January 9, 2009  ·  Lessig


Here’s the original segment.

Sam did the first remix of my Colbert appearance.

Jim Vanaria did another.

This is the first video remix I’ve seen.

Here’s a remix from the Eclectic Method Mix.

And the audio to the show is available to be remixed on ccMixter here.

Colbert says (or more accurately, “says”) you can’t remix this. I say please do.

  • Todd

    It was only a matter of time. Not a bad job, either!

  • David

    This is really good and funny!

  • nico

    damn, that was quick!

  • Pat

    First video remix I have seen:

  • Max

    Why don’t you show the post the original clip? It looks like you took quite a bitch slapping!

  • http://russelldad.blogspot.com Paul Russell

    Great job on Colbert! I loved the Change Congress vibe towards the end as well.

    Max, I have to disagree, when Colbert remixed REMIX, Larry’s response was perfect.

    Larry: “Now put that on eBay. Do you thing it’s worth more or less than it is on Amazon right now?”
    Colbert: “Much more!”

    There’s nothing like turning an attempt at an insult on its head to make your point. Well done Larry!

    As always Colbert came on strong, but he was clearly baiting people to remix the interview. And so far the remixes have been very entertaining!

  • http://anthonybailey.net/ Anthony Bailey

    I can’t watch the original interview from here in the UK – Comedy Central does not consider us worthy. Perhaps someone could publish a remix that artistically comments on the theme of the original by being identical to it.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxwvIdr21Uw Remix
  • http://scialdone.blogspot.com Marco

    Really funny :-)

    Larry: “Now put that on eBay. Do you thing it’s worth more or less than it is on Amazon right now?”
    Colbert: “Much more!”

    This is pure talent! :-)

  • ryan

    @Max: yeah Colbert was on fire that night, and unfortunately Larry was no match. At one point Larry looked so lost that Colbert asked him whether he was tired. I’m not convinced that the average viewer walked away with a strong message in favor of Remix culture.

  • http://arunprasannan.com/ Polar

    Anthony Bailey:

    Putting the videoId from colbertnation into TDS’s player works in the UK: http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=215454

    Alternatively, you could use the embed code in a data URL, or a local HTML page.

  • Larry

    I saw the Colbert segment and it seemed to me that Mr. Lessig implied that most of the currently illegal sharing of copyrighted materials (70% of some population are guilty – “our children”, “college students” – I’ve forgotten which) is for purposes of remixing. I doubt that’s true and Lessig didn’t say that was true but that was the implication I took.

    I know the Colbert interview format doesn’t encourage careful argument.

  • http://www.songsinc.com Schuyler Joy

    Here’s a clip for Anthony Bailey before they take it down!


  • http://www.songsinc.com Schuyler Joy

    As a former lifetime major record label executive, I can tell you that some of us also see what Mr. Lessig sees and agree with the premise!

    Some of us built a business based on this premise a couple of years ago and its now booming! While I think people should be able to retain ownership in what they create, there is no reason why they cannot also choose to share it and allow others to take elements of it and create something new….again and again and again.

    Owners can put their own price tag, coming to the realization that the more they share their original, the more accessible you make the price, the more people will choose to try and use it, the more your original is the inspiration for something else new and wonderful you never would have imagined! You still have and own your original!

    Once everyone starts to see that greed and hoarding produce nothing in the end, while sharing and spreading seeds makes unfathomable plenty, there is no limit to the creative ideas and solutions that shall be born.

    Remix, Re-purpose, Re-imagine.

    It’s not about Competition….it’s about Collaboration.

  • http://joeclark.org/weblogs/ Joe Clark

    As neither Lessing nor Colbert is the copyright holder of the recording, nothing they “say” has any bearing on the legality of remixing that recording.

  • http://www.opensourcecinema.org Brett Gaylor

    Can’t imagine them getting much better than this!


  • http://www.opensourcecinema.org Brett Gaylor

    There are also a whole lot coming in here:

  • Matt

    Is Snoopy in the public domain?

  • peteremcc

    Normally agree with you Laurence, but in this case wouldn’t the TV company be the copyright holder for this content, rather than you and Stephen just because you star in it?

    The actors in a movie don’t own the copyright to that movie do they?

  • http://explore.georgetown.edu/people/mrn24/?PageTemplateID=137 Michael Nelson

    Absolutely AWESOME interview, Larry. You made all the key arguments–effectively and passionately–in less than seven minutes. When Colbert had John Perry Barlow on to talk about EFF and copyright issues, Colbert ambushed him and painted him as a pirate. In contrast, you countered every argument he made–and several he didn’t–with one exception: “Copyright should be eternal” because “it works for me” (which is the most concise summary of the MPAA position that I’ve ever heard.)

  • Bruce

    To all those who think Colbert’s argument was anything more than a straw dog: wake up! Don’t you get Colbert? It’s a satire on the “logic” of the right-wing. Clearly, he was encouraging everyone to remix the interview. He supports Lessig’s argument … he only argues the opposite to point out how silly the arguments against it are. It’s a great approach as it forces the interviewee (in this case Lessig) to focus and hone his argument. It’s a satirical Socratic method (look it up).

    That said, I’m not sure I get Lessig’s point, or maybe he didn’t have a chance to clarify. “Remixing” of copyrighted content was protected under copyright laws (e.g., satire) before DMCA. Of course, “fair use” was also protected pre-DMCA. The DMCA changed all that — it pits itself against “remixing” and “fair use” and so far it seems to be the victor. Maybe that’s Lessig’s point.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V52zGN7NUNk Graoutine
  • lessig

    @peteremcc: right, though that’s because rights are waived. Here, I was surprised the waiver they asked me to sign before the show didn’t address joint copyrights at all. Obviously I don’t own the episode. But I do believe (with some authority) I am joint owner of the 5 minutes with him.

  • Murdock Adams

    This was such a thought provoking and pertinent interview! I spend quite a bit of time on a site called http://www.indabamusic.com. Indaba Music closes the gap that distance creates, and I just saw that they are taking up the Colbert challenge!!!! Reminiscent of the green screen challenge anyone?!?!? Check it out! Its awesome (and hilarious!), basically a whole barrel of fun!


    Everyone is welcome to join in the fun and its free. The deadline for remixes is January 22nd (!) if you want to participate come on over!!!


  • http://www.tamaleaver.net Tama Leaver

    Larry, Colbert’s website currently sports a notice “Lawrence Lessig’s REMIX has been removed at the request of Penguin Publishers.” Is that ironic or has Penguin actually pulled something?

  • http://www.levyreview.com Darren

    Great interview! Convinced me to order your book : )
    Here is my remix (it’s only about 20 seconds):

  • Andreas Berry

    Good job on the Colbert Report.

  • Steffe

    I had some spare time on sunday, so here’s the result:


    “Take all of my stuff – and remix it!”

  • Klank Kiki

    Regarding http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzsBv2HDaRo
    “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Viacom International Inc..”

  • http://brilli.am/writes Brilliam

    Classic. Someone over at Viacom really needs to listen to the interview that he’s trying so hard to take down off Youtube.

  • http://unclecj.blogspot.com Carl-Johan Sveningsson

    Larry, I loved the interview and was very impressed how well you answered his humorously abusive style. No matter how remixing-inclined you may be, just sitting through that provokative desecration of your book must have stung a bit, but how you did it also made a great point!

    Thanks for all your hard work!

  • http://unclecj.blogspot.com Carl-Johan Sveningsson

    PS. Ironic that viacom would get it taken off youtube. You can find it as the third section on comedycentral here: http://ping.fm/Ymbyh

  • http://claimid.com/daradib Dara Adib

    I had to laugh really hard when I did a Google search for “lessig colbert youtube” and got the DMCA takedown message on the first result. If, and this is a big if, the Viacom employee sending the DMCA notice actually watched the clip, I seriously wonder what he/she was thinking. The irony is lovely. Or perhaps it’s revenge for siding with Google/Youtube?

  • http://kitchenbarstoolsinfo.blogspot.com Kitchen Bar Stools

    Mate those remixes are just awesome. I really think they are great. Keep up the amazing work!

  • Mike Fricklas

    Here’s the link to the full episode. It’s even legal and won’t be taken down!


  • Dizzy Spin

    I thought you might enjoy this remix where Mr. Colbert clearly states “remixing is OK!” Thank you, Mr. Lessig.


  • http://www.eff.org Fred von Lohmann

    BTW, for any who don’t know, the poster above, Mike Fricklas, is the General Counsel of Viacom, corporate parent of Comedy Partners, which is the company that produces The Colbert Report. Good to know that Viacom is paying attention here! :-)

  • http://joeclark.org/weblogs/ Joe Clark

    Utterances are not copyrightable even if they are utterances from a lawyer who lost at the Supreme Court.

    Whoever made the recording of that episode is the copyright holder of that episode, including Lessig’s segment. Lessig has no copyright on his own unrecorded utterances or anyone else’s. He doesn’t own the recording or the rights to it.

    Our esteemed colleague Lawrence Lessig can “believe” what he wants. I would suggest branching out to unicorns and the Tooth Fairy.

  • http://www.eff.org Fred von Lohmann

    Joe Clark said: “Utterances are not copyrightable even if they are utterances from a lawyer who lost at the Supreme Court. Whoever made the recording of that episode is the copyright holder of that episode, including Lessig’s segment. Lessig has no copyright on his own unrecorded utterances or anyone else’s. He doesn’t own the recording or the rights to it.”

    It’s not quite so simple, Mr. Clark. First, there is the matter of state law copyright, which some states extend to include “utterances.” (see, e.g., California).

    Second, the relevant question is who owns the “recording of that episode,” which we would all agree is subject to federal copyright. Copyright ownership in recorded, spontaneous interviews turns out to be a difficult subject that has never been fully addressed by the courts. Is it a joint work, as Prof. Lessig suggested? Professor Paul Goldstein’s leading copyright treatise says “yes.” Prof. Patry’s copyright treatise also suggests that joint ownership may be appropriate. There is one case that goes the other way, Taggart v. WMAQ, but there are reasons to doubt its persuasive value (the interviewee was a jailed child molester who represented himself during the proceedings).

    As is often the case in copyright law, it’s a bit more complex than you might think.

  • Holy Beverage

    this one is really clean and well done


  • rob

    what remix was used in the 1/21 episode?

  • http://myspace.com/illusivefx iLLusiveFX

    best remix, by far….


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