Larry Lessig starts the day at eTech by relating the H.G. Wells story, “The Country of the Blind”. The cure: remove the eyes … A comment on current affairs?
He says: Stop! With the obsessions about how new and wonderful everything is that we do; in many ways, we are doing what we’ve always done, but now the technologies have changed.
Cultures, knowledge and politics are formed by remixing.
Clinton: remixed the Republican party principles and got elected president as a Democrat.
Everything we do is remix. Until the advent of digital technologies, no one has tried to control ordinary ways of sharing/remixing.
The ordinary ways people share culture needs to be free.
In the past, words were remixed.
Literacy is the practice of teaching others how to remix other words text: creative writing anyone?
When the technologies change, do the freedoms change?
He then previewed a variety of current remixes, including Jay-Z/Beatles: the grey album, Snoopy/Outkast, as well as some political mashups.
Will “writing: be allowed for future generations?
The current answer is no. Under the old law, such remixes are not legal.
These forms of expression are illegal, and so can’t be taught, but they won’t go away. So far, all we know how to do is punish folks who engage in these creative acts.
So, we either reform the law or reform the technology. Congress is currently trying to legislate “out with their eyes”, by banning and regulating a wide variety of technologies.
Stop reforming our machines; instead reform the law.
Figure out how to connect to the powers that be. We’ll call quote piracy, quote piracy, and at least wee can start the conversation.
This isn’t about gaining free access to music. We’re not defending true piracy.
We need to teach them how powerful this technology is. Show them what the kids are doing every day.
We demand changes in the very outdated laws; the laws that aren’t working today.
It’s not a call to the end of intellectual property, but rather a call to update the laws to reflect current technologies.
Finally, we need to punish, and make examples of misguided leaders who continue to legislate against our, all of our, interests.
It’s not just about property, but about property and freedom.
We have to defend our freedoms and work to change the laws, else they will destroy our technologies.
This presentation was followed by a stimulating discussion between Corey Doctorow and Professor Lessig.