August 13, 2008  ·  Lessig

So for non-lawgeeks, this won’t seem important. But trust me, this is huge.

I am very proud to report today that the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (THE “IP” court in the US) has upheld a free (ok, they call them “open source”) copyright license, explicitly pointing to the work of Creative Commons and others. (The specific license at issue was the Artistic License.) This is a very important victory, and I am very very happy that the Stanford Center for Internet and Society played a key role in securing it. Congratulations especially to Chris Ridder and Anthony Falzone at the Center.

In non-technical terms, the Court has held that free licenses such as the CC licenses set conditions (rather than covenants) on the use of copyrighted work. When you violate the condition, the license disappears, meaning you’re simply a copyright infringer. This is the theory of the GPL and all CC licenses. Put precisely, whether or not they are also contracts, they are copyright licenses which expire if you fail to abide by the terms of the license.

Important clarity and certainty by a critically important US Court.

August 11, 2008  ·  Lessig

Readers of these pages will have been burdened with version after version of my talks about corruption and the Change Congress movement. This Wednesday, in San Jose, I’ll give a final 20+ minute spin on this, and then release the source material at Change-Congress.org for others to take and build upon.

The live event will be at the Commonwealth Club, San Jose. Here’s the link for information.

August 4, 2008  ·  Lessig

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This is (I expect) the last book I’ll write in this field. Dedicated to Lyman Ray Patterson and Jack Valenti, it pushes three ideas — (1) that this war on our kids has got to stop, (2) that we need to celebrate (and support) the rebirth of a remix culture, and (3) that a new form of business (what I call the “hybrid”) will flourish as we better enable this remix creativity.

I wrote this book last year. Many of the themes were described in 18 minutes in my TED talk. I am very eager to have it out.

You can get notified when it is out on Amazon.

August 4, 2008  ·  Lessig

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Just returning from the iCommons Summit in Sapporo, Japan. The Free Beer project made a showing, with a locally brewed version. But this ad caught my eye: “Free Beer” for “500 yen.”

We’re now at the stage where (at least some) the RMS conception of “free” is clear enough so that even “free beer” is “free as in free speech” such that a price running with the free beer seems (again, to a select set no doubt) perfectly natural.

August 4, 2008  ·  Lessig

I posted the last post thanking Theo Armour for his html version of A Declaration for Independence just before getting on the plane in Tokyo. When I arrived back in the states, I received two revisions of his revision.

The first, by Ben Kerney, corrects some character encoding problems, and places the text is a clearer outline frame.

The second, by Matthew Levine, also corrects the character encoding problem, and very nicely fits the typography of the pdf version.

Both version also cleaned up a problem with the notes. But upon my return, I found another version from Theo Armour fixing the problem with the notes. (I’ve replaced the original version in the original post with this version as well).

Ok, so first, thank you to all for the help. But now let’s move the revisions to the wiki. I have used a simple html2wiki conversion tool to create a draft on wiki.lessig.org. The wiki’s spam filter choked on the notes, so the first major fix would be a fix for the notes. But then I’m eager to see how the substance develops.

The link on the wiki is wiki.lessig.org/Declaration4Independence.

Meanwhile, I’ll probably build a v2.0 of this Declaration, building on the ideas of the wiki and other ideas I’ve collection. But for now, thank you again to everyone who helped seed this for the web.

Update: Here also is a LaTeX version. (Thanks, Valentin!)

August 1, 2008  ·  Lessig

On the Change-Congress.org blog, I’ve got a piece about the absurdity in this prosecution of Senator Ted Stevens:

On Tuesday, Senator Ted Stevens was indicted by federal prosecutors for failing to report gifts he had received from an oil company to help him renovate his Alaskan home. The charges were not a surprise, though official Washington mustered its collective, and requisite outrage. Senators Dole and Sununu were quick to return campaign contributions from the now-tainted Stevens. Editorials across the nation were quick to condemn the obvious graft targeted by the government.

But I confess, I don’t get it. Not that I don’t see the wrong in what Stevens has done. That’s obvious. What’s not obvious to me is why this wrong is so different from everything else that DC thinks is right.

Read more, there.

August 1, 2008  ·  Lessig

So I didn’t make many friends in the Obama campaign when I suggested his campaign was Self-Swiftboating Obama — acting in a way that undercut his most important character. But (as an Obama supporter), I am really pleased (if as one-time admirer of McCain, saddened) to see that McCain is out-doing Obama in this respect, big time.

Below are a brace of ads by Brave New Film (on whose board I sit) and MoveOn.org that make the substance of the point well. Here’s the Self-Swiftboating analysis:

McCain’s strongest feature as a candidate was the perception that he was a no bullshitting, straight talking, truth speaking maverick. Though I was an admirer, I never quite saw the image as true. (I wrote about an extraordinary exchange I saw with him and Zittrain last year.) But that’s certainly what makes people like and respect him — and what distinguished him so completely from Mitt “I’m running so I need to be a Rightwinger” Romney, and Rudy “I’m running so I need to be a Rightwinger” Giuliani.

But now, McCain’s acting in a way that will turn off this base completely. The absurdity of the flip-flop on off-shore drilling, and the shameful suggestion that this is a solution to the problem of high gas prices (all after he had met with oil execs, and then received a huge influx of campaign cash from the same), and the totally baseless charge that Obama’s decision not to visit troops was motivated by the unavailability of the press coverage: Shame on you, Senator. But please, don’t stop now!

Brave New Film Ad:


McCain’s Ad:


MoveOn.org Ad: