Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?

Lessig @ OSCON 206

passthecrackpipe writes "Leonard Lin has put up the presentation Lawrence Lessig gave at OSCON (mirror). It is great. It requires Flash." Nice Flash work, very impressive, and of course Lessig is a superior speaker. Worth your time and the 8Mb download.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Lessig @ OSCON

Comments Filter:
  • 8 mbs? only? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I skimmed through it. It seemed rather repetitive at times but had a good overall point. Question is, who's actually going to do anything about all this? People talk and talk while congress continues to pass more laws. What can the average computer user do to support this front besides emailing their congressman/woman who isn't even listening?
    • by Technician ( 215283 ) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @05:09AM (#4068551)
      What can the average computer user do
      Number one, Vote with your pocketbook!

      Issues, DRM enabled devices...
      I did not buy the new Magellan Meridian GPS because it used SD media.

      I bought a CD burner

      I bought a CD MP3 Player. It does not support WMA, Liquid Audio, etc. It only supports red book audio and MP3 audio.

      The Archos Digital Jukebox/recorder is on my to get list. It viloates the SDMI standard by allowing a stereo analog high fidelity recording to be made. It allows the recording to be exported and copied in an unprotected format (MP3). I plan on transferring my pre-recorded tapes and vinyl to CD. The SDMI standard includes the requirement for voice grade mono analog recording and nothing better. A good stereo cassette deck will outperform a SDMI recorder everytime! Is a HI-FI VHS or 8mm VCR going to be my next audio recorder? I hope not! I will not support the SDMI audio recording standard. Voice grade mono recording does not meet my needs to back up my aging music collection. SDMI stuff is analog input bandwidth limited This input will be restricted to voice-grade mono and band-limited (-3dB at 100 hZ and -60 dB at 8 khZ) It is also to be imediately converted to SDMI protocol for local use. This translates to "it'll never be burnt to a CD or shared with your friends" This is useless to use to record the baby's first words to share with the grandparants. A tape deck is more capable in this regard. The SDMI compliant hardware is uncompetive in the marketplace due to the severe restrictions placed on it.
      Read the SDMI spec here if you need to know the rest of the restrictions.


      Most people have no idea this spec even exists.

      Don't buy anything supporting these standards.
      This includes portable media (memory cards).

      Support companies that provide useful quality products and support open standards.

      This is the biggest reason I use Compact Flash and CDr.

      What I don't have...
      A DVD player,
      A DRM enabled book reader, audio player, TV/ computer monitor/ USB speakers, music in WMA or Liquid Audio format, portable devices supporting SD memory, etc..
      I'm picky about my hardware and the content providers will have to cater to my needs or miss my purchases when they move into protected media.

      I do not buy software that requires "activation" or a "dongle". The only exception is software that is part of an access to a service. An example is the firmware in my cell phone and pager.
    • So you asked what we are going to do about it?

      Imagine this a p2p sharing app that is so kewl that it runs on linux as well as all other platforms..

      Now imagine it being free and runnning on mobile devices as well..

      Now imagine you involved as one of the coders in this project..

      Dreams? Smoking weed?


      HumanMotion just got approved at sf.net

      More details and press release Labor day weekdn..

      bookmark my weblog site and be ready to code!

    • You shouldn't have skimmed - he answers what you can do. To wit:

      Don't email - write a letter and include a check made out to the representatives who support reigning in copyright law. There are so few right now that I can list them. They are:

      Rick Boucher [house.gov]

      Chris Cannon [house.gov]

      That's it - all the U.S. Representatives who understand this issue. Support em cause they're all we've got right now. However, there is hope on the horizon....

      Hank Perritt [perrittforcongress.com], the former dean of the Chicago School of Law, is running for congress. Help him win his seat and it'll help. If you live in Chicago, volunteer at Perritt's campaign headquarters. He needs all the free help he can get.

      In your letter that includes a donation, make it clear why you support these particular men.

      You can also send money to Eff [eff.org].

      You're not helpless, you can do something. The thing is to DO IT - not whing about it.

      Do it now, not later.

      Have no cash? Then at least get and display your free Free the Mouse [bumperactive.com] bumper sticker.
  • he is a superior speaker? comepared to who? or what? I am confused. Come on editors... you can at least read it over before you post the story.
    • he is a superior speaker? comepared to who? or what?

      I dunno, but I think I'll stick with Altec Lansing. Too much bias ruins a speaker. :-)
  • way to go /. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    posting links to 8M files on the front page. smooth.

    meanwhile, i can smell the smoke from the fried processor in the site's cisco
    • Mod throttle is set up. It should 503 to a mirror on ibiblio. We'll see I guess...
    • I'm getting 74kb/sec off it, seems to be handling the load just fine. I wouldn't want to be receiving their bandwidth bill, though ;)
    • I run the site listed as the mirror. We are not seeing more than ~15-25Mbit http traffic... ZzZZzz... Increasing now as the west coast is waking up though. :-)

      - ask
  • If you stop it, it rewinds. Aargh!
  • More Mirrors (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @12:35AM (#4067678)
    http://creativecommons.org/freeculture/ [creativecommons.org]
    http://lessig.org/freeculture/ [lessig.org]
    posted anonymously for humanitarian purposes.
  • Naikrovek is changing his presentation style.

    THis is really well done.
  • by Gaccm ( 80209 ) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @01:05AM (#4067798)
    does anyone else get horrible echoing in the flash?
    • Yes, and the pitch is too high; in addition to the overlapping echoes, it sounds like it's being played back at the wrong speed as well. Something is really wrong with the audio coding - it's quite unlistenable. (I'm using the Macromedia Flash plugin for Linux "Shockwave Flash 5.0 r47" for playback.)
      • Not only under Linux, it also happens here on Mac OS X and Chimera. I did a quick run with MSIE under OSX and same effect....

        And yes, the echoing makes it somewhat incomprehensible at times.

    • ... by pausing and restarting. The echo then went away.

      (It took a little while to realise it wasn't creative license on the part of the Flash author!)
  • Interesting...... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    He keeps asking "what have you done [to fight against these fuckheads like Valenti and Rosen]?", but I think the real question is "what CAN you do?".

    Look, I'm all for bringing down these tyrants and returning to the 'free society' he speaks of, but what chance do we have? We're geeks and creators, not lawyers and politicians. And the way this world is currently set up, the latter group rules the earth and are usually easy to sway if enough money is thrown their way. Big media giants like Disney can afford to do this, but what can we do? The only real contender I can think of is Microsoft, but they're not exactly the free society posterchild.

    And even if the whole geek community does something substantial (like boycott all mainstream movies and music, etc), we're STILL the minority. The masses don't give a shit about this stuff. I know this to be fact, because practically all of my non-geek friends (which is about 70% or more) show no interest in these issues at all. They feel as though it's so distant to them that it's not even a concern (much like the whole Israel vs. Palestine conflict). I've tried to make them see that it will effect them, but they are too apathetic to look into it any further.

    I know, I know. All I've done is restate the problem and I've failed to provide any solutions, but that's because I simply do not have any solutions to give. So here's my question: what the hell can we do to stop our society from becoming what we fear it will some day become?
    • He keeps asking "what have you done [to fight against these fuckheads like Valenti and Rosen]?" We're geeks and creators, not lawyers and politicians"
      What would Jim Morrison say? "Yer' all a bunch of f*cking slaves!" Boycott -YES! You are only the minority if you think it and sleep on it. Then you wake up in the Morning as the Minority. It has never been a Free Society. Fight For Your Right to Parley.
    • Step 1: Free speech is in danger
      Step 2: You can't do much alone
      Step 3: Profit! (well, donations)

      Ok, it's not a business plan, but only the EFF coordinated effort can aleviate the problem, so please donate if you can.
    • One bite at a time.

      Keep talking to your friends. Show them articles you come across about the evil effects of laws like the DMCA. Bring some copies of your coolest personal CDs to work to play, and mention that you won't be able to make those copies much longer. If your co-workers don't believe in the existence of Tux, give them a Knoppix CD-ROM to play with.

      Sure, most people are asleep, I've found that too, but it's a funny thing; every one who gets interested in this stuff starts talking to other people about it too.

      Oh, and let's not forget; give your support to the EFF [eff.org] and others, write to your elected representatives, or if they're utterly hopeless like my own Sen. Hollings write to their opponents; try to persuade them over to the Light Side, offer them your support (financial and otherwise) if they do support your issues.

      Remember, if you can't support them financially, maybe they could use some volunteer Web support, or an envelope stuffer. Have you been to your local library lately? Librarians are usually a pretty strong free-speech demographic, and library patrons are the kind of people you're likely to reach best. Make up CD-Roms with fun free games, useful utilities and some interesting presentations on important issues; give them away to everyone you meet.

      It's not going to be effortless, but you're not as helpless as you think. You undoubtedly have skills and resources you haven't even touched yet.

      • Hollings is going to be around for at least a few more years, but we do get to pick a new senator to replace Strom this year. The senate race here in SC isn't getting as much press as the race for governor, but I think it's just as if not more important. So who among our senate candidates [vote-smart.org] is more "tech-friendly", more interested in protecting the public interest, less interested in introducing new legislation for the sake of placating lobbyists?
    • ah hmm its supposed to be a secret at least until we out of planning stages ..oh well..

      HumanMotion has been approved by SF.net

      its a P2p cool sharing applicaiton running on Linux and all platforms, not just desktops all as in mobile also!

      It sin planning stages now..

      More full details Labor Day Weekend!

      Are we ready to code?
    • I propose the "Highest Order of Power" concept.

      • Don't just tell your friends, though that is an OK start if that's all you feel comfortable with. I think you should seriously lobby the person(s) who you know (or have some sort of access to) who:
      • Have influence over more people than you do. This could be your boss, your Mayor, your Bartender. Choose someone who can affect the habits of more people than you can with less effort.

        • As an example, I sent the link to Lessig's site [lessig.org] plus information on his books, a link to the EFF's whitepaper Unintended Consequences: Three Years Under the DMCA [eff.org], information about the Skylarov Case [freeskylarov.org], and links to Lessig's other speeches [ddj.com] to the VP of Information Technology at my University.
        • I sent this same information to one of my former professors who teaches classes in leadership for a Masters program that churns out upper-level managers for technolgy and telecommunication firms. He in turn will probably (knowing him) make his students read it. I have suggested Lessig's books as textbooks for his class. He also teaches classes in public policy... which is right up this alley.

      • Work to raise the level of outrage in your local and national politicians. Seriously... one hand written letter a week will get noticed. Even better, form collectives with Geeks in your area [meetup.com] and create letter rings. One person in the group writes a letter and a SASE, then mails it in a larger envelope to another in the group. That person can read the letter for inspiration, writes his or her own, includes more postage, and sends it on. After it gets to the last person, the letters are put into their respective SASEs and mailed off. In the end, how ever many letters (equal to the number in your group... the more the better) lands in the inbox of your Rep roughly once a week. It WILL have an impact. No Rep will ignore 40 letters on the same topic a month (assuming you have a group of 10 writers and that the month has 4 weeks... more is always better). Make sure to always tell how many voters you have influence over. My wife once included the fact that she worked with a couple of hundred voting age students on a questionaire that we recieved from a Rep. Not long after, we got a personal letter that addressed some of the concerns that we had raised.
      • Other examples of Highest Order of Power are welcome

  • That's nice but, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ErikTheRed ( 162431 ) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @01:09AM (#4067814) Homepage
    What have you done?

    I just sent EFF $100. If we invoke "Chinese arithmetic" (anyone who's looked at a business plan involving China knows what I'm talking about- "if we could just capture .1% of the 1.x billion-person market) on the Slashdot masses, we should be able to buy us some politicians too!
    • Re:That's nice but, (Score:5, Informative)

      by ErikTheRed ( 162431 ) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @01:46AM (#4067951) Homepage
      Don't mod me up - I'm at the karma kap.

      Better idea: click on this link [eff.org] and open your wallet. Seriously. At least give them what you gave the MPAA & RIAA's members over the last few months.
      • Don't mod me up - I'm at the karma kap.

        You're missing the point of moderation. Sure, it's nice to get karma but that's secondary to the function of letting me filter through all the crap that gets posted here.
      • $65 gets you an EFF T-shirt. I gave them $35 last year, but I figure a T-shirt is a good reason to give them more. $100 gets you a hat AND a T-shirt. Expensive clothing, but at least you're helping to keep speech free on the Internet.

        And keep up with the action alerts - You don't have to even write anything. Just click a couple buttons and a letter is faxed to your Senators.
      • I sent the EFF $100 on Sept 10th, 2001 - the day before 9-11 - because I was pissed about hearing of a draft version of the SSSCA that would require all devices to have a mandated copyright-cop chip.

        The next day the shit hit the fan and I figured my donation was wasted in the face of the powergrabbing to follow. The pendulum still isn't shifting back towards sanity yet...


    • At OSCON someone (maybe it was in Lessig's keynote) asked "how much do you spend on protecting your rights and your freedom? And how much do you give telecommunications companies?"

      I went to the EFF booth downstairs afterwards and signed up to have $25/month charged to my credit card. It's a start.
  • Heh (Score:2, Funny)

    by zapfie ( 560589 )
    It is great. It requires Flash.

    Don't those two statements contradict eachother?

    • by llin ( 54970 )
      Funny I can understand, but why is this insightful? Can something automatically not be great if it's in Flash? It's an animated presentation w/ synced sound, not an ecommerce site. This is exactly the kind of thing that Flash was originally invent for.
      • Yeah, I was going for funny, don't know why I got the insightful.. the presentation was great.. it's just that Flash gets so horribly used most of the time :)
    • not [earthlink.net] always [chello.nl].
    • Re:Heh (Score:2, Informative)

      by a_n_d_e_r_s ( 136412 )
      Yes, since I can't see the presentation.

      I will not run software that endanger my computor.

      BTW Flash for Linux contains a security hole...
  • I really think this is a good presentation. It says what no one seems to be thinking about. When Open Source really becomes a threat to proprietary software, big companies will use every method to stop it. A lot of great Open Source Software will go to waste and we will continue, like it or not, to buy Microsoft -- Its easier than thinking.
  • If you want to hear Lessig speak I understand he is showing up at the fsf fundraising party tomorrow night hosted by affero. Here is the link.

  • Worth your time and the 8Mb download.

    I am running on a dialup, the fastest that I have ever connected is 32.xxx. I have a 56k modem, but my phone are bad, so they slow down the transmission. I average (on a good day) 1mb = 10 minutes. Let me see.

    1mb = 10 min download time
    8mb = 80 min download time

    80 = 1 hour 20 min

    The only time I am going to download something that big is when it is something I need, which isn't that often. I am not going to sit and wait that long just to see a flash animation. I don't think it is worth that long of wait.
    • Re:Download time (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mathowie ( 18747 )
      If you donate $5 or more to the Eldred Legal Defense fund (at http://eldred.cc/howyoucanhelp/), you'll get a copy of a CD I created, with a copy of the website linked in the original post, as well as self-contained flash executables for windows and mac.
      • Hey, that's a pretty nifty idea!

        Geez... I guess I'm so used to my crappy DSL line. I don't even blink at an 8 MB download. I used to though, when I still was on single channel ISDN.

        I'll take a look at that site of yours. I don't need the CD. :)

  • MP3? (Score:3, Funny)

    by wwwgregcom ( 313240 ) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @01:43AM (#4067938) Journal
    Oh the irony, the audio is available exclusivly in MP3, this is an open source confrence
    • Well, what stops you from making an Ogg Vorbis version of this?

      The MP3 algorithms may be patented, copyrighted and regulated to hell and back, but the content sure isn't. I assure you it's perfectly allright to re-encode it to something more to your liking.

    • it might be slightly justified that mp3 is a much more accepted format. a broader audience could be reach by mp3 than by a less supported format such as ogg vorbis
  • Whoops. Forgot the extras.

    title=Free Culture
    artist=Lawrence Lessig
    year=20 02

    Once again: KaZaA bad, KaZaA Lite good.
  • If I remember right, last time /. talked about flash there were 500 posts to the effect of 'Flash sucks donkey balls'.
  • by Malor ( 3658 ) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @02:28AM (#4068073) Journal
    I really liked when he asked the audience.... (approximately): "who's donated to EFF?" "Ok, who has given as much money to EFF this year as they gave the cable monopolies for shitty bandwidth?"

    I thought that was an awesome way to measure it. As far as I'm concerned, my bandwidth bill just doubled... any amount I spend on that, I'll match in donations to EFF.

    Bandwidth means little without the freedom to use it.

  • It is great. It requires Flash. [...] Worth your time and the 8Mb download.

    Now I know what all those unemployed Flash designers are doing with their time.
    Seriously, could this guy make it any more *difficult* for us to listen to his message.

  • Let's get serious (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ian Bicking ( 980 ) <ianb@COBOLcolorstudy.com minus language> on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @03:08AM (#4068213) Homepage
    Just a couple days ago someone posted a comment [slashdot.org] that suggested we use NRA-like tactics. Instead of trying to change all the politicians, we pick out the worst politician, and put all our efforts into getting that one person defeated.

    I think it's a great idea, which is why I'm bringing it up again. Lobbying congress and educating them on these matters just isn't going to work. Politicians aren't passing things like the DMCA because they're ignorant -- they are doing it because they are bad politicians. After failing to do the right thing over and over, we can't give them the benefit of the doubt anymore. We can't reform corporate shills, but maybe we can replace them.

    Instead of pleading with them to do the right thing, we need to at least try to make them do the right thing. In a case when it's hard to identify the good politician -- especially the good and effective politician -- it's a lot easier to identify the bad guy. There's lots of politicians that aren't standing up for the public's rights. But there's only a few that are standing up to actively take those rights away. We should focus on them.

    When we do, we can run online ads, radio ads, and grassroot ads, anything to try to defeat this person. It doesn't have to be that expensive. We play the negative game -- it doesn't matter who the opponent is, this is a question of symbolism, of asserting our power. Because if we can cost that one politician the election, that will really mean something. Sure, there'll be more to step up in his place, but maybe we can get them out too -- do it a couple times, and people will be afraid to be the corporate media lacky.

    And yeah, that's not the nicest political game. It's classic "special interest" tactics. But shit... if politics was so nice, we wouldn't be having these problems. And we're not doing this to get ourselves subsidies or for other selfish reasons (mostly) -- we're doing it for the public. And there's nothing wrong with negative politics -- that's how this country has worked since the beginning.

    Unlike all the other techniques -- that dream of the day when there's massive participation -- this doesn't seem that remote. I bet $50,000 and a lot of volunteer manpower could could counter $500,000 in campaign finances, if the target was right and the manpower clever.

    • Blockquoth the poster:

      And we're not doing this to get ourselves subsidies or for other selfish reasons (mostly)

      Or, perhaps, we're doing it for the right selfish reasons. There's nothing wrong with looking out for yourself, especially when you're looking out for others along the way. It's only when you actively crush others and abuse their rights that you've entered dark territory.

      Or joined the MPAA. :)

    • Which politician should we target?

      My vote's for Sen. Hollings. Uh, let me rephrase that... my vote is to make him the target! ;-)

      • I agree.

        I'm also a canadian. I'm also already quite involved in more local politics.

        Here's what you do:

        register eliminatehollings.com or somesuch.
        collect some basic information, put it on the site.
        get slashdot to post a link for it. set up for paypal donations. Donations should pay for the site, (bandwidth and hosting, *nothing more*) and the rest should go to the EFF, or better yet, an opponent of Hollings that there is a general agreement is better than Hollings.

        Set up credit card donations. All along the way, you should be asking people (credit card people, hosting companies, etc.) for a discount or free stuff, as you're running a non-profit site to promote traditionally guarded rights in the digital era. If nothing else, you'll get the message out in an interesting way.

        Post anything you can find about the amount of money Hollings has received from Hollywood, and the bills he has introduced, sponsored, supported, etc. Post anything about his voting record you can find. Use lines like "Hollings has been convinced by Big Media that their profits are more important than any of your rights!" ...Make sure you don't slander.

        If you want more elaboration, reach me at r a e w a s c h a t u w a t e r l o o d o t c a

        But *you*, yes *you* need to run with this. You need to do it quickly, well, and you need to get it posted on slashdot. Then some other people will take over aspects. Once Hollings is gone, you pass the torch to someone else.

        It will become your life's work (other than your job & family, hopefully!) for a year or two. If you do it right, you *can* succeed.

        • Your point did not pass unnoticed; I actually thought very seriously about your post throughout the entire day today.I finally came to the conclusion that I simply cannot take the lead on this. I can support, I can and will contribute to the cause, but I am simply not able to make it a full time cause.

          Your post really made me think the proper question: what if no one takes the lead on this? Isn't it up to me? I can't, though, not if I'm going to meet the obligations I already have. I am genuinely doing what I can; if someone takes the point to create an organized effort, I can redirect some of my resources, but I cannot lead the charge.

          • I'm curious about your other obligations. I'm a student, I'm heavily involved in making student life better. I'm also canadian, which puts me out for this sort of thing, but I would turn it down as well, because of other obligations. Are yours family? work? Do they go beyond that? If you're already involved in some aspect of your world outside family and work, then you're doing your part...if everyone did that, we'd be doin' just fine. :-) If your obligations are all family and work, I find it hard to believe you can't drop something (watching TV would be the most statistically probably "something") to make some time for something like this.

            I'm glad you thought about what I had to say. I think that the idea of singling out an elected official is an excellent one - one of the best (in terms of manageability, understandability, explainability, cost, time, and effect) that I've ever seen WRT to "your rights online." It brings things into the realm of what one voter, one citizen, one consumer, can understand, while having a broader "chilling" ("warming"? :-) ) effect.

            Someone needs to run with this, for the sake of US online rights. In Canada, I am monitor the "battle," and will dig in and help out if the time is necessary. The politics of the game here are very, very different, though.

            PS. -- I'd prefer this be by email, if you're indifferent. my address is in my last post.
    • The NRA are a minority, a well financed one but nothing like the size of lobbying groups such as the Advancement of Colored People and so on. Their tactics work and nobody with power in Washington likes to further regulate gun control, for gear that they will be out of a job.

      Remember that negative publicity hurts. Exagerate, tell the public that big business wants to take away their video recorders. Tell them that the fast forward button is being banned. Yes, this is a little strong but isn't what the NRA do when they tell Americans about their rights. Tell them that some idiot has got protection on work they ripped off from someone else over 50 years ago. Ask them whether they believe it is right for them to be able to take apart anything that they own so that they can maintain it themselves...

      Leave the techie stuff out. The public and politicians won't understand.

      • I strongly dislike dishonesty, even for Good Ends. But I don't think that's necessary for this sort of thing -- politicians have gotten used to absolutely no scrutiny. The press doesn't even bother to check the most basic of assertions, or even look into the politicians past as listed in the public record.

        The attacks don't have to be entirely based on their IP policies, though. You could mark the politician as a corporate whore without getting into anything technical -- maybe by talking about businesses they've been involved in, conflicts of interest in their past, hints of graft and kickbacks, and publicizing who's payed for what (not just campaign funds, but suspicious activities like funding parties and whatnot).

        I'm convinced we can be very truthful and very damning at the same time. Especially with the sort of corporate scum that we'd be attacking, where IP policy is not their only ethically compromised position.

        • You don't have to be dishonest, but you have to exagerate problems and take them to their logical conclusion. For example, if the media companies want to control how we watch things, then we have to show what that can lead to.

          Many persons claim that the media companies don't want so much control, if that is the case, why do some of them disable fast-forward on DVDs? We already have seen other aspects of IP law abused, so we need to show what can go wrong here too!

      • I think the quote from JC Watts was both enligtening and terribly scary.

        "If you're explaining, you're losing."

        Trouble is he's right. We need to tell people what they will lose if the MPAA and RIAA get their way. Tell your friends, your relatives, everyone you know what will happen. Things link, you won't be able to tape TV shows anymore, no fast forward, you'll have to buy an new DVD player, TV, stereo, etc. because they're going to break things so your old equpment won't work.

        The NRA's basic premise is to fight against any action that could conceivably lead to you losing your right to keep and bear arms. This fight should be the same.
      • Just look at a Disney DVD.

        I'm really sick of the "That function is not permitted on this DVD" when I try to fast forward through the crap they put you through before the film.

        And I'm not just talking about the FBI warning either.
    • Name names.
    • I think this is the only thing that politicians will consider the prospect of losing an election. I think its good to fight the war on as many fronts as possible.

      For people who think that linux will lose its coolness or its purity if it gets too popular. I want to tell them that they will lose linux if it doesn't get very popular, soon. Linux should get a market share of at least 20% before some form of DRM becomes mandatory by law, in US and Europe. DRM will kill Linux if it succeeds, and there is only one thing that can kill DRM and that is Linux.

      The solution is that technical people should develop linux, and if they don't have anything really important then they should lobby to the government. And if the Elections are around the corner (like they are now) then get going against your local Senator if he/she was in favour of DRM/DMCA et.al. Local LUGs should be able to get this thing going collect as much information about the senator that you can and go after them. And if your senator is against this thing then also work in his/her favour.

      Its important to delay DRM as long as possible, by any means possible.

    • YEA! All you need is $50,000! Hmm... how can we get that... I know! We'll sell something! Oh wait, I forgot, we're giving everything away. :/
    • Instead of trying to change all the politicians, we pick out the worst politician, and put all our efforts into getting that one person defeated.

      All the Slashdot readers in South Carolina can help us all by voting for Fritz Hollings' opponent this next go around.

      What scares me, though, is that his opponent could be just as bad (southern politicians are yecchy). What do we do then?
    • Perhaps Slashdot should add a Political Candidates section or sub section YRO with areas for given candidates in operation or running for election/re-election.

      Then post problems. Organize. Change their minds or work to vote them out.

      Yes, I realize this is a pipe dream.

  • by Satan's Librarian ( 581495 ) <mike@codevis.com> on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @03:17AM (#4068233) Homepage
    After listening to the presentation, I think it's very well put together for targetting geeks that already agree with his premise. However, it does nothing to present and/or debunk other viewpoints, nor is it really more than a pep-talk IMHO. He presents it as an us vs. them thing when there are quite a few different stances. It's also somewhat misguided - it spends a lot of time attacking copyright as if it is a "Bad Thing", rather than just showing all the reasons why 100 years of legal protection for Mickey Mouse might be bad.

    On patents, I think the most sensible argument against them was presented in a letter [mit.edu] to the US Patent Office [uspto.gov] by Donald Knuth [stanford.edu], where he points out that software and the algorithms used therein are mathematics, and mathematics have previously been exempted from patents.

    Regarding copyrights, while I would be quite happy with a short limitation on the life of a copyright (5 years would suit me just fine... 10-15 would be ok, anything longer is ludicrous in the technology field), I think his presentation is quite a bit more radical than most professional programmers might agree with after putting some thought into it.

    Some of us don't particularly like working as employees of companies which we do not own, but without the protection that copyright provides it would be impossible to make a living by creating consumer software products. Yes, you could write custom software under contract to a corporation for money, or write software as an employee of a company, but to write a product for consumers? Who would pay for that? The average person who'd want to use a word processor certainly isn't going to cough up enough money to pay my rent for the amount of time I'd need to write one...

    Without copyright, if I write a cool app and want to sell it, I'd only sell it once before anyone who wanted it could just get it for free... This is absolutely great for code I write in my spare time for fun, or tools and libraries I write to help me do my work where they might be useful to others, but *something* has to put food on the table.

    However, I do think that once you buy something, at least the copy you own should be able to be used by you in whatever manner you wish. So his speech seems misguided... The real threat is that with recent legislation [anti-dmca.org], that is less and less true.

    I support the EFF [eff.org] and donate.... but the presentation is off target. I hope his arguments before the Supreme Court are less radical and stay based on the fact that 100 years is way too long for a copyright, rather than implying that copyright is bad.

    Think he used a pirated copy of PowerPoint? ;)

    • i thought some of his points would be fairly obvious to a broader group of individuals than computer geeks (the teach your aibo to dance jazz, and the you cant print any pages of this public domain work of Aristotle's e-book for example)...

      sure the whole thing makes more sense to people who actually really care about the issue, but it's not so narrow that an average person might not get a grasp on the scope of it either.

      i didn't get the impression that he is totally against copyright in any form, just that the state of where copyright is right now really does suck.
      • The Aibo part was good (if geeky), and briefly focused on where the real dangers lie... The Aristotle e-book was just showing an example of a lousy implementation [adobe.com] though, which is given away for free.

        Yes, it's an example of DRM in action, but you can also go out and buy the book or you can legally transcribe the book from the screen, since the content is in the public domain. The thing they are trying to protect and reap a profit off of is the time and money spent transcribing it so they have something to sell - feel free to transcribe Aristotle's works into an online version and give it away for free in your spare time. The copyright laws don't prevent that. As far as the rights to his own $24 e-book [amazon.com] are concerned, well... kinda sounds like he should have negotiated better with his publisher if he wanted people to be able to copy it for free, eh? Or maybe just made a website with a free, printable .PDF and given it away.

        In other words - graphic example, but not of the problems with copyright in as much as the problems of software written against the users' interests. It's perfectly legal to write software that you can print Aristotle's complete works from, or even that allows you to copy the whole thing to the clipboard. You just have to do a lot of typing and have happy people be your reward....

        • Judging by the pages of legal disclaimers at the Gutenberg Project's version of freely distributed public domain work like Aristotle's [ibiblio.org]

          Why is this "Small Print!" statement here? You know: lawyers.
          They tell us you might sue us if there is something wrong with
          your copy of this etext, even if you got it for free from
          someone other than us, and even if what's wrong is not our
          fault. So, among other things, this "Small Print!" statement
          disclaims most of our liability to you. It also tells you how
          you can distribute copies of this etext if you want to.

          i'm not sure i could afford the lawyers required to do so, even if i wanted to throw a few months away doing so ;)
    • Without copyright, if I write a cool app and want to sell it, I'd only sell it once before anyone who wanted it could just get it for free...

      A copyright term of *95* years instead of say 50 or even 14 years is not going to make you sell more software. What software did you use 14 years ago?

      - ask
    • I think the case itself is more focused on the term of the copyright laws rather than on the good vs. bad arguments about copyrights.

      An interesting editorial [washingtonpost.com] linked off of the Edlred case site [eldred.cc] has a good explanation of how this has worked through the judicial system. Two lower courts have rebuffed the plaintiff's argument, saying that the term of the copyright is up to Congress and the courts can't judge that. But one dissenting opinion in a lower court argued that Congress's actions (extending the copyright term, even for existing works, every few years as the deadline approaches for major companies such as Disney), amounts to a perpetual copyright, which is unconsitutional.

      I tend to think that having a fixed term copyright, regardless of length, is better than having a copyright that just keeps growing and growing.
  • I like the bit where he asks people if they have ever given to the eff while reminding them that they seem to have no problem contributing to The Man by paying their monthly telecom bill for shitty dsl service.
  • by tabdelgawad ( 590061 ) on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @04:47AM (#4068486)
    One of the pictures Lessig uses in the presentation (the Flash version) is this Venn diagram with a white background representing "unregulated use", a red circle representing "copyright", and a grey border around the red circle representing "fair use". He then points out that the red circle (copyright) has essentially expanded to completely cover the white background (unregulated use), leaving us to fight over the scraps of the grey border (fair use).

    What Lessig doesn't point out is that technology has completely blurred the boundary that used to exist between the red circle and the white background. In the absence of DRM, there is no meaningful distinction between publishing an e-book (red circle) and making a purchased version available to a few of your 'friends' on a p2p network (white background). Or, if you prefer, there's no meaningful distinction between purchasing an e-book from a publisher, and downloading it from your p2p 'friend'.

    In other words, the world is going to be all white or all red, not because Valenti, Rosen, and their ilk are trying to actively expand the red circle, but because technology has made the circle meaningless. The content distributors understand that they're fighting a 0-1 war, and know that their days are numbered unless they make the whole world 'red'.

    I don't think I'm being unfair to Lessig by saying he misses this particular point. One of the examples he uses was that sales of CDs only went down 5% last year, so the content distributors are presumably over-reacting. But that's too myopic. Within a few years, with unregulated technology, John Q. Public will be able to fire up their p2p client, type in the name of the album they want, stick a CDR in their burner, then go away for 15 minutes while the software queries freedb, downloads the songs on the album at CD quality, burns them to the CD-R, downloads the cover art and lyrics and sends them to the color laser printer. It could possibly even schedule a micropayment to the artist's account and put a shortcut on John Q. Public's desktop in case he decides the album was worth it.

    Who in their right mind would bother to buy a CD then?!
    • To be fair I think you missed him making the point. You could argue this is his fault (being the speaker) but he does make it.

      Basically he states that now all forms of use (reading it,.sleeping on it...etc) are now copying. This is what he's trying to show when the red circle expands to fill the whole of the white area. "The Internet" now means that all actions are copying, even those that in the real world (lending someone a book) arn't. So suddenly, all actions (including the p2p sharing you mention) come under copyright law.

      Remember, as he puts it, it's "law + technology" that give copyright holders control.

    • Yes, you are being unfair to Lessig. How changes in technology (plus the DMCA) affects the copyright was one of his main points! Go see it again! :-)

      CD quality, burns them to the CD-R, downloads the cover art and lyrics and sends them to the color laser printer. It could possibly even schedule a micropayment to the artist's account and put a shortcut on John Q. Public's desktop in case he decides the album was worth it.

      Who in their right mind would bother to buy a CD then?!

      uh, in what you described you just did, actually! You paid the artist, did you not? :-)

      And before you play that argument, you should read what Janis Ian [janisian.com] has to say. (Selling cd's and performing music is what pays her bills).

      Who is stealing now?

      - ask
    • What Lessig doesn't point out is that technology has completely blurred the boundary that used to exist between the red circle and the white background. In the absence of DRM, there is no meaningful distinction between publishing an e-book (red circle) and making a purchased version available to a few of your 'friends' on a p2p network (white background). Or, if you prefer, there's no meaningful distinction between purchasing an e-book from a publisher, and downloading it from your p2p 'friend'.

      No meaningful distinction? How about this - the sharing of copyrighted material over p2p networks without the copyright holders' permission is illegal and unethical...

  • Lessig gives some compelling reasons to believe, to really believe, in the truth of the "refrain".

    1. Creativity and innovation always
    builds on the past.

    2. The past always tries to control
    the creativity that builds on it.

    3. Free societies enable the future
    by limiting [the power of] the past.

    4. Ours is less and less a free society.
  • Anyone else get this feeling from listening to that?
  • ...this is it.

    I just sent the following email to some friends of mine who work at Disney.

    Dear friend, I hate spam as much as the next guy, so you will understand that I wouldn't be sending this email if it wasn't important. The following is a link to the audio and slides from a speech given by Lawrence Lessig, a professor of Law at Stanford University, on an issue that is very important to me - namely our freedom to create. http://www.perl.org/tpc/2002/lessig/ I would urge you to listen to it, it is about 30 minutes long, so put on your headphones and pretend you are listening to music ;-) If, after listening to it, you agree with me that this is an important issue, then please do as I have done and encourage your friends to listen to it, and to pass it on to their friends. All the best, Ian.

  • I have an idea. How about we let people keep the copyrights and source and guts of the stuff they make if they want. AND we also let people who want to give away the sourcecode and blueprints and even the product itself, give it away free of charge.

    Oh wait. We can do that now? You mean no one's forcing anyone to keep the source code private? Interesting. So what was the problem again?

  • <FLAME>
    What we need is a revolution!

    A REAL revolution.
    Revolution of the minds of individuals that make up this world.
    We have been led astray by the powers that be.
    Them being the money hungry capitalists.(WIPO, GATT, at the forefront and several keiretsu behind them)

    We need to get rid of the things that we don't need. Money, Copyright and other Oligarchic practices that are ruining this planet.

    We need to get more things more of the good things. Activation of the masses, Education of the masses, Democracy (People in a bipartisan corporate republic can shut up right about now!)
    , Restructuring the society for the humans that are creating it and not for the corporations that are thriving because of it and at its expense.

    Now who's with me?
    Anyone willing to create a world that they are proud to call home can contact me at my e-mail address.
    I'll send you an action plan.
    NOTE: I do not condone violence.
    Great speech by Lessig by the way. It inspired me to write the previous bit.
  • What CAN We do? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by alizard ( 107678 ) <alizard@NOspAM.ecis.com> on Wednesday August 14, 2002 @03:02PM (#4071779) Homepage
    I admire Lessig, but times have changed and he hasn't.

    We have brick-walled on what public interest political educational and advocacy groups can do. If we are to be able to make a living at high-tech, we can no longer afford to send delegations to DC to give dog and pony shows which will be greeted with polite applause and be followed up by backroom political deals involving money comming from Hollywood.

    Here's the minimum specification for starting something effective... along the lines of the NRA/AARP style political advocacy group I've been calling for which is the only chance we've got of reversing this tide before it rolls over our jobs.

    What would it take to form a REAL political activist group with a chance of winning?

    All it would take to start an organization along the lines of what I'm calling for would be for ONE person (or a handful of people) to hire a political organizer with experience, either out of NRA/AARP/etc. or one who understands their methods, an experienced political lobbyist, set up a domain, a server, a contract with a political fax server outfit (to do the "fax your legislator" setup), and a PAC registration... and announce on slashdot and Politech that "we're open for business"... that person doesn't even NEED to put together an overview, I've posted one in several versions.

    The startup budget might be as much as $200K. That just gets the office open, the Webserver up, and minimum support staff, to actually make donations to politicians means raising money... as in open your checkbooks, we as a group must at least match Hollywood's spending on politicians. The good news is that we as a group collectively have a hell of a lot more money than they do. All we need is a group to aggregate our donations and get them to our friends and our enemies' opponents.

    Note that there are people who've been saying "if you think this needs doing, why don't you do this?"... that's the answer. This is not something any random geek can put together, there's a cost of entry here and most of it goes to buy expertise that isn't in the average geek's head.

    Anybody who believes otherwise is wasting his time, and if you get sucked into his trip, yours as well. (Greetz, GeekPAC! - *snicker*) If you can't do this, don't start a group, wait until somebody else does that can. If nobody else appears, start making plans for America's non-tech future. Saying "We're gonna take back Congress" is a waste of time unless you have access to at least some budget and expertise.

    If nobody in our community can do this... as in pay the cost of freedom... we don't deserve it and we won't have it. We CAN win... but somebody's going to have to get together the framework described here to do this.

    Losing on this issue is going to cost anybody in a position to do anything serious about our situation a lot more than $150K.

    • Hate to be the first comment on my own post, but:
      Yes, I know that $150K != $200K, I revised one number when I should have fixed both.

      There are a lot of people who made have made their pile in high-tech, the latest ones being the ones who exited high-tech stock before the dot.bomb . If you are one of them, ask yourself "If Hollywood gets everything it wants unopposed, what are my chances of profitable high tech investment or starting a successful new technology with the Feds and Hollywood in control of what my company can and can't do? If you know one, show them this post and my other one on this thread.

      Here's a fair usage quote from a recent slashdotted article by Cory Doctorow which might help you answer this:
      "The tech companies at the BPDG had been there with the understanding that the BPDG's job was to establish a set of objective criteria for new technology. Those criteria might be restrictive, but at the very least, tech companies would know where they stood when they were planning new gizmos.

      Hollywood suckered the tech companies in with this promise and then sprang the trap. No, you won't get a set of objective criteria out of us. From now on, every technology company with a new product will have to come to us on its knees and beg for our approval. We can't tell you what technology we're looking for, but we'll know it when we see it. That's the "standard" we're writing here: we'll know it when we see it."

      Can you do business in this environment with CDTBPA thrown in and more legislation designed to lock down and lock out technology as Hollywood builds on its success? How much is it worth to you to have an America you can do business in?

      I'm asking you to open your checkbook, your Roladex, and give some of your time.

      The next person who asks you this in a few years may be asking for "your life, your fortune, and your sacred honor". It won't be me, I won't be in the USA at that point. I won't be able to make a living here.

      Of course, you might be looking forward to retiring in a non-tech, sleepy, backwater America where bright, ambitious kids emigrate and high tech is something you buy or have smuggled in from Japan or Europe or Canada. If this is your wish, just do nothing, the Senator from Hollywood and his friends will bring this to your door.

      If you who have benefited most from high-tech business are not ready to come forward and protect your own interests as well as those of the rest of us, fine. If your next vacation home or a high-end Lexus are more important to you, your money and your right to spend it as you please.

      When you discover that your choices to do technology yourself are to beg the government and DMCA/RIAA for permission and wait or to emigrate, at least you'll know who to blame. Not Jack Valenti or Hilary Rosen. The person you see whenever you look in the mirror. "Shoulda, coulda, woulda" won't stop the content industry from turning the US high-tech community into roadkill.

      I'm not nominating myself as the head of a geek-oriented version of the NRA/AARP.

      I can say that I know how to find that person and the other resources needed to get started. But nothing can be done without the seed money. The people we need to get this running don't work for free and the services we need have price tags attached.

      For the rest of you, if this happens, be ready to participate. No mass-action political organization works unless there are people who really will partipate, with your $5 and $10 and $100 and $1000 contributions, with the willingness to point-and-click a fax "message to Congress", talk to your non-tech friends, and to walk precincts for our friends if you're asked to do so.

      If this doesn't happen and Declan is proved right, the best advice I can give you is to start preparing for a future when there is no longer a significant high-tech presence in America. Will you emigrate or figure out how to make a living in a depressed economy that isn't ever coming back?

1 Mole = 007 Secret Agents