Lessig » eye http://www.lessig.org Blog, news, books Sat, 12 Nov 2016 16:31:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.2 Announcing the hibernation of lessig.org/blog (from the blogs-deserve-a-sabbatical-too department) http://www.lessig.org/2009/08/announcing-the-hibernation-of/ http://www.lessig.org/2009/08/announcing-the-hibernation-of/#comments Thu, 20 Aug 2009 07:15:04 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2009/08/announcing_the_hibernation_of.html Eldred appeal, I penned my first (wildly and embarrassingly defensive) missive to Dave. Some 1753 entries later, I'm letting the blog rest. This will be the last post in this frame. Who knows what the future will bring, but in the near term, it won't bring more in lessig.org/blog. The reasons are many. First, as I peer over the abyss of child number 3 (expected in a couple weeks), I can't begin to imagine how I would be able to allocate the time to give this space the attention it needs. I've already fretted about my failure to give this community the time it deserves in REMIX. Things will only get worse. Second, even if I could, I'm entering a stage of my work when the ratio of speaking to reading/listening/thinking is changing significantly. I've just taken up my role as director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard. As announced, this means the launch of a 5 year research project on institutional corruption. While I expect that project will have a critical cyber-presence, I don't want its life to be framed by this blog. The mission, the understanding, the community is different. Third, even if I could, and even if the work I was doing meant I should, there's an increasingly technical burden to maintaining a blog that I don't have the cycles to support. Some very good friends -- Theo Armour and M. David Peterson -- have been volunteering time to do the mechanics of site maintenance. That has gotten overwhelming. Theo estimates that 1/3 of the 30,000 comments that were posted to the blog over these 7 years were fraudsters. He's been working endlessly to remove them. At one point late last year, Google kicked me off their index because too many illegal casino sites were linking from the bowels of my server. I know some will respond with the equivalent of "you should have put bars on your windows and double bolted locks on your front door." Maybe. Or maybe had legislatures devoted 1/10th the energy devoted to the copyright wars to addressing this muck, it might be easier for free speech to be free. This isn't an announcement of my disappearance. I'm still trying to understand twitter. My channel at blip.tv will remain. As will the podcast, updated as I speak. I will continue to guest blog at Huffington Post. And as Change-Congress.org enters a new stage, I hope to be doing more there. But this community, this space, this board will now rest. Thank you to the endless list of people who have helped make this place as it is, or was. Theo and M. David especially. Marc Perkel for his free hosting at ctyme.com for so many years. And thank you especially to the inhabitants of this space, especially the fantastic commentators and loyal backbenchers (Three Blind Mice, you have to reveal yourself now and let me buy you a beer). I have enjoyed this wildly more than I have not (again, I whine in REMIX about the not). And I have been very proud to be responsible for certain bits of content -- especially the guest blogging by the interesting and famous (Howard Dean was a favorite, and I will always be proud that I got Judge Posner to experiment with blogging, leading to his wonderful blog with Gary Becker). Comments on this post will remain open for a week. And then comments on all posts will be locked. Thank you to everyone, again. ]]> So my blog turns seven today. On August 20, 2002, while hiding north of San Francisco working on the Eldred appeal, I penned my first (wildly and embarrassingly defensive) missive to Dave. Some 1753 entries later, I’m letting the blog rest. This will be the last post in this frame. Who knows what the future will bring, but in the near term, it won’t bring more in lessig.org/blog.

The reasons are many.

First, as I peer over the abyss of child number 3 (expected in a couple weeks), I can’t begin to imagine how I would be able to allocate the time to give this space the attention it needs. I’ve already fretted about my failure to give this community the time it deserves in REMIX. Things will only get worse.

Second, even if I could, I’m entering a stage of my work when the ratio of speaking to reading/listening/thinking is changing significantly. I’ve just taken up my role as director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard. As announced, this means the launch of a 5 year research project on institutional corruption. While I expect that project will have a critical cyber-presence, I don’t want its life to be framed by this blog. The mission, the understanding, the community is different.

Third, even if I could, and even if the work I was doing meant I should, there’s an increasingly technical burden to maintaining a blog that I don’t have the cycles to support. Some very good friends — Theo Armour and M. David Peterson — have been volunteering time to do the mechanics of site maintenance. That has gotten overwhelming. Theo estimates that 1/3 of the 30,000 comments that were posted to the blog over these 7 years were fraudsters. He’s been working endlessly to remove them. At one point late last year, Google kicked me off their index because too many illegal casino sites were linking from the bowels of my server. I know some will respond with the equivalent of “you should have put bars on your windows and double bolted locks on your front door.” Maybe. Or maybe had legislatures devoted 1/10th the energy devoted to the copyright wars to addressing this muck, it might be easier for free speech to be free.

This isn’t an announcement of my disappearance. I’m still trying to understand twitter. My channel at blip.tv will remain. As will the podcast, updated as I speak. I will continue to guest blog at Huffington Post. And as Change-Congress.org enters a new stage, I hope to be doing more there. But this community, this space, this board will now rest.

Thank you to the endless list of people who have helped make this place as it is, or was. Theo and M. David especially. Marc Perkel for his free hosting at ctyme.com for so many years. And thank you especially to the inhabitants of this space, especially the fantastic commentators and loyal backbenchers (Three Blind Mice, you have to reveal yourself now and let me buy you a beer). I have enjoyed this wildly more than I have not (again, I whine in REMIX about the not). And I have been very proud to be responsible for certain bits of content — especially the guest blogging by the interesting and famous (Howard Dean was a favorite, and I will always be proud that I got Judge Posner to experiment with blogging, leading to his wonderful blog with Gary Becker).

Comments on this post will remain open for a week. And then comments on all posts will be locked.

Thank you to everyone, again.

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Required Reading: News http://www.lessig.org/2008/12/required-reading-news-1/ http://www.lessig.org/2008/12/required-reading-news-1/#comments Sat, 13 Dec 2008 02:17:32 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2008/12/required_reading_news_1.html bn.JPG

It is with a complicated mix of excitement and sadness that I make the following announcement.

As some of you remember, just over a year ago I reported that I was shifting my academic (and activist) work from free culture related issues to (what I called) "corruption." At Stanford, a year ago, I outlined what this work would be: To focus on the many institutions in public life that depend upon trust to succeed, but which are jeopardizing that trust through an improper dependence on money. Read the New York Times Editorial of last week. Or think of medical researchers receiving money from drug companies whose drugs they review; legal academics receiving money to provide public policy advice from the very institutions affected by that advice; or Congress filled with Members focused obsessively on how to raise money to secure their (or their party's) tenure. In all these cases, dependency on money in these ways tends to weaken public trust. Or so was my hypothesis when I launched on this project.

But how I would pursue this work has been a constant challenge. I started immediately to devour the books recommended to me by colleagues and on my wiki. I attended conferences and gave talks about the subject. I began a series of interviews with insiders. And with the help of Joe Trippi, I launched Change Congress, which was designed to focus these issues in the context of American politics.

Throughout this process, however, I have felt that the work would require something more. That the project I had described was bigger than a project that I, one academic, could pursue effectively. This wasn't an issue that would be fixed with a book. Or even with five books. It is instead a problem that required a new focus by many people, across disciplines, learning or relearning something important about how trust was built.

About six months ago, I was asked to consider locating this research at a very well established ethics center at Harvard University. Launched more than two decades ago, the Safra Center was first committed to building a program on ethics that would inspire similar programs at universities across the country. But the suggestion was made that after more than two decades of enormous success, it may make sense for the Center to consider focusing at least part of its work on a single problem. No one was certain this made sense, but I was asked to sketch a proposal that wouldn’t necessarily displace the current work of the Center, but which would become a primary focus of the Center, and complement its mission.

I did that, mapping a five year project that would draw together scholars from a wide range of disciplines to focus on this increasingly important problem of improper dependence. Harvard liked the proposal. In November, the Provost of Harvard University invited me to become the director of the Safra Center. Last week, I accepted the offer. In the summer, I will begin an appointment at the Harvard Law School, while directing the Safra Center.

This was a very difficult decision to make. Stanford is an extraordinary law school, and I have loved my time here. The students are brilliant, yet balanced. The faculty is brilliant, yet surprisingly humble. The Dean has an amazing vision of the future of legal education, and is redefining the law school in ways that I completely support. I am endlessly proud of the Center for Internet and Society and the Fair Use Project. I have the very best assistant in the world (and she promised at least 5 more years if I stayed). I have written four of my five books while here. I'm almost finished with my 6th, the book I am sure I will be most proud of. This is a place that has given an enormous amount to me, and from which I have benefited greatly.

On a personal level, too, this was a difficult decision. California has become our home. My wife is strongly attached to everything Californian; we both have very close friends here; I hadn't ever imagined raising my kids in anything but the social and political environment of San Francisco. I still find it hard to imagine that I won't, if not now, sometime. And the enormous beauty of the environment here still takes my breath away. A year into my time at Stanford, I was certain I would never leave. After a blissful weekend with my family last week, it still hasn't registered that I will be leaving.

But in the end, it was impossible for me to be committed to the project while turning down this opportunity. It is not just the institution, nor the (partial) freedom from teaching. It is the chance to frame a large-scale project devoted to a large, important and complex problem. Once we saw it like this, my wife and I decided that returning to this old home was the right thing to do. And so in June, we will pack up the car for a cross country trek, back to Harvard.

Of course, I have no objective cause to complain. Harvard too is an extraordinary law school. As anyone who knows me knows, some of my closest friends in the world are at Harvard, including the Dean (or at least until Obama steals them all away). Harvard has grown and changed in wonderful ways over the past eight years. It will be an enormously exciting place to teach and learn.

But I regret deeply doing anything that is hurtful to those I respect and like. Worse, I hate doing anything that can be misunderstood. When Dean Sullivan recruited me, she said Stanford was paradise. I thought that was just a slogan. It isn't. I consider the 8 years I have had here to be the most important and invigorating in my career. And I will miss everything about this place.

Some things won't change. I will continue to work with Joe Trippi to build Change Congress. And I will continue to explore how best to incorporate this space (the Net) into this research. But I will do all of this, and my work, in the context of Harvard's Safra Center and its Law School, and of old friendships, revived.

bn2.JPG
]]>
bn.JPG

It is with a complicated mix of excitement and sadness that I make the following announcement.

As some of you remember, just over a year ago I reported that I was shifting my academic (and activist) work from free culture related issues to (what I called) “corruption.” At Stanford, a year ago, I outlined what this work would be: To focus on the many institutions in public life that depend upon trust to succeed, but which are jeopardizing that trust through an improper dependence on money. Read the New York Times Editorial of last week. Or think of medical researchers receiving money from drug companies whose drugs they review; legal academics receiving money to provide public policy advice from the very institutions affected by that advice; or Congress filled with Members focused obsessively on how to raise money to secure their (or their party’s) tenure. In all these cases, dependency on money in these ways tends to weaken public trust. Or so was my hypothesis when I launched on this project.

But how I would pursue this work has been a constant challenge. I started immediately to devour the books recommended to me by colleagues and on my wiki. I attended conferences and gave talks about the subject. I began a series of interviews with insiders. And with the help of Joe Trippi, I launched Change Congress, which was designed to focus these issues in the context of American politics.

Throughout this process, however, I have felt that the work would require something more. That the project I had described was bigger than a project that I, one academic, could pursue effectively. This wasn’t an issue that would be fixed with a book. Or even with five books. It is instead a problem that required a new focus by many people, across disciplines, learning or relearning something important about how trust was built.

About six months ago, I was asked to consider locating this research at a very well established ethics center at Harvard University. Launched more than two decades ago, the Safra Center was first committed to building a program on ethics that would inspire similar programs at universities across the country. But the suggestion was made that after more than two decades of enormous success, it may make sense for the Center to consider focusing at least part of its work on a single problem. No one was certain this made sense, but I was asked to sketch a proposal that wouldn’t necessarily displace the current work of the Center, but which would become a primary focus of the Center, and complement its mission.

I did that, mapping a five year project that would draw together scholars from a wide range of disciplines to focus on this increasingly important problem of improper dependence. Harvard liked the proposal. In November, the Provost of Harvard University invited me to become the director of the Safra Center. Last week, I accepted the offer. In the summer, I will begin an appointment at the Harvard Law School, while directing the Safra Center.

This was a very difficult decision to make. Stanford is an extraordinary law school, and I have loved my time here. The students are brilliant, yet balanced. The faculty is brilliant, yet surprisingly humble. The Dean has an amazing vision of the future of legal education, and is redefining the law school in ways that I completely support. I am endlessly proud of the Center for Internet and Society and the Fair Use Project. I have the very best assistant in the world (and she promised at least 5 more years if I stayed). I have written four of my five books while here. I’m almost finished with my 6th, the book I am sure I will be most proud of. This is a place that has given an enormous amount to me, and from which I have benefited greatly.

On a personal level, too, this was a difficult decision. California has become our home. My wife is strongly attached to everything Californian; we both have very close friends here; I hadn’t ever imagined raising my kids in anything but the social and political environment of San Francisco. I still find it hard to imagine that I won’t, if not now, sometime. And the enormous beauty of the environment here still takes my breath away. A year into my time at Stanford, I was certain I would never leave. After a blissful weekend with my family last week, it still hasn’t registered that I will be leaving.

But in the end, it was impossible for me to be committed to the project while turning down this opportunity. It is not just the institution, nor the (partial) freedom from teaching. It is the chance to frame a large-scale project devoted to a large, important and complex problem. Once we saw it like this, my wife and I decided that returning to this old home was the right thing to do. And so in June, we will pack up the car for a cross country trek, back to Harvard.

Of course, I have no objective cause to complain. Harvard too is an extraordinary law school. As anyone who knows me knows, some of my closest friends in the world are at Harvard, including the Dean (or at least until Obama steals them all away). Harvard has grown and changed in wonderful ways over the past eight years. It will be an enormously exciting place to teach and learn.

But I regret deeply doing anything that is hurtful to those I respect and like. Worse, I hate doing anything that can be misunderstood. When Dean Sullivan recruited me, she said Stanford was paradise. I thought that was just a slogan. It isn’t. I consider the 8 years I have had here to be the most important and invigorating in my career. And I will miss everything about this place.

Some things won’t change. I will continue to work with Joe Trippi to build Change Congress. And I will continue to explore how best to incorporate this space (the Net) into this research. But I will do all of this, and my work, in the context of Harvard’s Safra Center and its Law School, and of old friendships, revived.

bn2.JPG

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weirdly, I got an editorial http://www.lessig.org/2008/10/weirdly-i-got-an-editorial/ http://www.lessig.org/2008/10/weirdly-i-got-an-editorial/#comments Wed, 22 Oct 2008 18:56:26 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2008/10/weirdly_i_got_an_editorial.html In Praise of ... Lawrence Lessig.]]> The Guardian gave me an editorial today: In Praise of … Lawrence Lessig.

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on the corrupting of lessig http://www.lessig.org/2008/09/on-the-corrupting-of-lessig/ http://www.lessig.org/2008/09/on-the-corrupting-of-lessig/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2008 00:18:42 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2008/09/on_the_corrupting_of_lessig.html privacy-compromising (and as some said, ad-placement) confession. I've posted some replies. Thanks for the comments. ]]> A number of great and interesting comments were made in response to my privacy-compromising (and as some said, ad-placement) confession. I’ve posted some replies. Thanks for the comments.

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37 helpful comments later http://www.lessig.org/2008/05/37-helpful-comments-later/ http://www.lessig.org/2008/05/37-helpful-comments-later/#comments Fri, 02 May 2008 02:58:24 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2008/05/37_helpful_comments_later.html post about comment policy, I've decided to start slowly as proposed. That means:
I have adopted a policy of deleting personal attacks on others. That means any comment that is directed against someone other than me, which is uncivil and attacking something other than the substance of what that person has written as a comment on my blog will be removed if (1) a request is made by anyone to a2lessig@pobox.com, and (2) the volunteer I've selected agrees the policy has been violated.
I like some of the other suggestions, including incorporating the slashdot system. As things develop, I may move to something more. Thanks to all for the help. ]]>
After thinking through the 37 helpful comments posted to my post about comment policy, I’ve decided to start slowly as proposed. That means:
I have adopted a policy of deleting personal attacks on others. That means any comment that is directed against someone other than me, which is uncivil and attacking something other than the substance of what that person has written as a comment on my blog will be removed if (1) a request is made by anyone to a2lessig@pobox.com, and (2) the volunteer I’ve selected agrees the policy has been violated.

I like some of the other suggestions, including incorporating the slashdot system. As things develop, I may move to something more.

Thanks to all for the help.

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Please give comments on a lessig.org/blog comment policy http://www.lessig.org/2008/04/please-give-comments-on-a-less/ http://www.lessig.org/2008/04/please-give-comments-on-a-less/#comments Wed, 09 Apr 2008 20:08:12 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2008/04/please_give_comments_on_a_less.html So I’d like to propose a policy change for comments at lessig.org/blog.

So far, my policy has been to delete comment spam only. I have not deleted any other type of comment, including (especially) comments critical of me or others.

I’d like to change that. I’d like to adopt a policy of deleting personal attacks on others. That means any comment that is directed against someone other than me, which is uncivil and attacking something other than the substance of what that person has written as a comment on my blog.

This change has been encouraged by many people, but prompted by one case in particular, where there’s apparently a stalker who is faking his/her ID (poorly, as I can see they all come from a common set of IP addresses), and attacking someone who left a couple comments on my blog. That’s not the sort of place I want here.

So I’d propose to ask a trusted volunteer to take requests to remove comments by people who believe they’re being uncivilly attacked. If that trusted volunteer agrees, the comment would be removed.

Again, and critically important: No comment attacking me or my work would ever be removed. This would only affect comments that were attacking others (1) uncivilly and (2) unrelated to what others have posted as comments on my blog.

Thoughts?

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help? http://www.lessig.org/2008/03/help/ http://www.lessig.org/2008/03/help/#comments Sun, 16 Mar 2008 10:05:14 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2008/03/help.html M. David most recently and most extensively. But I'm now in some desperate need for someone or some few who could commit some cycles to lessig.org development. I'm keen to clean up the mess that is the content on my site -- making my presentations more easily available, providing free format versions of everything I can, etc. That means the right sort would have experience with codecs and some design, and a taste for building systems that scale easily. I can put together a small budget to support some of this, but not a ton. If you can help, drop a note here with your experience and a clear indication of the level of support you could offer. ]]> Over the years, I’ve sometimes come to this place to ask for tech help. I’m here again. I’ve had some fantastic support from wildly overworked sorts — M. David most recently and most extensively. But I’m now in some desperate need for someone or some few who could commit some cycles to lessig.org development. I’m keen to clean up the mess that is the content on my site — making my presentations more easily available, providing free format versions of everything I can, etc. That means the right sort would have experience with codecs and some design, and a taste for building systems that scale easily.

I can put together a small budget to support some of this, but not a ton. If you can help, drop a note here with your experience and a clear indication of the level of support you could offer.

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Just because I’m not working doesn’t mean you can’t http://www.lessig.org/2007/06/just-because-im-not-working-do/ http://www.lessig.org/2007/06/just-because-im-not-working-do/#comments Sat, 30 Jun 2007 04:55:32 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2007/06/just_because_im_not_working_do.html While I'm away, I've set up a page on the Lessig Wiki to gather research and suggestions about corruption. As I said, I'm a novice in this field. I am eager to read broadly. If you've got some ideas, please help map the subject. ]]> While I’m away, I’ve set up a page on the Lessig Wiki to gather research and suggestions about corruption. As I said, I’m a novice in this field. I am eager to read broadly. If you’ve got some ideas, please help map the subject.

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Of the grid (again) http://www.lessig.org/2007/06/of-the-grid-again/ http://www.lessig.org/2007/06/of-the-grid-again/#comments Sat, 30 Jun 2007 04:46:52 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2007/06/of_the_grid_again.html July 3, 2006:
Since my [first] kid was born, we've tried to have a month alone off the grid every year. That starts this year in 6 hours. I have not asked anyone to guest blog while I'm gone, so this space will be quiet. There are a couple times when I might make a surprise return (they're all preprogrammed). But my apologies for the silence otherwise. This year has been an especially burdensome year. We really need this time alone.
That happens again this year, again, six hours from now. This year has not been especially burdensome. Indeed, the American Academy in Berlin is heaven, and I've gotten lots of good work done. But the promise was for good times and bad, regardless, a month alone with my family. ]]>
My entry July 3, 2006:
Since my [first] kid was born, we’ve tried to have a month alone off the grid every year. That starts this year in 6 hours. I have not asked anyone to guest blog while I’m gone, so this space will be quiet. There are a couple times when I might make a surprise return (they’re all preprogrammed). But my apologies for the silence otherwise. This year has been an especially burdensome year. We really need this time alone.

That happens again this year, again, six hours from now. This year has not been especially burdensome. Indeed, the American Academy in Berlin is heaven, and I’ve gotten lots of good work done. But the promise was for good times and bad, regardless, a month alone with my family.

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Lessig 2.0 — the site http://www.lessig.org/2007/06/lessig-20-the-site/ http://www.lessig.org/2007/06/lessig-20-the-site/#comments Tue, 26 Jun 2007 01:44:48 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2007/06/lessig_20_the_site.html Ryan Gantz and M. David Peterson for help in the redesign of lessig.org. There are no doubt a bunch of details to finish, but I'm grateful for the amazing work in getting it live. Soon, as promised, the Mixter site will go live with content to use and reuse. So stay tuned to others doing it, better. Update: ok, a little hiccup. But now we're back, and so too are the thanks. ]]> Loads of thanks to Ryan Gantz and M. David Peterson for help in the redesign of lessig.org. There are no doubt a bunch of details to finish, but I’m grateful for the amazing work in getting it live. Soon, as promised, the Mixter site will go live with content to use and reuse. So stay tuned to others doing it, better.

Update: ok, a little hiccup. But now we’re back, and so too are the thanks.

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Required Thanks: Thanks http://www.lessig.org/2007/06/required-thanks-thanks/ http://www.lessig.org/2007/06/required-thanks-thanks/#comments Fri, 22 Jun 2007 18:26:35 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2007/06/required_thanks_thanks.html Internet Policy videos, a book, and some committed talks), as well as a cert petition in Kahle that would be much clarified if the 10th Circuit decided Golan. Meanwhile, thanks again for the kind words, and many great ideas.]]> The response to my channel changing has been overwhelming — literally, with the emails and well wishes. Thank you (and I’m sorry for the slowness in responding). Some have asked whether this means all IP disappears from here, or elsewhere, as of now. Answer: No. I’ve still got a bunch of things in the pipes (an op-ed in the Post; a couple more Internet Policy videos, a book, and some committed talks), as well as a cert petition in Kahle that would be much clarified if the 10th Circuit decided Golan.

Meanwhile, thanks again for the kind words, and many great ideas.

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Required Reading: the next 10 years http://www.lessig.org/2007/06/required-reading-the-next-10-y-1/ http://www.lessig.org/2007/06/required-reading-the-next-10-y-1/#comments Tue, 19 Jun 2007 07:07:36 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2007/06/required_reading_the_next_10_y_1.html iCommons iSummit 07, I made an announcement that surprised some, but which, from reports on the web at least, was also not fully understood by some. So here again is the announcement, with some reasoning behind it. The bottom line: I have decided to shift my academic work, and soon, my activism, away from the issues that have consumed me for the last 10 years, towards a new set of issues. Why and what are explained in the extended entry below.]]> During my keynote at the iCommons iSummit 07, I made an announcement that surprised some, but which, from reports on the web at least, was also not fully understood by some. So here again is the announcement, with some reasoning behind it.

The bottom line: I have decided to shift my academic work, and soon, my activism, away from the issues that have consumed me for the last 10 years, towards a new set of issues. Why and what are explained in the extended entry below. | technorati |

Three people I admire greatly are responsible for at least inspiring this decision.

The first is Obama. Six months ago, I was reading Obama’s (really excellent) latest book. In the beginning of the book, he describes his decision to run for the United States Senate. At that point, Obama had been in politics for about 10 years. Ten years, he reflected, was enough. It was either “up or out” for him. He gambled on the the “up.” We’ll see how far he gets.

But for me, Obama’s reflection triggered a different thought. It’s been a decade since I have become active in the issues I’m known for. Over this decade, I’ve learned a great deal. There has been important progress on the issues — not yet in Congress, but in the understanding of many about what’s at stake, and what’s important. Literally thousands have worked to change that understanding. When we began a decade ago, I would have said it was impossible to imagine the progress we’ve made. It is extraordinarily rewarding to recognize that my pessimism notwithstanding, we are going to prevail in these debates. Maybe not today, but soon.

That belief (some think, dream), then led me to wonder whether it wasn’t time to find a new set of problems: I had learned everything I was going to learn about the issues I’ve been working on; there are many who would push them as well, or better, than I; perhaps therefore it was time to begin again.

That thought triggered a second, this one tied to Gore.

In one of the handful of opportunities I had to watch Gore deliver his global warming Keynote, I recognized a link in the problem that he was describing and the work that I have been doing during this past decade. After talking about the basic inability of our political system to reckon the truth about global warming, Gore observed that this was really just part of a much bigger problem. That the real problem here was (what I will call a “corruption” of) the political process. That our government can’t understand basic facts when strong interests have an interest in its misunderstanding.

This is a thought I’ve often had in the debates I’ve been a part of, especially with respect to IP. Think, for example, about term extension. From a public policy perspective, the question of extending existing copyright terms is, as Milton Friedman put it, a “no brainer.” As the Gowers Commission concluded in Britain, a government should never extend an existing copyright term. No public regarding justification could justify the extraordinary deadweight loss that such extensions impose.

Yet governments continue to push ahead with this idiot idea — both Britain and Japan for example are considering extending existing terms. Why?

The answer is a kind of corruption of the political process. Or better, a “corruption” of the political process. I don’t mean corruption in the simple sense of bribery. I mean “corruption” in the sense that the system is so queered by the influence of money that it can’t even get an issue as simple and clear as term extension right. Politicians are starved for the resources concentrated interests can provide. In the US, listening to money is the only way to secure reelection. And so an economy of influence bends public policy away from sense, always to dollars.

The point of course is not new. Indeed, the fear of factions is as old as the Republic. There are thousands who are doing amazing work to make clear just how corrupt this system has become. There have been scores of solutions proposed. This is not a field lacking in good work, or in people who can do this work well.

But a third person — this time anonymous — made me realize that I wanted to be one of these many trying to find a solution to this “corruption.” This man, a Republican of prominence in Washington, wrote me a reply to an email I had written to him about net neutrality. As he wrote, “And don’t shill for the big guys protecting market share through neutrality REGULATION either.”

“Shill.”

If you’ve been reading these pages recently, you’ll know my allergy to that word. But this friend’s use of the term not to condemn me, but rather as play, made me recognize just how general this corruption is. Of course he would expect I was in the pay of those whose interests I advanced. Why else would I advance them? Both he and I were in a business in which such shilling was the norm. It was totally reasonable to thus expect that money explained my desire to argue with him about public policy.

I don’t want to be a part of that business. And more importantly, I don’t want this kind of business to be a part of public policy making. We’ve all been whining about the “corruption” of government forever. We all should be whining about the corruption of professions too. But rather than whining, I want to work on this problem that I’ve come to believe is the most important problem in making government work.

And so as I said at the top (in my “bottom line”), I have decided to shift my academic work, and soon, my activism, away from the issues that have consumed me for the last 10 years, towards a new set of issues: Namely, these. “Corruption” as I’ve defined it elsewhere will be the focus of my work. For at least the next 10 years, it is the problem I will try to help solve.

I do this with no illusions. I am 99.9% confident that the problem I turn to will continue exist when this 10 year term is over. But the certainty of failure is sometimes a reason to try. That’s true in this case.

Nor do I believe I have any magic bullet. Indeed, I am beginner. A significant chunk of the next ten years will be spent reading and studying the work of others. My hope is to build upon their work; I don’t pretend to come with a revolution pre-baked.

Instead, what I come with is a desire to devote as much energy to these issues of “corruption” as I’ve devoted to the issues of network and IP sanity. This is a shift not to an easier project, but a different project. It is a decision to give up my work in a place some consider me an expert to begin work in a place where I am nothing more than a beginner.

So what precisely does this mean for the work I am doing now?

First, and most importantly, I am not leaving Creative Commons, or the iCommons Project. I will remain on both boards, and continue to serve as CEO of Creative Commons. I will speak and promote both organizations whenever ever I can — at least until the financial future of both organizations is secure. I will also continue to head the Stanford Center for Internet and Society.

But second, and over the next few months, I will remove myself from the other organizations on whose boards I now serve. Not immediately, but as I can, and as it makes sense.

Third, in general, I will no longer be lecturing about IP (whether as in TCP/IP or IPR) issues. No doubt there will be exceptions. In particular, I have a few (though because this decision has been in the works for months, very few) obligations through the balance of the year. There will be others in the future too. But in general, unless there are very strong reasons, I will not be accepting invitations to talk about the issues that have defined my work for the past decade.

Instead, as soon as I can locate some necessary technical help, I will be moving every presentation I have made (that I can) to a Mixter site (see, e.g., ccMixter) where others can freely download and remix what I’ve done, and use it however they like. I will continue to work to get all my books licensed freely. And I am currently finishing one last book about these issues that I hope will make at least some new contributions.

Fourth, these pages will change too. My focus here will shift. That will make some of you unhappy. I’m sorry for that. The blog is CC-BY licensed. You’re free to fork and continue the (almost) exclusively IP-related conversation. But I will continue that conversation only rarely. New issues will appear here instead.

Fifth, some will think this resolution sounds familiar. In the beginning of the Free Culture talk I gave at OSCON 5 years ago, I said that talk was going to be my last. In fact, what I intended at the time was the last before the argument in the Eldred case. In my nervousness, I didn’t make that intent clear then. The literally hundred of talks since (85 last year alone) should have made that obvious.

But again, this is not a resolution of silence. It is a decision to change channels. This new set of issues is, in my view, critically important. Indeed, I’m convinced we will not solve the IP related issues until these “corruption” related issues are resolved. So I hope at least some of you will follow to this new set of questions. For I expect this forum will be central to working out just what I believe, just as it has in the past.

Finally, I am not (as one friend wrote) “leaving the movement.” “The movement” has my loyalty as much today as ever. But I have come to believe that until a more fundamental problem is fixed, “the movement” can’t succeed either. Compare: Imagine someone devoted to free culture coming to believe that until free software supports free culture, free culture can’t succeed. So he devotes himself to building software. I am someone who believes that a free society — free of the “corruption” that defines our current society — is necessary for free culture, and much more. For that reason, I turn my energy elsewhere for now.

So thank you to everyone who has helped in this work. Thanks especially to everyone who will continue it. And thanks the most to those who will take positions of leadership in this movement, to help guide it to its success. Just one favor I ask in return: when you get to the promised land, remember to send a postcard.

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Disclosure Statement (ala Joho) http://www.lessig.org/2007/06/disclosure-statement-ala-joho/ http://www.lessig.org/2007/06/disclosure-statement-ala-joho/#comments Tue, 05 Jun 2007 04:53:40 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2007/06/disclosure_statement_ala_joho.html others, and following suggestions of inconsistency by others, I offer the following disclosure statement.
How I make money
I am a law professor. I am paid to teach and write in fields that interest me. Never is my academic research directed by anyone other than I. I am not required to teach any particular course; I am never required or even asked by anyone with authority over me to write about a particular subject or question. I am in this important sense a free laborer. I also get paid for some of my writing. I write books that are sold commercially. Three (and I hope soon all) of my books are also available freely in electronic form. I have been commissioned to write articles for magazines. But in all cases, while I may contract about the subject matter I will address, I never contract about the substance. I have (though rarely) been paid to consult on matters related to my work. If I have, I conform my behavior to the NC Principle articulated below. I am sometimes paid to speak. If I am, I will contract as to subject matter (e.g., whether the speech is about innovation, or copyright, or privacy, etc.). I do not contract as to substance. In addition to an honorarium, I also accept payment to cover travel expenses. I am not compensated for my work with nonprofits.
Tech
I am a paying customer of Movable Type. Marc Perkel gives me a great hosting deal. If ever anyone sends me a product to review, I am resolved not to write about it.
Business Attachments
I have no regular clients. I am on board of a number of non-profits, including EFF, FSF, PLOS, FreePress, PublicKnowledge, and Creative Commons. I serve on no commercial boards. I don't take stock-options to serve on boards or advisory boards.
The Non-Corruption (NC) Principle
It is a special privilege that I have a job that permits me to say just what I believe, and not what I'm paid to say. That freedom used to be the norm among professionals. It is less and less the norm today. Lawyers at one time had a professional ethic that permitted them to say what they believe. Now the concept of "business conflicts" -- meaning, a conflict with the commercial interests of actual or potential clients -- silences many from saying what they believe. Doctors too are hired into jobs where they are not allowed to discuss certain medical procedures (See, e.g., Rust v. Sullivan). Researchers at "think tanks" learn who the funders are as a first step to deciding what questions will be pursued. And finally, and most obviously, the same is true of politicians: The constant need to raise money just to keep their job drives them to develop a sixth sense about what sorts of statements (whether true or not) will cost them fundraising dollars. With perhaps one exception (politicians), no one forces professionals into this compromise. (The exception is because I don't see how you survive in politics, as the system is, without this compromise, unless you are insanely rich.) We choose the values we live by ourselves. And as the freedom I have to say what I believe is the most important part of my job to me, I have chosen a set of principles that limit any link between money and the views I express. I call these principles "non-corruption" principles because I believe that behavior inconsistent with these principles, at least among professionals, is a kind of corruption. Obviously, I don't mean "corruption" in the crudest sense. Everyone would agree that it is wrong for a global warming scientist to say to Exxon, "if you pay me $50,000, I'll write an article criticizing global warming." That is not the sort of "corruption" I am talking about. I mean instead "corruption" in a more subtle sense. We all understand that subtle sense when we look at politicians. We don't recognize it enough when we think about lawyers, doctors, scientists, and professors. I want to increase this recognition, even at the risk of indirectly calling some of my friends "corrupt." Norms are uncertain here. I hope they change. But until they change, we should not condemn those with differing views. We should engage them. I intend this to be the beginning of that engagement. So, the NC principle: The simple version is just this: I don't shill for anyone. The more precise version is this: I never recommend as policy a position that I have been paid, either directly or indirectly, to recommend. The precise version need to be precisely specified, but much can be understood from its motivation: "Corruption" in my view is the subtle pressure to take views or positions because of the financial reward they will bring you. "Subtle" in the sense that one's often not even aware of the influence. (This is true, I think, of most politicians.) The rule is thus designed to avoid even that subtle force. So: "I never recommend as policy a position": This is meant to distinguish work as a lawyer from work as an advocate. I don't do legal work for money. But everyone understands that when a lawyer speaks for his client, he speaks for his client. The corruption I am targeting is a lawyer or academic speaking not for a client, but presumptively, for the truth. And "recommend" means in any public forum -- so an op-ed, testimony, or a lecture. "that I have been paid directly": This is the easy part of the principle. "Directly" means that I've received cash or other such compensation, or that I receive research support, or funding that I otherwise wouldn't have been entitled to. "or indirectly": This is a harder line to draw in general. The boundaries for me, however, seem pretty clear. In my view, I would be "indirectly" benefited if an institution I was responsible for got a significant benefit from an easily identified interest. So, for example, I do no fundraising for my law school. My position, and the Center I run there, depends in no way upon my raising funds for either. Further, the commitment I have from my dean to support the Center is independent of any fundraising. As Dean Sullivan told me when she recruited me, "fundraising is my problem. Yours is to do the work." Thus, if you give a substantial amount of money to Stanford, you don't, in my view, indirectly benefit me -- because you have not made my life any different from how it was before you gave that money. (Indeed, given the hassle that usually runs with such gifts, you've likely made my life more difficult.) Creative Commons presents a different question. A substantial contribution to Creative Commons -- an entity which, as its CEO, I am responsible for -- would, consistent with the NC principle, limit my ability to "recommend as policy a position" that was directly connected to the contributing entity. So far, beyond the foundation grants CC has received, there have been two such "substantial" contributions to Creative Commons. With neither would I ever "recommend as policy a position" that benefited either -- even if I believed, independently, that the position was correct. This doesn't mean I wouldn't help such people, or advise them. It simply means I would not publicly say something about their position, after such support was received. I acknowledge one might well quibble with the "substantial" qualification here. Why not "any" rather than "substantial"? That may be the right position, at least ultimately. But as I view the matter now, the gifts beyond these two are so small as a proportion of CC's budget that they don't meaningfully change my work for CC at all.
But isn't disclosure enough?
Some would say this principle is too strict. That a simpler rule -- indeed the rule that governs in most of these contexts -- simply requires disclosure. I don't agree with the disclosure principle. In my view, it is too weak. The best evidence that it is too weak is the United States Congress. All know, or can know, who gives what to whom. That hasn't chilled in the least the kind of corruption that I am targeting here. More generally: if everyone plays this kind of corruption game, then disclosure has no effect in stopping the corruption I am targeting. Thus, in my view, it is not enough to say that "Exxon funded this research." In my view, Exxon should not be directly funding an academic to do research benefiting Exxon in a policy dispute. (There is a difficult line here that turns upon practice. When I was at Chicago, professors received summer research grants. Those were awarded by the Dean. To make the funders happy, the professor would write "this research was supported by a grant by XXX." But never was the money given in light of the work, and most of the time, it wasn't till after you had finished something that you discovered who had "funded" the work. I don't mean to be targeting this sort of behavior at all. Again, the funding the professor received was independent of the grant by XXX.)
What the NC principle is not
The NC principle is about money. It is not about any other influence. Thus, if you're nice to me, no doubt, I'll be nice to you. If you're respectful, I'll be respectful back. If you flatter me, I doubt I could resist flattering you in return. If you push causes I believe in, I will likely push your work as well. These forms of influence are not within the scope of the NC principle because none of them involve money. I mean the NC principle only to be about removing the influence of money from the work of a professional. I don't think there's any need to adopt a rule to remove these other influences. Why is money different from flattery, or being a liberal? Good question. Lots of obvious reasons. (For example, think about how hard these other "corruption principles" would be to implement: "I can't support X because he supports the Democratic party, as I do." "I can't testify in favor of Y because its President said something nice about me." Talk about perverse incentives...) Someday I hope time will give me the opportunity to say more about why in depth. But for now, I mean only to specify the scope of my principle: It is a principle about isolating one form of influence from the work that I (and I hope my colleagues) do. We (in legal academics, and imho) get paid enough not to have to worry about selling testimony. Thus, one friend wrote me with disappointment about something I wrote that could be viewed as a favor to someone else. So long as money is not involved, I'm all for this kind of favor. We should be doing favors for people we agree with all the time. Especially people on our side of the debate: we need to become at least as good as the other side in cultivating a community of support.
So what does all this promise?
If you believe I am following my principle, then you can still believe I am biased because I'm a liberal, or wrong because I'm an idiot, or overly attentive because I'm easily flattered, or under-attentive because I punish people who behave badly. All that the NC principle promises is that I am not saying what I am saying because of money.
As applied
I have been living these principles for many years. So my purpose here is not to announce any new policy. You can agree or disagree with the principles. You can believe them too strict, or not strict enough. They are significantly stricter than anything within the academy just now. No doubt, many may believe they are way too strict. But whether you believe them too strict, or not strict enough, I would encourage you to engage them. Consistent with my NC principle, I will reward kindness and insight with at least kindness. I will ignore people whose argument style stopped developing in high school. But because this is an issue I very much want to continue to work on, the only thing for sure is I won't accept money to consult around it. (And of course, there are millions throwing hundreds of millions at me to do this, so this is a REAL sacrifice.) Finally, and again, I don't offer this as a tool to condemn. I offer it because I believe this is a conversation we all should have.]]>
Following the good practice of others, and following suggestions of inconsistency by others, I offer the following disclosure statement.

How I make money

I am a law professor. I am paid to teach and write in fields that interest me. Never is my academic research directed by anyone other than I. I am not required to teach any particular course; I am never required or even asked by anyone with authority over me to write about a particular subject or question. I am in this important sense a free laborer.

I also get paid for some of my writing. I write books that are sold commercially. Three (and I hope soon all) of my books are also available freely in electronic form. I have been commissioned to write articles for magazines. But in all cases, while I may contract about the subject matter I will address, I never contract about the substance.

I have (though rarely) been paid to consult on matters related to my work. If I have, I conform my behavior to the NC Principle articulated below.

I am sometimes paid to speak. If I am, I will contract as to subject matter (e.g., whether the speech is about innovation, or copyright, or privacy, etc.). I do not contract as to substance. In addition to an honorarium, I also accept payment to cover travel expenses.

I am not compensated for my work with nonprofits.

Tech

I am a paying customer of Movable Type. Marc Perkel gives me a great hosting deal. If ever anyone sends me a product to review, I am resolved not to write about it.

Business Attachments

I have no regular clients. I am on board of a number of non-profits, including EFF, FSF, PLOS, FreePress, PublicKnowledge, and Creative Commons.

I serve on no commercial boards. I don’t take stock-options to serve on boards or advisory boards.

The Non-Corruption (NC) Principle

It is a special privilege that I have a job that permits me to say just what I believe, and not what I’m paid to say. That freedom used to be the norm among professionals. It is less and less the norm today. Lawyers at one time had a professional ethic that permitted them to say what they believe. Now the concept of “business conflicts” — meaning, a conflict with the commercial interests of actual or potential clients — silences many from saying what they believe. Doctors too are hired into jobs where they are not allowed to discuss certain medical procedures (See, e.g., Rust v. Sullivan). Researchers at “think tanks” learn who the funders are as a first step to deciding what questions will be pursued. And finally, and most obviously, the same is true of politicians: The constant need to raise money just to keep their job drives them to develop a sixth sense about what sorts of statements (whether true or not) will cost them fundraising dollars.

With perhaps one exception (politicians), no one forces professionals into this compromise. (The exception is because I don’t see how you survive in politics, as the system is, without this compromise, unless you are insanely rich.) We choose the values we live by ourselves. And as the freedom I have to say what I believe is the most important part of my job to me, I have chosen a set of principles that limit any link between money and the views I express.

I call these principles “non-corruption” principles because I believe that behavior inconsistent with these principles, at least among professionals, is a kind of corruption. Obviously, I don’t mean “corruption” in the crudest sense. Everyone would agree that it is wrong for a global warming scientist to say to Exxon, “if you pay me $50,000, I’ll write an article criticizing global warming.” That is not the sort of “corruption” I am talking about.

I mean instead “corruption” in a more subtle sense. We all understand that subtle sense when we look at politicians. We don’t recognize it enough when we think about lawyers, doctors, scientists, and professors.

I want to increase this recognition, even at the risk of indirectly calling some of my friends “corrupt.” Norms are uncertain here. I hope they change. But until they change, we should not condemn those with differing views. We should engage them. I intend this to be the beginning of that engagement.

So, the NC principle:

The simple version is just this: I don’t shill for anyone.

The more precise version is this: I never recommend as policy a position that I have been paid, either directly or indirectly, to recommend.

The precise version need to be precisely specified, but much can be understood from its motivation: “Corruption” in my view is the subtle pressure to take views or positions because of the financial reward they will bring you. “Subtle” in the sense that one’s often not even aware of the influence. (This is true, I think, of most politicians.) The rule is thus designed to avoid even that subtle force.

So: “I never recommend as policy a position“: This is meant to distinguish work as a lawyer from work as an advocate. I don’t do legal work for money. But everyone understands that when a lawyer speaks for his client, he speaks for his client. The corruption I am targeting is a lawyer or academic speaking not for a client, but presumptively, for the truth. And “recommend” means in any public forum — so an op-ed, testimony, or a lecture.

that I have been paid directly“: This is the easy part of the principle. “Directly” means that I’ve received cash or other such compensation, or that I receive research support, or funding that I otherwise wouldn’t have been entitled to.

or indirectly“: This is a harder line to draw in general. The boundaries for me, however, seem pretty clear. In my view, I would be “indirectly” benefited if an institution I was responsible for got a significant benefit from an easily identified interest.

So, for example, I do no fundraising for my law school. My position, and the Center I run there, depends in no way upon my raising funds for either. Further, the commitment I have from my dean to support the Center is independent of any fundraising. As Dean Sullivan told me when she recruited me, “fundraising is my problem. Yours is to do the work.”

Thus, if you give a substantial amount of money to Stanford, you don’t, in my view, indirectly benefit me — because you have not made my life any different from how it was before you gave that money. (Indeed, given the hassle that usually runs with such gifts, you’ve likely made my life more difficult.)

Creative Commons presents a different question. A substantial contribution to Creative Commons — an entity which, as its CEO, I am responsible for — would, consistent with the NC principle, limit my ability to “recommend as policy a position” that was directly connected to the contributing entity.

So far, beyond the foundation grants CC has received, there have been two such “substantial” contributions to Creative Commons. With neither would I ever “recommend as policy a position” that benefited either — even if I believed, independently, that the position was correct. This doesn’t mean I wouldn’t help such people, or advise them. It simply means I would not publicly say something about their position, after such support was received.

I acknowledge one might well quibble with the “substantial” qualification here. Why not “any” rather than “substantial”? That may be the right position, at least ultimately. But as I view the matter now, the gifts beyond these two are so small as a proportion of CC’s budget that they don’t meaningfully change my work for CC at all.

But isn’t disclosure enough?

Some would say this principle is too strict. That a simpler rule — indeed the rule that governs in most of these contexts — simply requires disclosure.

I don’t agree with the disclosure principle. In my view, it is too weak. The best evidence that it is too weak is the United States Congress. All know, or can know, who gives what to whom. That hasn’t chilled in the least the kind of corruption that I am targeting here. More generally: if everyone plays this kind of corruption game, then disclosure has no effect in stopping the corruption I am targeting. Thus, in my view, it is not enough to say that “Exxon funded this research.” In my view, Exxon should not be directly funding an academic to do research benefiting Exxon in a policy dispute.

(There is a difficult line here that turns upon practice. When I was at Chicago, professors received summer research grants. Those were awarded by the Dean. To make the funders happy, the professor would write “this research was supported by a grant by XXX.” But never was the money given in light of the work, and most of the time, it wasn’t till after you had finished something that you discovered who had “funded” the work. I don’t mean to be targeting this sort of behavior at all. Again, the funding the professor received was independent of the grant by XXX.)

What the NC principle is not

The NC principle is about money. It is not about any other influence. Thus, if you’re nice to me, no doubt, I’ll be nice to you. If you’re respectful, I’ll be respectful back. If you flatter me, I doubt I could resist flattering you in return. If you push causes I believe in, I will likely push your work as well. These forms of influence are not within the scope of the NC principle because none of them involve money. I mean the NC principle only to be about removing the influence of money from the work of a professional. I don’t think there’s any need to adopt a rule to remove these other influences.

Why is money different from flattery, or being a liberal? Good question. Lots of obvious reasons. (For example, think about how hard these other “corruption principles” would be to implement: “I can’t support X because he supports the Democratic party, as I do.” “I can’t testify in favor of Y because its President said something nice about me.” Talk about perverse incentives…)

Someday I hope time will give me the opportunity to say more about why in depth. But for now, I mean only to specify the scope of my principle: It is a principle about isolating one form of influence from the work that I (and I hope my colleagues) do. We (in legal academics, and imho) get paid enough not to have to worry about selling testimony.

Thus, one friend wrote me with disappointment about something I wrote that could be viewed as a favor to someone else. So long as money is not involved, I’m all for this kind of favor. We should be doing favors for people we agree with all the time. Especially people on our side of the debate: we need to become at least as good as the other side in cultivating a community of support.

So what does all this promise?

If you believe I am following my principle, then you can still believe I am biased because I’m a liberal, or wrong because I’m an idiot, or overly attentive because I’m easily flattered, or under-attentive because I punish people who behave badly. All that the NC principle promises is that I am not saying what I am saying because of money.

As applied

I have been living these principles for many years. So my purpose here is not to announce any new policy. You can agree or disagree with the principles. You can believe them too strict, or not strict enough. They are significantly stricter than anything within the academy just now. No doubt, many may believe they are way too strict.

But whether you believe them too strict, or not strict enough, I would encourage you to engage them. Consistent with my NC principle, I will reward kindness and insight with at least kindness. I will ignore people whose argument style stopped developing in high school. But because this is an issue I very much want to continue to work on, the only thing for sure is I won’t accept money to consult around it. (And of course, there are millions throwing hundreds of millions at me to do this, so this is a REAL sacrifice.)

Finally, and again, I don’t offer this as a tool to condemn. I offer it because I believe this is a conversation we all should have.

]]>
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sometime http://www.lessig.org/2007/01/sometime/ http://www.lessig.org/2007/01/sometime/#comments Thu, 18 Jan 2007 03:27:26 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2007/01/sometime.html boy2.jpg
Teo Elias Neuefeind Lessig
Or so say his parents. His brother insists his name is "Appletree Alex."]]>
boy2.jpg

Teo Elias Neuefeind Lessig

Or so say his parents.
His brother insists his name is “Appletree Alex.”

]]>
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more sometime but http://www.lessig.org/2007/01/more-sometime-but/ http://www.lessig.org/2007/01/more-sometime-but/#comments Tue, 16 Jan 2007 09:25:41 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2007/01/more_sometime_but.html Willem got a brother yesterday. Mother is amazing. Father is amazed.

]]>
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Code v2 launches http://www.lessig.org/2006/12/code-v2-launches/ http://www.lessig.org/2006/12/code-v2-launches/#comments Mon, 11 Dec 2006 06:00:00 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/12/code_v2_launches.html
codev2.gif codev2.gif codev2.gif codev2.gif codev2.gif
So Code v2 is officially launched today. Some may remember Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace, published in 1999. Code v2 is a revision to that book -- not so much a new book, as a translation of (in Internet time) a very old book. Part of the update was done on a Wiki. The Wiki was governed by a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license. So too is Code v2. Thus, at http://codev2.cc, you can download the book. Soon, you can update it further (we're still moving it into a new wiki). You can also learn a bit more about the history of the book, and aim of the revision. And finally, there are links to buy the book -- more cheaply than you likely can print it yourself. Most important, however, as we come to the $185,000 mark of the CC fundraiser: All royalties from Code v2 go to Creative Commons, in recognition of the work done by those who helped with the wiki version of Code v1.]]>
codev2.gif codev2.gif codev2.gif codev2.gif codev2.gif

So Code v2 is officially launched today. Some may remember Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace, published in 1999. Code v2 is a revision to that book — not so much a new book, as a translation of (in Internet time) a very old book. Part of the update was done on a Wiki. The Wiki was governed by a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license. So too is Code v2.

Thus, at http://codev2.cc, you can download the book. Soon, you can update it further (we’re still moving it into a new wiki). You can also learn a bit more about the history of the book, and aim of the revision. And finally, there are links to buy the book — more cheaply than you likely can print it yourself.

Most important, however, as we come to the $185,000 mark of the CC fundraiser: All royalties from Code v2 go to Creative Commons, in recognition of the work done by those who helped with the wiki version of Code v1.

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page down http://www.lessig.org/2006/10/page-down/ http://www.lessig.org/2006/10/page-down/#comments Tue, 24 Oct 2006 17:07:39 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/10/page_down.html I’m sorry I lost the blog for about 12 hours.

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removing blocks http://www.lessig.org/2006/10/removing-blocks/ http://www.lessig.org/2006/10/removing-blocks/#comments Tue, 24 Oct 2006 04:00:13 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/10/removing_blocks.html Gore's movie about how he thinks about the process of making presentations. Each time, he says, he goes through the presentation "removing blocks" -- trying to understand where people aren't understanding what he's saying, and changing it so there is understanding. Sometimes it's not possible, of course -- sometimes there's just disagreement. But sometime disagreement is just misunderstanding. As I read some of the responses to my post about Web 2.0, I'm beginning to have a Gore moment. I used the word "ethics"; that word is creating a block. Many read that word (reasonably, of course) to suggest I'm trying to impose a moral code on the the Web; distinguish good from bad, right from wrong; a kind of PCism for PCs. That's a totally reasonably way to read what I wrote. It's not, however, the point of the post. I don't have a moral code to impose on the Web. I was instead describing the elements, as I see them, of a successful Web 2.0 business. My argument is not "do X because it is good"; my post was "do X to keep and spread the success you've had." My claim is not that walled gardens never prosper (see, e.g., AOL). It is that walled gardens wither (see, e.g., AOL), at least in the environment of Web 2.0. It was clumsy to try to frame that point as a point about ethics. I realize in reading the responses, I hang the normative within "morals"; ethics, in my (private?) language, is about how we (differing depending upon the group) behave. So in that sense, it was how Web 2.0 companies behave, not because god told them to (remember: amoral), but because they believe this is how best to behave. But there's another set of responses I don't think there's a simple way to answer. There's a certain mindset out there that thinks the way the world was cut up in college is the way the world is. So whatever set of texts you read as a sophomore, somehow they define the nature of world forever. Seared in your brain is the excitement of figuring out the difference between Capitalism and Marxism, or communitarianism vs. libertarianism. And so significant was this moment of education that everything else in life must be ordered according to these sophomore frames. I don't know the best way to respond to this sort of soul. Obama apparently addresses it in the context of politics, when he comments that the last 3 presidential elections have all been framed in terms of the debates of the 1960s (Vietnam, the sexual revolution, etc.), and the best response to this framing is just to move on. That's what I wish would happen here. Put your college philosophy books away, and start reading research about what's happening now. Understand it first, then craft the label. Because when you understand what, say, von Hippel is writing about, it has absolutely nothing to do with communism/communalism/communitarianism/commuwhatever-you-want. It's all about how business prosper in a new technological environment. There's a good argument (indeed, great books) skeptical about whether there is a new technological environment. Fair enough. But there are also businesses "democratizing innovation" (free PDF here) not because they're a bunch of communapinkos, and not because they miss the Cultural Revolution.]]> There’s a great line in Gore’s movie about how he thinks about the process of making presentations. Each time, he says, he goes through the presentation “removing blocks” — trying to understand where people aren’t understanding what he’s saying, and changing it so there is understanding. Sometimes it’s not possible, of course — sometimes there’s just disagreement. But sometime disagreement is just misunderstanding.

As I read some of the responses to my post about Web 2.0, I’m beginning to have a Gore moment. I used the word “ethics”; that word is creating a block. Many read that word (reasonably, of course) to suggest I’m trying to impose a moral code on the the Web; distinguish good from bad, right from wrong; a kind of PCism for PCs.

That’s a totally reasonably way to read what I wrote. It’s not, however, the point of the post. I don’t have a moral code to impose on the Web. I was instead describing the elements, as I see them, of a successful Web 2.0 business. My argument is not “do X because it is good”; my post was “do X to keep and spread the success you’ve had.” My claim is not that walled gardens never prosper (see, e.g., AOL). It is that walled gardens wither (see, e.g., AOL), at least in the environment of Web 2.0.

It was clumsy to try to frame that point as a point about ethics. I realize in reading the responses, I hang the normative within “morals”; ethics, in my (private?) language, is about how we (differing depending upon the group) behave. So in that sense, it was how Web 2.0 companies behave, not because god told them to (remember: amoral), but because they believe this is how best to behave.

But there’s another set of responses I don’t think there’s a simple way to answer. There’s a certain mindset out there that thinks the way the world was cut up in college is the way the world is. So whatever set of texts you read as a sophomore, somehow they define the nature of world forever. Seared in your brain is the excitement of figuring out the difference between Capitalism and Marxism, or communitarianism vs. libertarianism. And so significant was this moment of education that everything else in life must be ordered according to these sophomore frames.

I don’t know the best way to respond to this sort of soul. Obama apparently addresses it in the context of politics, when he comments that the last 3 presidential elections have all been framed in terms of the debates of the 1960s (Vietnam, the sexual revolution, etc.), and the best response to this framing is just to move on.

That’s what I wish would happen here. Put your college philosophy books away, and start reading research about what’s happening now. Understand it first, then craft the label. Because when you understand what, say, von Hippel is writing about, it has absolutely nothing to do with communism/communalism/communitarianism/commuwhatever-you-want. It’s all about how business prosper in a new technological environment. There’s a good argument (indeed, great books) skeptical about whether there is a new technological environment. Fair enough. But there are also businesses “democratizing innovation” (free PDF here) not because they’re a bunch of communapinkos, and not because they miss the Cultural Revolution.

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Early mornings in Berlin http://www.lessig.org/2006/09/early-mornings-in-berlin/ http://www.lessig.org/2006/09/early-mornings-in-berlin/#comments Sat, 09 Sep 2006 01:42:07 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/09/early_mornings_in_berlin.html American Academy in Berlin where I'll be spending the year writing and hiding (mainly). (More on the hiding part later). My 3 year old (as of Thursday!) seems not to have as flexible an internal clock as his dad. This is the first morning he's slept past 2am. I should have polled for tricks for dealing with this in advance.]]> So my family and I have arrived at the American Academy in Berlin where I’ll be spending the year writing and hiding (mainly). (More on the hiding part later). My 3 year old (as of Thursday!) seems not to have as flexible an internal clock as his dad. This is the first morning he’s slept past 2am. I should have polled for tricks for dealing with this in advance.

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I need help (as if you didn’t know) http://www.lessig.org/2006/08/i-need-help-as-if-you-didnt-kn/ http://www.lessig.org/2006/08/i-need-help-as-if-you-didnt-kn/#comments Wed, 30 Aug 2006 20:54:58 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/08/i_need_help_as_if_you_didnt_kn.html email Lauren Gelman at the Stanford CIS. There's some money to support this, but not much.]]> So I’m leaving for Berlin for the year Monday. I am on sabbatical, and need to write tons of stuff. I will be changing significantly how I connect (project: privatizing lessig), but one thing I really need to do is to find a web master. I want to do much more in this space, but this space needs some significant reworking. If you’re interested and able, please email Lauren Gelman at the Stanford CIS. There’s some money to support this, but not much.

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Off the grid http://www.lessig.org/2006/07/off-the-grid/ http://www.lessig.org/2006/07/off-the-grid/#comments Tue, 04 Jul 2006 00:47:32 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/07/off_the_grid.html Since my kid was born, we’ve tried to have a month alone off the grid. That starts this year in 6 hours. I have not asked anyone to guest blog while I’m gone, so this space will be quiet. There are a couple times when I might make a surprise return (they’re all preprogrammed). But my apologies for the silence otherwise. This year has been an especially burdensome year. We really need this time alone.

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The Anti-Lessig Reader Wiki http://www.lessig.org/2006/01/the-antilessig-reader-wiki/ http://www.lessig.org/2006/01/the-antilessig-reader-wiki/#comments Fri, 20 Jan 2006 15:23:54 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/01/the_antilessig_reader_wiki.html here.]]> I’ve created a wiki for work critical of my own work. The aim is to build a text that would complement my own work. I’d be grateful for any help people could provide. Think of the entries as essentially “But see” c/sites.

The wiki is here.

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a year later http://www.lessig.org/2005/12/a-year-later/ http://www.lessig.org/2005/12/a-year-later/#comments Mon, 05 Dec 2005 21:15:48 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2005/12/a_year_later.html Hardwicke. John Hardwicke continues to work extremely hard to get New Jersey to protect its children. He's asked people to write the New Jersey legislature to get them to consider one important bit of progress, Assembly Bill 2512. E-mail the General Assembly]]> So it has been more than a year since the argument in Hardwicke. John Hardwicke continues to work extremely hard to get New Jersey to protect its children. He’s asked people to write the New Jersey legislature to get them to consider one important bit of progress, Assembly Bill 2512.

E-mail the General Assembly

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residual ghosts http://www.lessig.org/2005/11/residual-ghosts/ http://www.lessig.org/2005/11/residual-ghosts/#comments Sun, 06 Nov 2005 22:38:49 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2005/11/residual_ghosts.html Living with Ghosts). The matter has now returned to the blogosphere with a sympathetic writer. The answer is no. Though we argued the case almost a year ago (11/29), there's no word from the Court. I am very surprised at the delay -- indeed, a bit worried the delay is in part because of the New York Magazine article. I feel so stupid that I didn't get a commitment from them not to publish the article before the case was decided. When they told me when they expected it would run, it was months beyond the normal time it take the NJ Supreme Court to decide cases. Anyway, bottom line -- no word yet. I've gotten a bunch of emails recently from people asking whether the NJ Supreme Court has ruled in the Boychoir case. (See Living with Ghosts). The matter has now returned to the blogosphere in an extensive piece by a sympathetic writer. The answer is no. Though we argued the case almost a year ago (11/29), there's no word from the Court. I am very surprised at the delay -- indeed, a bit worried the delay is in part because of the New York Magazine article. I feel so stupid that I didn't get a commitment from them not to publish the article before the case was decided. When they told me when they expected it would run, it was months beyond the normal time it take the NJ Supreme Court to decide cases. Anyway, bottom line -- no word yet.]]> I’ve gotten a bunch of emails recently from people asking whether the NJ Supreme Court has ruled in the Boychoir case. (See Living with Ghosts). The matter has now returned to the blogosphere in an extensive piece by a sympathetic writer.

The answer is no. Though we argued the case almost a year ago (11/29), there’s no word from the Court. I am very surprised at the delay — indeed, a bit worried the delay is in part because of the New York Magazine article. I feel so stupid that I didn’t get a commitment from them not to publish the article before the case was decided. When they told me when they expected it would run, it was months beyond the normal time it take the NJ Supreme Court to decide cases. Anyway, bottom line — no word yet.

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after long silence http://www.lessig.org/2005/09/after-long-silence-1/ http://www.lessig.org/2005/09/after-long-silence-1/#comments Tue, 06 Sep 2005 12:43:52 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2005/09/after_long_silence_1.html So the year resumes. Thanks to the guest bloggers — Cass Sunstein, the Free Culture Movement, Jimmy Wales, and Hilary Rosen. And thanks to all who’ve written worried about my silence, or asking for my return. I hadn’t realized how long it would take to dig out from my time away. I’m almost there.

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