Here is a super way to spend your next free lunch hour: watch and listen to Lawrence Lessig give one of his fantastic presentations:
- Changing Congress: Lessons Learned by a Copyright Activist, Lawrence Lessig. 4/2/2008, UCSB. [streaming video, about 1 hour].
He talks about history, politics, technology, copyright, and much more.
When Lessig found that he could not get reasonable changes to copyright law (even the late, eminent economist Milton Friedman said that the importance of stopping excessive copyright extensions was a “no brainer”), he realized there were bigger problems to confront. If Congress can’t make the right decision when the problems are easy, how will it make the right decisions when the problems are difficult?
Lessig’s new organization is Change-Congress. It is attempting to build tools that will help citizens (“in our pajamas,” as Lessig says) create basic reforms in how our government functions. The Change-Congress home page features an interactive map created with data from the Federal Elections Commission and GovTrack.us and Google maps. The goal of the organization is to create tools that both candidates and citizens can use to pledge their support for basic changes to reduce the distorting influence of money in Washington.
Lessig is a professor at Stanford Law School, the founder of Creative Commons and the author of three very important books: Code, The Future of Ideas, and Free culture : how big media uses technology and the law to lock down culture and control creativity.
There are more videos from Change-Congress at: change-congress.blip.tv
If this is the first time you’ve seen one of Lessig’s presentations, you are in for a treat. A colleague of mine called it “mesmerizing.” There is a bit more about Lessig’s presentation style in an analysis of it by Chris Tunnell on Lessig’s blog: A physicist on the “Lessig style”, by Chris Tunnell, April 28, 2008.
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