Lawrence Lessig talks about Creative Commons and Copyright

LessigJim Goldstein interviews Law Professor Lawrence Lessig for his podcast EXIF and Beyond.

In Goldstein’s podcast Lessig, founder of Creative Commons, discusses the purpose and objective of Creative Commons, his perspective on copyright law and addresses the question “How if at all the adoption of Creative Commons is hurting photographers”. He also shares more information about the recently announced CC+ license.

When asked about whether he feels that most people are up to speed on the rules of copyright law Lessig replied “Absolutely not. I mean, here is the fundamental design flaw of the copyright system. It was architected imagining that it would be implemented by about 150 lawyers around the United States who would be living in relatively large institutions and able to manage the intricacies of the system. And because of digital technologies this extremely arcane, complicated system of regulation now gets extended to everybody who wants to express themselves using creative work.”

As to why Lessig and his co-creators started Creative Commons? “When we saw this perfect storm on the horizon, we said we’ve got to build something that makes it possible to negotiate this mess that’s created by the conflict between the architecture of copyright law and the architecture of digital technologies.” he states.

Does he feel that CC is the only solution or the best solution? Says Lessig, “Id love it if the government tomorrow changed the law such that Creative Commons was no longer necessary” fantastic. But until the government does that, I think what CC is trying to do is to provide an infrastructure for that alternative to be built and the alternative, I think ultimately supports the project of copyright, it certainly doesn’t, given the alternatives, weaken it.”

It’s a great interview and I can’t possibly capture it all here, go have a listen! Jim has a transcript available on his website too.

If you are interested in hearing Lessig’s TED talk that Jim references in the podcast you can find it here.

In his TED talk, Lessig shares his very well-organized thoughts on user-generated content. His amusing beginning includes John Philip Sousa‘s 1906 statement of warning about the evil “talking machine” – the phonograph.

sousa.jpgSousa took his concerns all the way to the U.S. Capitol, concerned that the “talking machines” would so ruin the development of music and artistic talent because children would stop singing “the songs of the times and the old songs”. His most dire warning was that we would actually evolve away from speech, that “we will not have a vocal chord left” if the phonograph was allowed to take over and replace actual singing.

Lessig covers the idea of ‘trespassing’ and how we handled airplanes when they first began to fly the sky. It’s a great talk and you don’t want to miss the clips he uses to illustrate his points throughout.