If Larry Lessig had been my professor, I would have learned a lot more

November 7, 2007 § Leave a comment

I’ve always enjoyed Larry Lessig’s talks. His grasp of copyright and how the law around it needs to change to accommodate the digital revolution that we are currently experiencing. One of the points of this talk that really hit home with me is this:

We live in sort of this weird time, an age of prohibitions where in many areas of our life we live life constantly against the law; ordinary people live life against the law. [Our kids] live life knowing they live it against the law. That realization is extraordinarily corrosive, extraordinarily corruptive, and in a democracy, we ought to be able to do better.

And he’s right on. What is this type of culture doing to our kids, doing to us? Basically, it goes like this – if you’ve ever downloaded a song, or made a mix tape or CD that you’ve given to a friend, or made a movie using a song you’d purchased, you’re a criminal.

You’ve broken the law.

People like Lessig are bringing to the forefront the fact that copyright isn’t what it used to be. It can’t continue to live in the old world and survive. The music industry, TV producers, all of them need to wake up and learn how to deal with the inevitable future. If they continue to tow the line, they’re going to lose their audience, and people who grasp the fact that there cannot be absolute control over media any more are going to be the big winners.

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