Monthly Archives: June 2007

Just because I'm not working doesn't mean you can't

While I’m away, I’ve set up a page on the Lessig Wiki to gather research and suggestions about corruption. As I said, I’m a novice in this field. I am eager to read broadly. If you’ve got some ideas, please help map the subject. Continue reading

Posted in eye | 44 Comments

Of the grid (again)

My entry July 3, 2006:

Since my [first] kid was born, we’ve tried to have a month alone off the grid every year. That starts this year in 6 hours. I have not asked anyone to guest blog while I’m gone, so this space will be quiet. There are a couple times when I might make a surprise return (they’re all preprogrammed). But my apologies for the silence otherwise. This year has been an especially burdensome year. We really need this time alone.

That happens again this year, again, six hours from now. This year has not been especially burdensome. Indeed, the American Academy in Berlin is heaven, and I’ve gotten lots of good work done. But the promise was for good times and bad, regardless, a month alone with my family.
Continue reading

Posted in eye | 5 Comments

Wired/CC Benefit Concert – tickets on sale


Click on the image to get your tickets. Continue reading

Posted in creative commons | 3 Comments

Lessig 2.0 — the site

Loads of thanks to Ryan Gantz and M. David Peterson for help in the redesign of There are no doubt a bunch of details to finish, but I’m grateful for the amazing work in getting it live. Soon, as promised, the Mixter site will go live with content to use and reuse. So stay tuned to others doing it, better.
Update: ok, a little hiccup. But now we’re back, and so too are the thanks. Continue reading

Posted in eye | 21 Comments

Obama catches the anti-corruption bug

A great speech by Mr. Obama about limiting corruption in government. The fact sheet has lots more substance in it. This is great progress, though recommendation (2) is a bit funny. I would think the right way to avoid the revolving door is to forbid employment a certain number of years after working in the Administration. If you tie it to the life of the Administration, then there’s not much protection for the last years of the term. Continue reading

Posted in presidential politics | 16 Comments

Required Thanks: Thanks

The response to my channel changing has been overwhelming — literally, with the emails and well wishes. Thank you (and I’m sorry for the slowness in responding). Some have asked whether this means all IP disappears from here, or elsewhere, as of now. Answer: No. I’ve still got a bunch of things in the pipes (an op-ed in the Post; a couple more Internet Policy videos, a book, and some committed talks), as well as a cert petition in Kahle that would be much clarified if the 10th Circuit decided Golan.
Meanwhile, thanks again for the kind words, and many great ideas. Continue reading

Posted in eye | 5 Comments

Edwards: great progress on patents

John “Its the substance, stupid” Edwards has a fantastic call for more reliance on prizes, not patents for certain drugs. I know there’s lots that’s changed about the Edwards candidacy this time round. But I’m very happy the focus on smart, careful policy recommendations has not. Continue reading

Posted in presidential politics | 9 Comments

Required Reading: the next 10 years

During my keynote at the iCommons iSummit 07, I made an announcement that surprised some, but which, from reports on the web at least, was also not fully understood by some. So here again is the announcement, with some reasoning behind it.
The bottom line: I have decided to shift my academic work, and soon, my activism, away from the issues that have consumed me for the last 10 years, towards a new set of issues. Why and what are explained in the extended entry below. Continue reading

Posted in eye | 193 Comments

iCommons Summit 07 — watch it at Flickr

It’s pretty here. Watch. Continue reading

Posted in creative commons | 1 Comment

Disclosure Statement and Statement of Principle, 1.1

I’m grateful for the replies to my disclosure statement and statement of principle. Some of these have led me to reform — in an important way — at least one part of the statement. I’ve reposted the statement in the extended entry below, but the key difference is in response to a great point made by Stuart Ballard. Doesn’t my rule, he asks, create perverse incentives? A simple way for an opponent to silence me — donate to, e.g., CC?
I plead humility as the only defense to this obvious omission: It never occurred to me that anyone would waste their money in that way. And while I believe the chance that an opponent would waste their money to silence me is tiny, I do hope that the NC principle becomes common, adopted by people for whom such an expenditure wouldn’t be a waste. I’ve therefore modified the principle as it applies to indirect donations — meaning donations to entities that indirectly benefit someone because they make him or her materially better off, or lessen a duty he or she has to those institutions: With respect to those donations, I will either not recommend a policy, or if I do, I will disclose the benefit.
This reformulation is in apparent tension with my rejection of disclosure generally. But as I see it now, this is the simplest way to avoid the (wholly unlikely) perverse incentive.
There were other useful comments, some of which I address here:
SethF: “not a disclosure statement.” Ok, how about a disclosure statement and a statement of principle.
redpop has a nice point about other influences which, s/he rightly observes, may also bend a policy recommendations. As s/he writes, “You seem to imply, for example, that you will, push someone else’s work if they push yours, regardless of whether you would otherwise do so.” If that is implied, I don’t mean the implication. We all have an obligation to be true to our principles. The general practice we adopt to police that obligation, however, is laissez faire. The NC principle is one compromise on that laissez faire approach — a rule that limits the potential for one kind of influence. But of course, one should avoid any inappropriate influence. In the list I spoke of in my original post, some influences I think are totally appropriate. Some are not. My only point is I’m not creating an additional rule to ferret the one from the other — beyond, again, money.
Jardinero1 thought his point not good enough without wrapping it in sarcasm. I disagree. He asks a very good question: “Which brings me to my point Professor: Who cares why you or anyone else shills?” First, my target is not me (alone). It is a profession(s). So why should we care “why … anyone else shills?” Great question, which goes the heart of what I see as the corruption here. We should avoid influences, in my view, that have nothing to do with the merits of the question at issue. For example: Imagine a doctor told you that you should try risky drug X for your life threatening condition. In my view, you should care whether your doctor is a stock holder in the company making the drug. Why? Because deciding what treatment is good for you is hard enough without the doctor weighing into the balance (or trying not to weigh into the balance) his own personal financial wellbeing. The same with professors. The same with politicians. All are called upon to make hard judgments. The extra-complexity of self-interest will not help them make those judgments well.
Which leads to the second point: In my view, if, e.g., a doctor recommends a drug, or even pushes the drug because he believes in it, so long as s/he has followed the NC principle, it is not “shilling.” In my view, a distinction must be drawn. Failing to draw such a distinction — by calling everything “shilling” — is a cover for more corruption.
Dan Collier asks about retirement benefits: “If so, statements about Google Books, for example, may directly impact Google share prices and indirectly effect your investments.” True enough. I don’t hold stock in individual companies. If I did, I would consider the same limitation to apply.
anon asks whether my list of board memberships was complete. It wasn’t, but now is. I’ve been a bad board member of MusicBrainz, and my guilt led me to forget it in the list. But the project is fantastic and shouldn’t be forgotten. My apologies.
I’ll think about this more as I read more. The disclosure and statement will be linked from my contact tab. Thanks again for the help.
extended entry Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 13 Comments