Monthly Archives: January 2009

missed (and fantastic) news: Boucher and Telecommunications


Rick Boucher is taking over the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet (renamed Telecommunications Subcommittee). This is great news. Boucher is an inspiration in the House. This is a critical committee for change. Continue reading

Posted in good code | 6 Comments

IBM's WSJ Op-ed: Exactly Right

From the op-ed in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal by IBM chairman and CEO Sam Palmisano, “Let’s Spend on Broadband and the Power Grid“:

We shouldn’t undertake projects simply for the sake of creating economic activity. Rather than just stimulate, we should transform.

The point could be made more strongly: If we’re lucky, we get the chance for this kind of transformation once a generation. It would be a scandal on the scale of the last 8 years to fritter it away. Continue reading

Posted in good code | 11 Comments

The final REMIX reading

Ok, San Francisco, sadly, I report: the final REMIX reading will be Wednesday, 14 January, at 7:30pm, at Booksmith – 1644 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA 94117 (map). And as I’ve got no more books coming out before the summer, that means this will be the final book reading in San Francisco as well.
To celebrate the sadness, I’ll be giving away the swag I got at the Colbert Report. Plus 10 (fake) Colbert campaign posters that I tried to ambush Colbert with.
So come. Bring your office. And your grandmother. And anyone else you find on the street. Continue reading

Posted in REMIX | 3 Comments

let the remixes continue

So here’s an update on the Remix COLBERT/lessig project.
As I first reported, after the event, I was sent some very cool remixes. They’re available in my first blog entry about the show.
Then ccMixter — Creative Commons fantastic remix site, that allows you to track who remixed what — launched a remix thread. You can see those here.
Then this morning I saw the link to the IndabaMusic site, which is running a contest around the clip. There are now about 20 remixes available, and more than 100 in the works. You can see those here.
All of the remixes in the ccMixter/IndabaMusic domains are CC licensed. The source, again, is my segment (the portion of the Colbert Report in which I am a joint copyright owner.) As that is CC-BY, anyone is free for any purpose (save endorsement purposes) to use it as you wish. Continue reading

Posted in creative commons, free culture, REMIX | 6 Comments

let the remixes begin (UPDATED)

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. Continue reading

Posted in REMIX | Tagged , , , | 46 Comments

Change Congress launches a Funders' Strike


Tomorrow, Change Congress is launching a funders’ strike. We pledge NOT to give to any candidate who doesn’t support Citizens’ Funded Elections. Join us at or Continue reading

Posted in ChangeCongress | 1 Comment

The coolest and hardest job in DC: Kagan as SG

Now that she won’t be my Dean, I am free to say the following. And I am inspired to say the following by my sense that there’s a misperception among some about exactly why Elena Kagan’s appointment is so important.
Everyone knows the Solicitor General is the government’s path to the Supreme Court. But some write as if the job is about arguing in the Supreme Court. That’s a mistake. No doubt, that’s a part, though historically the SG has argued a small percentage of the cases (sometimes as low as 1 or 2 a term).
Much more important is the policymaking function of the office. The SG must decide on the strategy for interacting with the Supreme Court. He or she must decide which issues to push, which to hold back, how to frame the issues, and how best to maintain the (deserved) reputation of the office as a principled expositor of the (administration’s view of the) law.
Having known Elena since I began teaching (she and I started together at Chicago), I can say that I can’t imagine a better choice for this job. Granted, she is not an oral advocate — though again, that’s not the job, and having seen her teach (always at the very top at Harvard and Chicago), I have no doubt she’ll be superb as an oral advocate.
But she knows the administration cold (after years in the Clinton administration, and many more years studying and teaching administrative law), and, more importantly (and extremely rare for an academic), she has an extraordinary ability to productively engage disagreement. That’s the real success from her time at Harvard (I used to think it was impossible to be loved as Dean of Harvard; Elena is loved by everyone). She is a straight talking, brilliant strategist and strong negotiator, who holds herself to insanely high standards. People see that and respect that — one bit to the key of her success.
As one reflects upon the fact that the most entrenched disagreements the Obama administration will face over the next 8 years will be with a conservative Court that doesn’t need to be reelected, it is quickly apparent that the role of the SG is going to be critical. On a list of many (if not all) fantastic appointments by Obama, this one is brilliant. Everyone is saying as much, but few, I think, recognize just how brilliant this is. Continue reading

Posted in good code, heroes | 9 Comments

re NIN best selling cc-licensed music

Beautifully put by Fred Benenson:

NIN’s CC-Licensed Best-Selling MP3 Album

Fred Benenson, January 5th, 2009

NIN Best Selling MP3 Album

NIN’s Creative Commons licensed Ghosts I-IV has been making lots of headlines these days.

First, there’s the critical acclaim and two Grammy nominations, which testify to the work’s strength as a musical piece. But what has got us really excited is how well the album has done with music fans. Aside from generating over $1.6 million in revenue for NIN in its first week, and hitting #1 on Billboard’s Electronic charts, has the album ranked as the 4th-most-listened to album of the year, with over 5,222,525 scrobbles.

Even more exciting, however, is that Ghosts I-IV is ranked the best selling MP3 album of 2008 on Amazon’s MP3 store.

Take a moment and think about that.

NIN fans could have gone to any file sharing network to download the entire CC-BY-NC-SA album legally. Many did, and thousands will continue to do so. So why would fans bother buying files that were identical to the ones on the file sharing networks? One explanation is the convenience and ease of use of NIN and Amazon’s MP3 stores. But another is that fans understood that purchasing MP3s would directly support the music and career of a musician they liked.

The next time someone tries to convince you that releasing music under CC will cannibalize digital sales, remember that Ghosts I-IV broke that rule, and point them here.

Continue reading

Posted in cc | 29 Comments

Remix Book Talk – SF – 1/14/09

Everyone is invited hear Lawrence Lessig talk about his new book “Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy.” When: Wed January 14, 2009 – 7:30pm Where: Booksmith – 1644 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA 94117 Email [email protected]Continue reading

Posted in News | 76 Comments

CHANGE.ORG round #2 — Citizens' Funding (aka, Teddy's idea)

Citizens’ Funding of the Nation’s Elections made it into round #2 at Here’s 7 minutes about why it needs to be in the final list as well. Voting runs from today till January 15. Vote here. Continue reading

Posted in ChangeCongress | 3 Comments