intellectual life in the West.” The price we pay for the growth in egalitarianism offered by the Internet is the decentralized access to unedited stories. In this medium, contributions by intellectuals lose their power to create a focus.” (p55)

But what these online stores don’t have is the deeply knowledgeable buying choices depend upon the anonymous Amazon.com reviewer—a very poor substitute for “the bodily encounters” that Tower once offered.(p132)

When media companies flounder, employees and executives lose their jobs and shareholders lose their investments. But all the rest of us lose out, too, as the quality of programming is compromised. (p124-25)

Keen is particularly harsh about the effects on democracy:

The downside of all this “democracy,” which the Washington Post’s Robert Samuelson described as the “greatest outburst of mass exhibitionism in human history” is the integrity of our political discourse. (p54)

The YouTubification of politics is a threat to civic culture. It infantilizes the political process, silencing public discourse and leaving the future of government up to thirty-second video clips shot by camcorder-wielding amateurs with political agendas.(p 68)

Or consider one final favorite:

“News aggregating sites like Digg or Reddit or Rojo, which rely on the collective behavior of other users, also limit our access to fair and balanced information.” (p93).

Ok, let’s take this in reverse order. How exactly is someone “limit[ed]” from access to “fair and balanced” (I assume Keen got permission to use Fox’s trademark here) by the presence of a ranking system? Does USA Today’s ranking of movies limit my access to films its reviewers don’t like?

Or on politics: The Internet is challenging “the integrity of our political discourse”? This assumes a fact not in evidence — namely the “integrity of our political discourse.” Is FOX News part of that discourse? Were the Swift Boat Veterans the product of the Internet?

Or on taste generally: No doubt, public intellectuals like Habermas are not happy with the rise of competition for the attention the public gives to his words. Ah, for the good old days, when a handful of writers got to tell the world how to think. How sad it is that those writers now must compete with blogs.

But whether victims of competition are happy or not doesn’t determine the quality of the competition. In my view, there’s little evidence of “taste” in the product of “media companies.” Do I get to publish a book with Doubleday now that I’ve observed I don’t like what media companies produce?

The argument about taste is either ridiculous or banal. Who is Keen to define what “taste” is. And if he isn’t doing that, then yes, of course, there are millions of places in which society choses things that I, or others, don’t like. Let’s start with democracy. Is that an argument against democracy?

(And really: did Keen ever go into a Tower Records and ask for a recommendation about a Mahler symphony? Or about anything? No doubt, there were some great people at Tower Records. But on average?)

The “Piracy” fallacy

A couple notes about a familiar fallacy: Keen writes:

Thanks to the rampant digital piracy spawned by file-sharing technology, sales of recorded music dropped over 20 percent between 2000 and 2006 (p8)

Sloppy: what percentage of the 20% is because of “piracy”?

And:

At the iTunes price of 99 cents a song, the 20 billion digital songs stolen in a single year adds up to an annual bill of $19.99 billion, one and half times more than the entire $12.27 billion revenue of the US sound recording industry in 2005. That’s $19.99 billion stolen annually from artists, labels, distributors, and record stores. (p106)

Wildly exaggerated: Not even the RIAA uses retail prices to estimate the losses from “piracy”

Over the last 10 years, the listening hours of eighteen to twenty-four year olds have dropped 21 percent. (p123)

Sloppy: what percentage of the 21% is because of “piracy”?

What author reading any of the works written recently about this question could be so sloppy?

The Amateur Fallacy

The final fallacy I’m going to take the time to enumerate is perhaps the most amazing. Here is a book about “amateurs”. And here is how Keen defines the term “amateur”:

The traditional meaning of the word “amateur” is very clear. An amateur is a hobbyist, knowledgeable or otherwise, someone who does not make a living from his or her field of interest, a layperson, lacking credentials, a dabbler. George Bernard Shaw once said, “Hell is full of amateur musicians,” but that was before Web 2.0. Today, Shaw’s hell would have broadband access and would be overrun with bloggers and podcasters. (p36)

This is a very distinctive view of the “amateur.” It is not, however, quite the “traditional meaning of the word.” The OED defines an amateur as follows:

1. One who loves or is fond of; one who has a taste for anything.; 2. a. One who cultivates anything as a pastime, as distinguished from one who prosecutes it professionally; hence, sometimes used disparagingly, as = dabbler, or superficial student or worker. b. Often prefixed (in apposition) to another designation, as amateur painter, amateur gardener.; 3. a. Hence attrib. almost adj. Done by amateurs. Cf. amateur gardener with amateur gardening.; b. Used disparagingly. Cf. sense 2.

Keen’s thus relying upon not the “traditional meaning” (which I agree is “clear”), but on a “sometimes used disparaging” meaning. No doubt that meaning is also clear. But it is far from the ordinary sense of the word, and indeed, far from its origin, which is one who does what he does for the love of what he does, and not for the money.

It is an interesting fact about what our culture has become that we can so quickly be led away from this original meaning to the disparaging. Shaw notwithstanding, it was not always so obvious that an amateur should be belittled. Consider, for example, the words of John Phillip Sousa. In an essay criticizing the rise of “mechanical music,” Sousa laments the lost of capacity in ordinary citizens to create and share music:

“This wide love for the art springs from the singing school, secular or sacred; from the village band, and from the study of those instruments that are nearest the people. There are more pianos, violins, guitars, mandolins, and banjos among the working classes of America than in all the rest of the world, and the presence of these instruments in the homes has given employment to enormous numbers of teachers who have patiently taught the children and inculcated a love for music throughout the various communities. [And when machines produce music?] And what is the result? The child becomes indifferent to practice, for when music can be heard in the homes with-out the labor of study and close application, and without the slow process of acquiring a technic, it will be simply a question of time when the amateur disappears entirely… The tide of amateurism cannot but recede, until there will be left only the mechanical device and the professional executant.” Sousa, The Menace of Mechanical Music, Appleton’s Magazine 9 (1906).

Sousa is lamenting exactly the dynamic that Keen is praising — the loss of “amateurism” from our culture. And I take it Keen would be praising what Sousa laments — the disappearance of this amateur culture.

I’m with Sousa on this, and quite against Keen. I think it is a great thing when amateurs create, even if the thing they create is not as great as what the professional creates. I want my kids to write. But that doesn’t mean that I’ll stop reading Hemingway and read only what they write. What Keen misses is the value to a culture that comes from developing the capacity to create — independent of the quality created. That doesn’t mean we should not criticize works created badly (such as, for example, Keen’s book, at least if you don’t adopt the self-parody interpretation of it). But it does mean you’re missing the point if you simply compare the average blog to the NY Times.

May 16, 2007  ·  Lessig

This letter was sent to the RNC today:

May 16, 2007

Honorable Mel Martinez
Chairman
Republican National Committee
310 First Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003

Dear Chairman Martinez:

I have watched with interest the growing effort to urge the Republican and Democratic National Committees to open the debate process by making the footage from the Presidential debates available to the public – by permitting anyone to reuse the footage in whole or in part with attribution or by placing the footage in the public domain.

The process of selecting our representative government is perhaps the most important function we, as Americans, carry out in our democracy. It is imperative that the process to do so is as public, and as transparent as possible.

Following on the heels of this week’s Republican Debate in South Carolina, I am writing to urge you to give new consideration to the bi-partisan request you have received requesting access to the debates. I believe this effort is important to our democracy, and I am reaching across the partisan divide to join Senators Obama and Dodd, and former Senator Edwards in asking the parties to assist in opening the process to the people.

I was encouraged that CNN recently announced it would make the footage from its debates available immediately following the conclusion of the debate.

Due to the historical nature of presidential debates and the significance of these forums to the American public, CNN believes strongly that the debates should be accessible to the public. The candidates need to be held accountable for what they say throughout the election process.

The presidential debates are an integral part of our system of government, in which the American people have the opportunity to make informed choices about who will serve them. Therefore, CNN debate coverage will be made available without restrictions at the conclusion of each live debate. We believe this is good for the country and good for the electoral process.

I could not agree with this more. I hope that other networks will follow suit and give these debates life beyond the moment. It is unfortunate that activists currently fear running afoul of copyright laws and may hesitate before using footage from these debates to advocate on behalf of their candidate.

These debates are a part of our political discourse. While the networks do the nation a great service by hosting and broadcasting them, the issues and ideas are bigger than the networks that carry them, and deserve a life beyond their air date.

Recently, I began working with the Capitol Hill Broadcasting Network (www.chbn.com) in an effort to bring attention and transparency to our government. CHBN provides a platform, similar to YouTube, for elected officials, candidates, public policy advocates, and others to engage in discussion and debate of the important issues facing our nation. CHBN is dedicated to making our government accessible to the people, and as CNN suggested, holding our government accountable to the people.

I ask that you do the same. I urge you to put the weight of the Republican National Committee behind the effort to free the debates. Urge the networks carrying Republican debates, and the candidates seeking the highest office in the land, to make the footage available to the people.

Thanks for your consideration of this matter and your stewardship of our party.

Sincerely,

Robert L. Livingston
Member of Congress (Retired)

May 10, 2007  ·  Lessig

MSNBC wrote to me to say that the policy I quoted them as having respecting the Presidential Debates is not, in fact, their policy. We’re having a constructive conversation about what the policy should be. Meanwhile, here’s their statement to me.

As the producers of two Presidential Candidates’ debates so far this year, NBC NEWS, MSNBC and MSNBC.com believe strongly in our public interest obligations and the importance of a robust political dialogue on the internet.

The MSNBC / Politico.com GOP Debate and the MSNBC Democratic Candidates debate were both aired commercial free on MSNBC cable. In addition, the debates were streamed live in their entirety at our free website MSNBC.com, where both debates continue to be available through election day 2008 for streaming, in their entirety as well as in segments. The GOP debate also streamed live at Politico.com. Other news organizations as well as news and information websites are free to use substantial portions of both debates on their television, radio, and internet platforms. (Specific usage information has been released separately by NBC media relations.)

In the weeks ahead and until Election Day 2008, we will continue to make our coverage widely available on many platforms, and we welcome the ongoing conversation on ways to bring these important events to an even broader audience of Americans.

May 10, 2007  ·  Lessig

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Thanks to the many (and I know, because I get to write the thank you notes) who responded to my request to help us increase the scholarship funding for the iCommons Summit. We are in the last days (Monday we need to decide who we can fund and who not) and we need $16,000 more from the public campaign. Please do what you can. Or maybe, a bit more than you can. We’re trying to bring as many as possible. Not many in this movement can afford a trip to Croatia without support. We want to help as many as possible.

A couple clicks and you could help us bring a couple more.

May 10, 2007  ·  Lessig

Brian Transeau, aka BT, is a well known electronic, or “trance musician,” as Wikipedia puts it. More than a year ago, his lawyer contacted me about a lawsuit that BT was defendant in. BT was alleged to have “copied” a 9 second drum track in a recording that was used in an advertisement. BT had not copied anything. Moreover, the drum beat was totally generic, and not, BT argued, subject to copyright protection at all.

We don’t usually get involved in cases involving famous artists. But after more than a year in litigation, this (totally bogus) case had become too much. We therefore took the case to defend this creator’s right to create, rather than see him forced to cave to these groundless claims by a litigation happy plaintiff (he had done this to others before). Musicians, especially using electronic technology, need to be free to create without basic sound patterns being used as tools of litigation extortion.

Yesterday, the district court finally dismissed the case. After an extensive period of discovery, and expert testimony, the Court found that plaintiff had no credible evidence that BT copied the 9 second drum beat.

BT: “[The plaintiff] attacked my integrity as an artist. It’s very satisfying to be vindicated by the Court, and reassuring to know there are organizations and lawyers out there who are willing to donate their time to help artists protect themselves and their work.”

You can read the opinion here.

Thanks to the lawyers at CIS who made this happen, and also to the fantastic lawyers at Kirkland and Ellis who were also volunteers in this case.

May 7, 2007  ·  Lessig

So last week, good news. This week, importantly defining news. The USA Today OnPolitics blog has announced that Fox has decided not to make its debates with the Republicans free.

This is now a defining moment. The RNC has not yet responded to either the call to free the debates, nor even the request to talk. And while three Dems have joined the call, the DNC and Hilary Clinton are also, so far, AWOL in this debate.

It is time to for these leaders to say something, one way or the other. Some of the best bloggers I’ve read are Republican. Does the RNC support them? And it has taken way too long for Senator Clinton to focus on this issue. Why?

Inquiring minds want to know. And more should ask that these questions get answered.