Lawrence Lessig

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Weblog: Lawrence Lessig

Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, is one of the most outspoken defenders of fair use and fights for what he considers a sane copyright policy. He supports copyright, with some exceptions, but with considerably shorter terms and weaker protection than currently used. His proposal on software copyrights, for example, is that they should only last 10 years, and that the source code for software must be put in the public domain after that period as well (source).

He has written two well received books about the Internet, code, and ideas, aptly titled "Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace" and "The Future of Ideas".

He is one of the lawyers representing Eric Eldred in Eldred v. Ashcroft, and one of the instigators of the Openlaw Project, which aims to improve legal arguments through online collaboration. He is also the chair of the Creative Commons Project, an attempt to list and categorize open content that can be freely copied, as well as make it easy to select the correct license for a creation.

He is on the board of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and tries to get donations for them wherever he goes. :-) He makes up for it with energetic and impressive speeches that usually hit the nail on the head. In the progressive technology community, he is something of a hero, but the wide exposure of his opinions also sometimes makes him the subject of harsh criticism. He is also a member of the Free Software Foundation's (FSF) board of directors.

In september 2002, Lessig created controversy in the technology community with his article Anti-trusting Microsoft, which argues in favor of Microsoft's Digital Rights Management and Trusted Computing platform Palladium (as opposed to Hollywood's plans).

In march 2004 Lessig published his book "Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity" on paper and as PDF under a Creative Commons license. Slashdot posted a review (Groklaw article). infoAnarchy's review by Robin.

Quotes

"I believe that copyrights, properly defined and reasonably balanced, ought to be defended by copyright owners, and organizations (whether the RIAA or others) devoted to defending such rights."

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