June 4, 2007 · Lessig
After my debate last week at CISAC (at Google Video here), The Register published a piece (archived) about the event. I’ve received a bunch of angry email about what was reported in that piece. The relevant quotes offered in the Register’s article, however, are not correct.
First, The Register writes that I said: “I have two lives,” he said. “One is in Creative Commons…the other is in litigation against authors.”
In fact, I said: “I have two lives in this. One is leading Creative Commons. And the other [is leading] litigation which is , I’m sure, in conflict with the views of many people about copyright.” Listen to the clip here: mp3, ogg.
Second, The Register also wrote that I said: “No one at Creative Commons has attacked authors.” That’s certainly true. No one working at Creative Commons has ever “attacked authors.” However true, the quote is not what I said.
Third, The Register wrote that I said: “I assert that there is no fundamental disagreement between the objectives of the societies and the objectives of Creative Commons.” This caused many from the “movement” to complain that in fact there were important conflicts between Creative Commons and Collecting Rights Societies.
In fact, what I said was: “I assert that there is no fundamental disagreement between the objectives of the Collecting Rights Societies, as you’ve described them and the objectives of what Creative Commons is trying to do.” The qualification is important, because Brett Cottle had described compromises that Collecting Rights Societies were making to fit with the digital age. While I don’t believe it’s accurate that all Collecting Rights Societies have been as progressive as Mr. Cottle suggests, I do believe that if they were, there would be “no fundamental disagreement” between them and our objectives. Listen to the clip here: mp3, ogg.
Fourth, some complained that I had referred to the work of creators who don’t intend their creative work to be licensed commercially as “a secondary class of creators.” Actually, of you read The Register’s piece carefully, you’ll see that the first time that quote is used it states “a second class of creators.” The second time it appears “second” has morphed into “secondary.”
All I meant to do was to distinguish one class of creators — professionals, who create for money — from a second class of creators — those who create for the love of creating, and not for the money. I did not say that these creators were of a second class. Indeed, my whole point was that these creators too deserved “respect.” That point is conveyed quite accurately by the International Herald Tribune piece about the same debate.
Finally, The Register wrote something that has led at least one blogger to believe that I am employed by Google. I don’t think a charitable interpretation of what The Register wrote could support that reading. But to the extent it does, let me state clearly that I am not employed by Google. Nor do I represent them. The suggestion of a conflict in The Register’s piece has, however, led me to craft a disclosure statement that I should have published (ala Dave Weinberger and Ethan Zuckerman and Dana Boyd) long ago. I will post that statement tomorrow.