Lessig » heroes 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 my vote for a webby: opensecrets.org http://www.lessig.org/2009/04/my-vote-for-a-webby-opensecret/ http://www.lessig.org/2009/04/my-vote-for-a-webby-opensecret/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2009 18:14:15 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2009/04/my_vote_for_a_webby_opensecret.html
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The amazing folks at the Center for Responsive Politics' opensecrets.org have released (under a Creative Commons license) 200 million records to help the world understand how influence in Washington works. This is enormously good news. Even better is that today they were nominated for a Webby. Here's where you can vote to thank them in the best possible way. ]]>
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The amazing folks at the Center for Responsive Politicsopensecrets.org have released (under a Creative Commons license) 200 million records to help the world understand how influence in Washington works. This is enormously good news.

Even better is that today they were nominated for a Webby. Here’s where you can vote to thank them in the best possible way.

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The coolest and hardest job in DC: Kagan as SG http://www.lessig.org/2009/01/the-coolest-and-hardest-job-in/ http://www.lessig.org/2009/01/the-coolest-and-hardest-job-in/#comments Tue, 06 Jan 2009 19:46:40 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2009/01/the_coolest_and_hardest_job_in.html Now that she won’t be my Dean, I am free to say the following. And I am inspired to say the following by my sense that there’s a misperception among some about exactly why Elena Kagan’s appointment is so important.

Everyone knows the Solicitor General is the government’s path to the Supreme Court. But some write as if the job is about arguing in the Supreme Court. That’s a mistake. No doubt, that’s a part, though historically the SG has argued a small percentage of the cases (sometimes as low as 1 or 2 a term).

Much more important is the policymaking function of the office. The SG must decide on the strategy for interacting with the Supreme Court. He or she must decide which issues to push, which to hold back, how to frame the issues, and how best to maintain the (deserved) reputation of the office as a principled expositor of the (administration’s view of the) law.

Having known Elena since I began teaching (she and I started together at Chicago), I can say that I can’t imagine a better choice for this job. Granted, she is not an oral advocate — though again, that’s not the job, and having seen her teach (always at the very top at Harvard and Chicago), I have no doubt she’ll be superb as an oral advocate.

But she knows the administration cold (after years in the Clinton administration, and many more years studying and teaching administrative law), and, more importantly (and extremely rare for an academic), she has an extraordinary ability to productively engage disagreement. That’s the real success from her time at Harvard (I used to think it was impossible to be loved as Dean of Harvard; Elena is loved by everyone). She is a straight talking, brilliant strategist and strong negotiator, who holds herself to insanely high standards. People see that and respect that — one bit to the key of her success.

As one reflects upon the fact that the most entrenched disagreements the Obama administration will face over the next 8 years will be with a conservative Court that doesn’t need to be reelected, it is quickly apparent that the role of the SG is going to be critical. On a list of many (if not all) fantastic appointments by Obama, this one is brilliant. Everyone is saying as much, but few, I think, recognize just how brilliant this is.

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my brilliant congresswoman http://www.lessig.org/2008/06/my-brilliant-congresswoman/ http://www.lessig.org/2008/06/my-brilliant-congresswoman/#comments Thu, 26 Jun 2008 02:48:34 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2008/06/my_brilliant_congresswoman.html Jackie Speier, do her work. The first was her strong opposition to local moth spraying. "[T]he USDA has the wrong approach," said Speier. "It's spray and ask questions later, and we can't allow them to do that." Exactly right. Then she voted against the FISA compromise. (You know my view about that.) And now she's joined with a GOP-hero of mine, Jeff Flake (R-AZ), to fight earmarks. Speier: "The biggest surprise since I’ve been here have been earmarks,” Speier said. “I didn’t realize how insidious it was and how deep it ran and how accepting so many people are of it.” Bravo, Congresswoman. ]]> So it has been a fantastic week watching my new member of Congress, Jackie Speier, do her work. The first was her strong opposition to local moth spraying. “[T]he USDA has the wrong approach,” said Speier. “It’s spray and ask questions later, and we can’t allow them to do that.” Exactly right.

Then she voted against the FISA compromise. (You know my view about that.)

And now she’s joined with a GOP-hero of mine, Jeff Flake (R-AZ), to fight earmarks. Speier: “The biggest surprise since I’ve been here have been earmarks,” Speier said. “I didn’t realize how insidious it was and how deep it ran and how accepting so many people are of it.”

Bravo, Congresswoman.

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Building the Legal Commons http://www.lessig.org/2007/11/building-the-legal-commons/ http://www.lessig.org/2007/11/building-the-legal-commons/#comments Wed, 14 Nov 2007 22:18:16 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2007/11/building_the_legal_commons.html announced on the public.resource.org site, he has negotiated a deal to buy a chunk of federal case reports and make them available totally freely -- expressly public domain (using a new CC tool we're releasing in December that makes it clear that there are no rights -- copyright, moral, publicity, etc. -- attached to content). This is a brilliant step to a properly accessible public domain. Bravo to Carl!]]> Free resources hero Carl Malamud is responsible for another coup: As announced on the public.resource.org site, he has negotiated a deal to buy a chunk of federal case reports and make them available totally freely — expressly public domain (using a new CC tool we’re releasing in December that makes it clear that there are no rights — copyright, moral, publicity, etc. — attached to content). This is a brilliant step to a properly accessible public domain. Bravo to Carl!

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Miro: An important new world http://www.lessig.org/2007/11/miro-an-important-new-world/ http://www.lessig.org/2007/11/miro-an-important-new-world/#comments Wed, 14 Nov 2007 06:08:31 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2007/11/miro_an_important_new_world.html video player An important advance in the life of the network happened today. Miro 1.0 was released. Think about the history of computing technology -- from the bottom of the stack up, the movement has been from proprietary to free. The hardware became a commodity, then the OS, then many apps. Miro represents the commodifying the content protocol layer. "It's a platform that benefits everyone by keeping online video open," the website promises. Here's my promise: it signals the movement of those seeking proprietary profits further up the stack. That's always a thing for innovation and growth. ]]>
title="Get Miro - The Free Open-Source Video Platform."> src="http://www.getmiro.com/img/buttons/miro-button-grey-178X54.png"
alt="video player">

An important advance in the life of the network happened today. Miro 1.0 was released. Think about the history of computing technology — from the bottom of the stack up, the movement has been from proprietary to free. The hardware became a commodity, then the OS, then many apps. Miro represents the commodifying the content protocol layer. “It’s a platform that benefits everyone by keeping online video open,” the website promises. Here’s my promise: it signals the movement of those seeking proprietary profits further up the stack. That’s always a thing for innovation and growth.

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The Terror Presidency: Hard questions for all of us http://www.lessig.org/2007/11/the-terror-presidency-hard-que/ http://www.lessig.org/2007/11/the-terror-presidency-hard-que/#comments Mon, 12 Nov 2007 21:19:41 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2007/11/the_terror_presidency_hard_que.html 51JcTnuG8QL._SS500_.jpg Jack Goldsmith is a friend from law school. We clerked together at the Supreme Court. We have remained friends since. When he went to the Justice Department to head the Office of Legal Counsel (read: the coolest possible job in the world of public lawyers), many of us were anxious. The kind of legal storm that was/is the Bush Administration is not a place one wishes on friends. The Terror Presidency is the story of Jack's time at OLC. It is a book that makes me very proud -- of the ideals of my profession, and of my friend. You've no doubt heard the sexy bits -- orchestrating the reversal of OLC on the torture memos, the scene at the hospital with Ashcroft, etc. Those alone make the book worth the read. Indeed, the new attorney general said he "couldn't put it down." But the two parts that grabbed me were these: (1) The hardest part of this story for those of us who believe in executive oversight (and believe that the Constitution means what it says in Article I, Section 8, Clause 18) is the extraordinary account of the costs of legalizing (as in subjecting to law) much of the work of the CIA and Defense Department. Long after this administration is gone, careful souls will need to understand how to overcome the debilitating costs of this sort of legal uncertainty. The simple answers (repeal the law; expand the regulation) are too simple. But Jack's account interestingly flipped my understanding of the struggle inside the administration. It is hard not to see that the problem was often not a lack of law, or respect for the law, but an over-abundance of law. (We) Liberals, happy to have clear and plain speaking from an inside-conservative, should not be so quick to overlook this critical point of the book. (2) There is something unavoidably fantastic about watching up close law have its independent effect. Most go into this profession believing in its integrity. Many find it too hard too often to see or feel that integrity. This is a book about that integrity. As anyone close to this subject knows, it is always possible to bend the law to some political end. It takes a kind of courage, or at least, self-respect, to resist that bending. Jack's story here is compelling, not only because he doesn't attribute the bending to illicit motives, but also because it makes clear just how hard it is to feel the ground on which one needs, always, to stand. If our students understood only a fraction of this, it would make enormous difference. I am proud of this friend. ]]>
51JcTnuG8QL._SS500_.jpg

Jack Goldsmith is a friend from law school. We clerked together at the Supreme Court. We have remained friends since. When he went to the Justice Department to head the Office of Legal Counsel (read: the coolest possible job in the world of public lawyers), many of us were anxious. The kind of legal storm that was/is the Bush Administration is not a place one wishes on friends.

The Terror Presidency is the story of Jack’s time at OLC. It is a book that makes me very proud — of the ideals of my profession, and of my friend. You’ve no doubt heard the sexy bits — orchestrating the reversal of OLC on the torture memos, the scene at the hospital with Ashcroft, etc. Those alone make the book worth the read. Indeed, the new attorney general said he “couldn’t put it down.”

But the two parts that grabbed me were these:

(1) The hardest part of this story for those of us who believe in executive oversight (and believe that the Constitution means what it says in Article I, Section 8, Clause 18) is the extraordinary account of the costs of legalizing (as in subjecting to law) much of the work of the CIA and Defense Department. Long after this administration is gone, careful souls will need to understand how to overcome the debilitating costs of this sort of legal uncertainty. The simple answers (repeal the law; expand the regulation) are too simple. But Jack’s account interestingly flipped my understanding of the struggle inside the administration. It is hard not to see that the problem was often not a lack of law, or respect for the law, but an over-abundance of law. (We) Liberals, happy to have clear and plain speaking from an inside-conservative, should not be so quick to overlook this critical point of the book.

(2) There is something unavoidably fantastic about watching up close law have its independent effect. Most go into this profession believing in its integrity. Many find it too hard too often to see or feel that integrity. This is a book about that integrity. As anyone close to this subject knows, it is always possible to bend the law to some political end. It takes a kind of courage, or at least, self-respect, to resist that bending. Jack’s story here is compelling, not only because he doesn’t attribute the bending to illicit motives, but also because it makes clear just how hard it is to feel the ground on which one needs, always, to stand. If our students understood only a fraction of this, it would make enormous difference.

I am proud of this friend.

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Cory explains CC http://www.lessig.org/2007/11/cory-explains-cc/ http://www.lessig.org/2007/11/cory-explains-cc/#comments Fri, 09 Nov 2007 19:35:34 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2007/11/cory_explains_cc.html a great feature in Locus explaining how CC works. ]]> Cory Doctorow has a great feature in Locus explaining how CC works.

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Carl on (Re)Defining the Public Domain http://www.lessig.org/2007/10/carl-on-redefining-the-public/ http://www.lessig.org/2007/10/carl-on-redefining-the-public/#comments Tue, 23 Oct 2007 22:30:02 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2007/10/carl_on_redefining_the_public.html ]]>

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Why I like the ABA http://www.lessig.org/2007/09/why-i-like-the-aba/ http://www.lessig.org/2007/09/why-i-like-the-aba/#comments Fri, 21 Sep 2007 20:54:44 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2007/09/why_i_like_the_aba.html fantastic talk by the new ABA President, William Neukom. I've had my disagreements with Mr. Neukom in the past. But there's nothing in this talk that I disagree with, and there's everything to praise. Watch especially the Q&A. And especially especially the answer about access to the legal system by the poor. ]]> The single most important lesson I learned when studying the pathologies of communist nations (my life, 1980-1994) was just how critical NGOs (non-governmental organizations) were: Strong, independent sources of moral authority that could check and criticize powerful governments. I know few see lawyers in that role anymore. I’m not one of that few. In my view, lawyers have a critical role in protecting the rule of law — not just technically, but ethically, and culturally. It is our job to remind a nation of the ideals that underly a rule of law state.

It was with great pride then that I watched this fantastic talk by the new ABA President, William Neukom. I’ve had my disagreements with Mr. Neukom in the past. But there’s nothing in this talk that I disagree with, and there’s everything to praise. Watch especially the Q&A. And especially especially the answer about access to the legal system by the poor.

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A big victory: Golan v. Gonzales http://www.lessig.org/2007/09/a-big-victory-golan-v-gonzales/ http://www.lessig.org/2007/09/a-big-victory-golan-v-gonzales/#comments Wed, 05 Sep 2007 09:05:05 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2007/09/a_big_victory_golan_v_gonzales.html Golan v. Gonzales today. In a unanimous vote, the Court held that the "traditional contours of copyright protection" described in Eldred as the trigger for First Amendment review extend beyond the two "traditional First Amendment safeguards" mentioned by the Court in that case. It thus remanded the case to the District Court to evaluate section 514 of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (“URAA”) under the First Amendment, which removed material from the public domain. This is a very big victory. The government had argued in this case, and in related cases, that the only First Amendment review of a copyright act possible was if Congress changed either fair use or erased the idea/expression dichotomy. We, by contrast, have argued consistently that in addition to those two, Eldred requires First Amendment review when Congress changes the "traditional contours of copyright protection." In Golan, the issue is a statute that removes work from the public domain. In a related case now on cert to the Supreme Court, Kahle v. Gonzales, the issue is Congress's change from an opt-in system of copyright to an opt-out system of copyright. That too, we have argued, is a change in a "traditional contour of copyright protection." Under the 10th Circuit's rule, it should merit 1st Amendment review as well. I suspect this decision will weigh heavily in the Supreme Court's determination whether to grant review in the Kahle case. It also nicely demonstrates the wisdom in this part of the Eldred decision (don't get me started on the Progress Clause part of the decision...) The rule of Eldred, as interpreted by the 10th Circuit (and by us) is that Congress gets a presumption of First Amendment constitutionality when it legislates consistent with its tradition. But when it changes that tradition, its changes must be scrutinized under the First Amendment. This is an interesting constitutional argument -- echoing some of Justice Scalia's jurisprudence, as we argue in the cert petition. And it also makes a great deal of sense: practices unchanged for 200 years are less likely to raise First Amendment problems (but see ...); but whether or not immunity is justified for them, it is certainly not justified for practices that deviate from Congress' tradition. The opinion by Judge Henry is well worth the read. The argument was one the best I have seen. All three judges knew the case cold. It is a measure of how good courts can be that they took such care to review this case. Thanks to everyone on our team that made this possible. First the clients -- Lawrence Golan, the Richard Kapp Estate, S.A. Publishing, Symphony of the Canyons, Ron Hall and John McDonough (all of whom use and build upon material in the public domain; all of whom were negatively affected by Congress's removal of material from the public domain). But also and especially to the gaggle of fantastic lawyers who supported us in the case -- the Denver firm of Wheeler, Trigg, Kennedy, and Stanford CIS lawyers Chris Sprigman, Ed Lee, Jennifer Granick, David Olson, David Levine, Colette Vogel, Elizabeth Rader and Lauren Gelman (Tony Falzone came on afterwards). ]]> The 10th Circuit decided our appeal in Golan v. Gonzales today. In a unanimous vote, the Court held that the “traditional contours of copyright protection” described in Eldred as the trigger for First Amendment review extend beyond the two “traditional First Amendment safeguards” mentioned by the Court in that case. It thus remanded the case to the District Court to evaluate section 514 of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act (“URAA”) under the First Amendment, which removed material from the public domain.

This is a very big victory. The government had argued in this case, and in related cases, that the only First Amendment review of a copyright act possible was if Congress changed either fair use or erased the idea/expression dichotomy. We, by contrast, have argued consistently that in addition to those two, Eldred requires First Amendment review when Congress changes the “traditional contours of copyright protection.” In Golan, the issue is a statute that removes work from the public domain. In a related case now on cert to the Supreme Court, Kahle v. Gonzales, the issue is Congress’s change from an opt-in system of copyright to an opt-out system of copyright. That too, we have argued, is a change in a “traditional contour of copyright protection.” Under the 10th Circuit’s rule, it should merit 1st Amendment review as well.

I suspect this decision will weigh heavily in the Supreme Court’s determination whether to grant review in the Kahle case. It also nicely demonstrates the wisdom in this part of the Eldred decision (don’t get me started on the Progress Clause part of the decision…) The rule of Eldred, as interpreted by the 10th Circuit (and by us) is that Congress gets a presumption of First Amendment constitutionality when it legislates consistent with its tradition. But when it changes that tradition, its changes must be scrutinized under the First Amendment. This is an interesting constitutional argument — echoing some of Justice Scalia’s jurisprudence, as we argue in the cert petition. And it also makes a great deal of sense: practices unchanged for 200 years are less likely to raise First Amendment problems (but see …); but whether or not immunity is justified for them, it is certainly not justified for practices that deviate from Congress’ tradition.

The opinion by Judge Henry is well worth the read. The argument was one the best I have seen. All three judges knew the case cold. It is a measure of how good courts can be that they took such care to review this case.

Thanks to everyone on our team that made this possible. First the clients — Lawrence Golan, the Richard Kapp Estate, S.A. Publishing, Symphony of the Canyons, Ron Hall and John McDonough (all of whom use and build upon material in the public domain; all of whom were negatively affected by Congress’s removal of material from the public domain). But also and especially to the gaggle of fantastic lawyers who supported us in the case — the Denver firm of Wheeler, Trigg, Kennedy, and Stanford CIS lawyers Chris Sprigman, Ed Lee, Jennifer Granick, David Olson, David Levine, Colette Vogel, Elizabeth Rader and Lauren Gelman (Tony Falzone came on afterwards).

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“only if the word ‘no-brainer’ appears in it somewhere”: RIP Milton Friedman http://www.lessig.org/2006/11/only-if-the-word-nobrainer-app/ http://www.lessig.org/2006/11/only-if-the-word-nobrainer-app/#comments Sun, 19 Nov 2006 06:41:24 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/11/only_if_the_word_nobrainer_app.html Economists' Brief": As it was reported to me, when asked, he responded: "Only if the world 'no brainer' appears in it somewhere." A reasonable man, he signed even though we couldn't fit that word in. His integrity to principle will be missed.]]> Milton Friedman was a hero of mine when I was growing up. I devoured his (non-technical) work as a teen, and watched his “Free to Choose” every time I could (the days before Tivo).

No doubt the highpoint of the Eldred v. Ashcroft case was when I learned Friedman would sign our “Economists’ Brief“: As it was reported to me, when asked, he responded: “Only if the world ‘no brainer’ appears in it somewhere.” A reasonable man, he signed even though we couldn’t fit that word in.

His integrity to principle will be missed.

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the one thing PFF and I agree on for sure http://www.lessig.org/2006/08/the-one-thing-pff-and-i-agree/ http://www.lessig.org/2006/08/the-one-thing-pff-and-i-agree/#comments Tue, 08 Aug 2006 12:31:55 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/08/the_one_thing_pff_and_i_agree.html of PFF. There are (unfortunately) too few things I and PFF agree about. But we agree about Ray. He is a man of extraordinary integrity and insight. It is sad to see him go (but for the best of all possible reasons).]]> Ray Gifford has announced he is stepping down from being President of PFF. There are (unfortunately) too few things I and PFF agree about. But we agree about Ray. He is a man of extraordinary integrity and insight. It is sad to see him go (but for the best of all possible reasons).

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Town Hall http://www.lessig.org/2006/05/town-hall/ http://www.lessig.org/2006/05/town-hall/#comments Tue, 23 May 2006 22:17:19 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/05/town_hall.html townhall.jpg Wired is holding a town hall discussion at Town Hall, New York, with Al Gore, James Hansen, Laurie David, and Lawrence Bender, moderated by John Hockenberry, Thursday, May 25, from 8-10pm. You can get tickets here.]]>
townhall.jpg

Wired is holding a town hall discussion at Town Hall, New York, with Al Gore, James Hansen, Laurie David, and Lawrence Bender, moderated by John Hockenberry, Thursday, May 25, from 8-10pm.

You can get tickets here.

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the work of John Hardwicke http://www.lessig.org/2005/12/the-work-of-john-hardwicke/ http://www.lessig.org/2005/12/the-work-of-john-hardwicke/#comments Wed, 14 Dec 2005 22:45:37 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2005/12/the_work_of_john_hardwicke.html law to remove any immunity for negligence in hiring in any case involving sex abuse. Essentially the same bill had been passed by the New Jersey Senate last year. The bill goes to a committee to resolve the small differences. It is expected the Senate will vote tomorrow to concur in the Assembly's action. The bill will then go to Acting Governor Codey for his signature. It is expected he will sign the bill before Christmas. The Trenton Times has an editorial rightly praising the actions of the Assembly. But my praise goes to the person who, in my view, more than anyone, brought this matter to a decision. John Hardwicke is the plaintiff in the case I argued (and which remains pending). But beyond his own case, he has devoted everything in the last few years of his life to getting the law fixed. Movements for justice require this sort of person. Change never happens without them. This change would not have happened, in my view, had John not done everything he did. There are countless children who will never know to thank this man. Thankfully. But here's one father who does. Update: The Senate has passed the bill, 39-1. It now goes to the Acting Governor.]]> The New Jersey Assembly has voted 63-5 to enact a law to remove any immunity for negligence in hiring in any case involving sex abuse. Essentially the same bill had been passed by the New Jersey Senate last year. The bill goes to a committee to resolve the small differences. It is expected the Senate will vote tomorrow to concur in the Assembly’s action. The bill will then go to Acting Governor Codey for his signature. It is expected he will sign the bill before Christmas.

The Trenton Times has an editorial rightly praising the actions of the Assembly. But my praise goes to the person who, in my view, more than anyone, brought this matter to a decision.

John Hardwicke is the plaintiff in the case I argued (and which remains pending). But beyond his own case, he has devoted everything in the last few years of his life to getting the law fixed. Movements for justice require this sort of person. Change never happens without them. This change would not have happened, in my view, had John not done everything he did.

There are countless children who will never know to thank this man. Thankfully. But here’s one father who does.

Update: The Senate has passed the bill, 39-1. It now goes to the Acting Governor.

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finally, progress http://www.lessig.org/2005/09/finally-progress/ http://www.lessig.org/2005/09/finally-progress/#comments Tue, 27 Sep 2005 15:18:23 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2005/09/finally_progress.html Watch (and copy) the style. Learn tons from the substance. (My pride is tied to the style only).]]> So I spend most of my life reflecting on how little progress I’ve made in the stuff I feel most strongly about.

But now, finally, some progress.

Dick Hardt is brilliant. Watch (and copy) the style. Learn tons from the substance. (My pride is tied to the style only).

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making good http://www.lessig.org/2005/01/making-good/ http://www.lessig.org/2005/01/making-good/#comments Tue, 11 Jan 2005 09:53:50 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2005/01/making_good.html announced the pledge of 500 patents to a "patent commons" for "open source" software development. That means people developing software licensed under a license certified by the Open Source Initiative can be assured that IBM will not assert these 500 patents against them -- at least so long as they don't sue IBM or another open source developer for patent related issues. (Steve Lohr's got a piece in the Times.) This is important news. It further demonstrates IBM's commitment to making free software and open source software development flourish. And it could well inspire others to follow. Ideally there should be a trust that these patents could be contributed into. We'll have to get the commonists to get to work building such a thing.]]> IBM has announced the pledge of 500 patents to a “patent commons” for “open source” software development. That means people developing software licensed under a license certified by the Open Source Initiative can be assured that IBM will not assert these 500 patents against them — at least so long as they don’t sue IBM or another open source developer for patent related issues. (Steve Lohr’s got a piece in the Times.)

This is important news. It further demonstrates IBM’s commitment to making free software and open source software development flourish. And it could well inspire others to follow. Ideally there should be a trust that these patents could be contributed into. We’ll have to get the commonists to get to work building such a thing.

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this the season: I http://www.lessig.org/2004/12/this-the-season-i/ http://www.lessig.org/2004/12/this-the-season-i/#comments Fri, 24 Dec 2004 18:19:45 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2004/12/this_the_season_i.html cc.gifeff.gifpk.gifplos.giffsf.gif
"I'm just a student, so I don't have a lot of money to blow, but I donated $165 to EFF, Public Knowledge, and Creative Commons."
So writes Michael-Forest Meservy in an email, inspiring the following plea: I'm extremely honored to serve on the board of five extraordinary organizations: Creative Commons, EFF, Public Knowledge, Public Library of Science, and the Free Software Foundation. If you can follow a student's lead, I'd be grateful. These are five amazing organizations that need your support. Ask yourself this: How much did I give to the monopolists this year? We'd be happy with 1/10th of that.]]>
cc.gifeff.gifpk.gifplos.giffsf.gif

“I’m just a student, so I don’t have a lot of money to blow, but I donated $165 to EFF, Public Knowledge, and Creative Commons.”

So writes Michael-Forest Meservy in an email, inspiring the following plea:

I’m extremely honored to serve on the board of five extraordinary organizations: Creative Commons, EFF, Public Knowledge, Public Library of Science, and the Free Software Foundation. If you can follow a student’s lead, I’d be grateful. These are five amazing organizations that need your support. Ask yourself this: How much did I give to the monopolists this year? We’d be happy with 1/10th of that.

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Gillmor guts http://www.lessig.org/2004/12/gillmor-guts/ http://www.lessig.org/2004/12/gillmor-guts/#comments Mon, 13 Dec 2004 16:05:30 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2004/12/gillmor_guts.html Dan Gillmor is leaving the SJ Merc to launch a project that continues the best of blogs. Few have the courage to risk so much for this. He has earned praise for the work he has done, and respect for this next step that he is taking.]]> Dan Gillmor is leaving the SJ Merc to launch a project that continues the best of blogs. Few have the courage to risk so much for this. He has earned praise for the work he has done, and respect for this next step that he is taking.

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More good McCain work http://www.lessig.org/2004/11/more-good-mccain-work/ http://www.lessig.org/2004/11/more-good-mccain-work/#comments Thu, 18 Nov 2004 18:14:13 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2004/11/more_good_mccain_work.html hold he had placed on H.R. 4077 because of valid concerns about whether the freedoms it granted (to enable parents to filter "smut" from films) would be read to deny fair use in other cases. The same careful eye has now caught a very elegant trap buried within the Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2004. That bill adds some "Anti-Counterfeiting Provisions" to regulate counterfeit or illicit "labels." Most thought its target was physical labels. But a careful reading revealed a real ambiguity in the statute, suggesting (as the MPAA believed) it regulated both tangible and intangible labels. Why is that a problem? Well if the act makes it an offence to distribute unauthorized copies of labels, then there's a very simple way for content owners to hack around fair use: embed a watermark into the content, and then any clip, even if fair use, would also constitute an unauthorized copy of a label. Thus, DMCA-like, what copyright law gives, this labeling law would take away. Senator McCain is thus floating an amendment, to limit the regulation of "illicit labels" to physical labels only. And he has proposed a savings clause, which states:
Savings Clause.--Nothing in Section 2318 of title 18, United States Code, as amended by this title, shall be construed to restrict defenses or limitations on rights under title 17, United States Code, for a phonorecord, a copy of a computer program, a copy of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, a copy of a literary work, a copy of a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work, or a work of visual art, that a genuine certificate, licensing document, registration card, or similar labeling component is (1) affixed to, enclosing, or accompanying, or (2) designed to be affixed to, enclose, or accompany.
Very nice work by a very careful Senator. The Justice Department had expressed similar concerns about an earlier version in March. But the Senator has now given those concerns real life.]]>
Senator McCain has become an important force for good in the land of IP extremism. I reported a hold he had placed on H.R. 4077 because of valid concerns about whether the freedoms it granted (to enable parents to filter “smut” from films) would be read to deny fair use in other cases.

The same careful eye has now caught a very elegant trap buried within the Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2004.

That bill adds some “Anti-Counterfeiting Provisions” to regulate counterfeit or illicit “labels.” Most thought its target was physical labels. But a careful reading revealed a real ambiguity in the statute, suggesting (as the MPAA believed) it regulated both tangible and intangible labels.

Why is that a problem? Well if the act makes it an offence to distribute unauthorized copies of labels, then there’s a very simple way for content owners to hack around fair use: embed a watermark into the content, and then any clip, even if fair use, would also constitute an unauthorized copy of a label. Thus, DMCA-like, what copyright law gives, this labeling law would take away.

Senator McCain is thus floating an amendment, to limit the regulation of “illicit labels” to physical labels only. And he has proposed a savings clause, which states:

Savings Clause.–Nothing in Section 2318 of title 18, United States Code, as amended by this title, shall be construed to restrict defenses or limitations on rights under title 17, United States Code, for a phonorecord, a copy of a computer program, a copy of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, a copy of a literary work, a copy of a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work, or a work of visual art, that a genuine certificate, licensing document, registration card, or similar labeling component is (1) affixed to, enclosing, or accompanying, or (2) designed to be affixed to, enclose, or accompany.

Very nice work by a very careful Senator. The Justice Department had expressed similar concerns about an earlier version in March. But the Senator has now given those concerns real life.

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from Boston (re the Red Sox) http://www.lessig.org/2004/10/from-boston-re-the-red-sox/ http://www.lessig.org/2004/10/from-boston-re-the-red-sox/#comments Thu, 28 Oct 2004 15:06:36 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2004/10/from_boston_re_the_red_sox.html For those outside New England who can't understand the emotional significance, please indulge me the following tale: Earlier this morning, I went to grab a bagel and coffee at my regular haunt in Framingham, Mass. (western suburb of Boston). As I waited in line, an older man walked up to a woman who was reading The Boston Globe. He asked her if he could see the front page, because all of the newsstands in the area were already sold out. She offered him the entire paper, but he gently said that he just needed to see the cover. She showed it to him and he started to cry. Grown man in the middle of a coffee shop on an October morning. Cynicism has finally taken a holiday.]]> from a description in a financial emal:
For those outside New England who can’t understand the emotional significance, please indulge me the following tale: Earlier this morning, I went to grab a bagel and coffee at my regular haunt in Framingham, Mass. (western suburb of Boston). As I waited in line, an older man walked up to a woman who was reading The Boston Globe. He asked her if he could see the front page, because all of the newsstands in the area were already sold out. She offered him the entire paper, but he gently said that he just needed to see the cover. She showed it to him and he started to cry. Grown man in the middle of a coffee shop on an October morning. Cynicism has finally taken a holiday.

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Stewart: not kidnapped yet http://www.lessig.org/2004/10/stewart-not-kidnapped-yet/ http://www.lessig.org/2004/10/stewart-not-kidnapped-yet/#comments Sat, 16 Oct 2004 13:14:18 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2004/10/stewart_not_kidnapped_yet.html Crossfire. Crooks and Liars points to a stream here. A bittorrent file is here.]]> Jon Stewart, attacking the theater that is Crossfire. Crooks and Liars points to a stream here. A bittorrent file is here.

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Gilmore v. Ashcroft http://www.lessig.org/2004/09/gilmore-v-ashcroft/ http://www.lessig.org/2004/09/gilmore-v-ashcroft/#comments Wed, 15 Sep 2004 11:41:52 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2004/09/gilmore_v_ashcroft.html said no.]]> John Gilmore’s battle to force the government to explain the basis upon which it demands that airlines verify an ID before permitting someone on a plane got a small victory last week. The government had asked to file its brief, defending a rule that is itself secret, in secret. The 9th Circuit said no.

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Barack Obama http://www.lessig.org/2004/07/barack-obama/ http://www.lessig.org/2004/07/barack-obama/#comments Wed, 28 Jul 2004 02:00:27 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2004/07/barack_obama.html barack.jpg If you missed Barack Obama tonight at the Democratic National Convention, you missed one of the greatest speeches of this campaign. Remember. Links to watch, and read.]]>
barack.jpg

If you missed Barack Obama tonight at the Democratic National Convention, you missed one of the greatest speeches of this campaign. Remember. Links to watch, and read.

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where I came from http://www.lessig.org/2004/07/where-i-came-from/ http://www.lessig.org/2004/07/where-i-came-from/#comments Sat, 17 Jul 2004 15:23:58 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2004/07/where_i_came_from.html This story made me homesick. Lewisburg is about 30 miles from where I grew up -- Williamsport. The owner of a theatre there has invited card-carrying Republicans to see Fahrenheit 9/11 for free -- not because he thinks it a great movie ("both a fantastic film and a fantastically flawed film"), but because he thinks it important that people see it. That led the GOP county chairman from a neighboring county to call the owner and congratulate him -- not because he thought the film a great film ("intellectually dishonest as a documentary"), but because he wants to "encourage local Republicans to see the film so they can participate in an informed debate."]]> This story made me homesick. Lewisburg is about 30 miles from where I grew up — Williamsport. The owner of a theatre there has invited card-carrying Republicans to see Fahrenheit 9/11 for free — not because he thinks it a great movie (“both a fantastic film and a fantastically flawed film”), but because he thinks it important that people see it. That led the GOP county chairman from a neighboring county to call the owner and congratulate him — not because he thought the film a great film (“intellectually dishonest as a documentary”), but because he wants to “encourage local Republicans to see the film so they can participate in an informed debate.”

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great lawyers http://www.lessig.org/2003/10/great-lawyers/ http://www.lessig.org/2003/10/great-lawyers/#comments Wed, 15 Oct 2003 03:42:34 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2003/10/great_lawyers.html Center for Internet and Society. She argued the obvious point: it can't be "damage" to tell the truth about some company's software -- however ugly that truth might be. Today the government agreed. In an extraordinary (and extraordinarily rare move) it confessed error. "On futher review," the government wrote, "in light of defendent's arguments on appeal, the government believes it was error to argue that defendant intended an 'impairment' to the integrity of [X's] computer system." The government asked that the conviction be vacated. "In light of defendant's arguments on appeal." Indeed, America: Where defendants sometimes get great lawyers, and where governments let justice admit it is wrong. I am proud, and moved, by both.]]> So imagine this: An employee works for a software company. He discovers a problem with the software, tries to warn the company, but it does nothing. He quits, and then sends email to all the customers of the company, informing them of the security problem with the software. The flood of emails brings the email server down for a bit, but that admittedly does not cause significant damage. Nonetheless, the employee is criminally prosecuted for causing an “impairment to the integrity” of a computer system (by revealing its flaws) which resulted in more than $5,000 in damage (because now it was known to be flawed).

The employee is found guilty. He is sentenced and serves (yes, he actually serves) 16 months in a federal prison.

In America, you ask? Well, in fact, yes — justice in the Central District of California. But it gets better.

On appeal, the employee retains Jennifer Granick, executive director of Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society. She argued the obvious point: it can’t be “damage” to tell the truth about some company’s software — however ugly that truth might be.

Today the government agreed. In an extraordinary (and extraordinarily rare move) it confessed error. “On futher review,” the government wrote, “in light of defendent’s arguments on appeal, the government believes it was error to argue that defendant intended an ‘impairment’ to the integrity of [X's] computer system.” The government asked that the conviction be vacated.

“In light of defendant’s arguments on appeal.”

Indeed, America: Where defendants sometimes get great lawyers, and where governments let justice admit it is wrong.

I am proud, and moved, by both.

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