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Wireside Chat With Lawrence Lessig 52

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the preaching-to-the-choir dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Lawrence Lessig, the foundational voice of the free culture movement, will deliver a talk on fair use, politics, and online video from Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. You'll be able to tune in to a live webcast. The lecture by Lawrence Lessig will last 45 minutes, and will be followed by a 30 minute interactive Q & A session. The event will be moderated by Elizabeth Stark of the Open Video Alliance. Questions can be submitted using the hashtag #wireside. This is a talk about copyright in a digital age, and the role (and importance) of a doctrine like 'fair use.' Fair use allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders, and is essential for commentary, criticism, news reporting, remix, research, teaching and scholarship with video. As a medium, online video will be most powerful when it is fluid, like a conversation. Like the rest of the internet, online video must be designed to encourage participation, not just passive consumption. Tune in here on February 25th, 6:00pm US Eastern time (see more time zones), or check out our screening events in cities across the world."
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Wireside Chat With Lawrence Lessig

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  • "Lawrence Lessig, the foundational voice of the free culture movement ..."

    Oh, I bet that statement just burns his biscuits ;-)

  • no (Score:3, Funny)

    by JeanBaptiste (537955) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @06:24PM (#31278836)
    As a medium, online video will be most powerful when it is fluid, like a conversation.

    Conversation is best as a plasma or some form of hot ionized gas.
    • Unless you are a particle physicist in which case conversation is a quark gluon plasma: lots of interactions but nobody can quite agree of what actually happened.
  • by HaeMaker (221642) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @06:25PM (#31278840) Homepage

    I still wish Lessig was appointed to head the FCC.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      I still wish Lessig was appointed to head the FCC.

      Republicans would shit themselves if that ever happened. They'd just use their 41-59 majority to filibuster him or if he somehow got confirmed, they'd try to smear him to get him to resign, like they have in so many other cases.

      The lesson is that if you work for the executive branch and you make legal excuses for torture, warrantless wiretaps, death penalty for the mentally retarded or big monetary gifts to wall street firms, you're a hero. But if it is eve

      • by dissy (172727)

        But if it is ever discovered that ten years ago you called a Republican an "asshole", you're clearly beyond the pale and not fit to work in government.

        I'd be interested in seeing how that one goes.

        [Republican] Mr Lessig, it seems you called all republicans assholes in this post here *hands paper printout of url to a fourm post, excluding the actual post of course*

        [Lessig] Well, you voted to put a mentally damaged child to death. That does make you an asshole.

        [Republican] see you just did it again! rawr!!

        [

        • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          Good one, dissy,

          but more likely, it would just be a matter of Hannity and Beck screaming about how Lessig is a communist because he's an academic, which means he's an intellectual, so he's got to be a liberal.

          Night after night of that, and asking the question: "When did Lessig stop having sex with babies. The question must be asked!" and Mr Lessig would just say "fuck it, I don't need to be in government after all".

          And the nation would be poorer for it.

  • Remix? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dcollins (135727) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @06:33PM (#31278940) Homepage

    "Fair use allows limited use of copyrighted material without requiring permission from the rights holders, and is essential for commentary, criticism, news reporting, remix, research, teaching and scholarship with video."

    I call shenanigans. How did "remix" sneak into the middle of that list? U.S. Copyright Title 17, Section 107:

    ...the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

    • by Ltap (1572175)
      It's an acceptable addition - despite recent changes and additions, most copyright law is still from a century ago or more.
    • If you're careful, it's not impossible to pass off a well-done remix as a criticism of the remixed works under U.S. fair use law. Start with Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music [wikipedia.org].
    • Re:Remix? (Score:5, Informative)

      by srussia (884021) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @07:01PM (#31279264)

      . How did "remix" sneak into the middle of that list? U.S. Copyright Title 17, Section 107:

      ...the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

      That is not an exhaustive list. It goes on to say:

      In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

      the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

      the nature of the copyrighted work;

      the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

      the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

      • Re:Remix? (Score:5, Informative)

        by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @07:52PM (#31279672) Homepage

        It's not even a very meaningful list. Just because a use falls within the list, that doesn't make it a fair use, and just because a use doesn't fall within the list, that doesn't make it not a fair use. The list is basically just a loose suggestion, and IMO confusing and somewhat pointless. Since the four factor analysis is what actually matters for determining whether a use is a fair use or not, I'd just as soon see the Copyright Act amended to get rid of the list. And if there are uses that are deemed so important that they should always be allowed, they should get new exceptions just for them, rather than relying on fair use.

        • by Kjella (173770)

          This reminds me a little of the Bill of Rights discussion on whether or not they should enumerate rights because it'd lead to only considering those rights and ignore unenumerated but possibly equally valid rights. Granted, the list may be less legally precise than the four factor test but I think it sets a much clearer idea of what the scope should be. After all, despite the four factor test saying you should consider "the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as

    • by drfreak (303147)

      When in Recording College, I learned that fair use for things like sampling was limited to a certain number of notes. Things have likely changed since 1993-1994, but I'm pretty sure things are still pretty much on that level.

      You can rip-off a complete song as a parody "sang to the tune of", but to sample someone else's work to put into your own is not as trivial. Many rap and hip-hop artists still need to license the works of others -even a few seconds worth- in order to incorporate them into a new original

    • Anyone else got the remixs of Lawrence Lessig on Stephen Colbert going around in their head now after reading this article?
  • Webcast (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 25, 2010 @06:38PM (#31279000)

    The webcast will be available in Microsoft Windows Media Video, Apple Quicktime Sorenson and Realnetworks RealMedia V5.

  • by bcrowell (177657) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @07:46PM (#31279622) Homepage

    If you're in a country such as the U.S. that has fair use or something similar, it's important to assert your right to use it. Over the last 50 years, copyright law has been relentlessly shifting in favor of copyright owners, to the point where a lot of people don't realize that fair use even exists.

    As an example, I teach at a community college, and at our fall convocation a couple of years back, they passed out brochures put out by a publishers' association about how it's totally illegal to sell course packs without getting permission and paying royalties. The school officials who agreed to pass it out apparently had no clue that fair use existed. If you put a complete short story by Hemingway in a course pack, then, yeah, you're probably not covered by fair use. But if you take a single graph out of a scientific paper and put it in a course pack, then you're absolutely covered by fair use.

    It's just like any other freedom. If we want fair use to remain viable, we have to (a) realize it exists, and (b) have the guts to use it.

    • And when I read your sig, all I see is AAAAARRRRR!!!!!

      I kid, I kid ;)
    • by bws111 (1216812)
      Why would selling course packs fall under fair use? Certainly a teacher giving handouts of a graph from a paper could claim fair use, but selling them? And there is no such thing as 'absolutely covered by fair use'. You can claim fair use, but it is up to a court to decide whether or not your particular use is in fact fair.
      • by bcrowell (177657)

        Why would selling course packs fall under fair use? Certainly a teacher giving handouts of a graph from a paper could claim fair use, but selling them?

        The criteria are summarized here [wikipedia.org]. There are a couple of things to note: (a) Criterion #1 contrasts "commercial" with "nonprofit educational." "Commercial" is not the same thing as "selling." My community college sells lots of things (food in the cafeteria, ...), but it's not a profit-making enterprise. (b) The four criteria are not supposed to be and-ed tog

  • Well? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Will Lessig explain why, if free / creative commons works are so much better, why he refuses to use those licenses for his most current works? One would think that his actions would follow his words, but they do not. Guess when it comes to feeding himself and his family different rules apply.
  • He made a comment basically stating that he would be OK if copyright law was something like 50 years MAX, but where after the first 5 years, you would have to reassert yourself, and if you didn't it would become public domain.

    I will assume that he means EVERY 5 years you would have to reassert yourself.

    I would think the Gov't (US specifically) would be all on board with this idea, considering it could mean the Entertainment industry would be writing them a big fat check every 5 years.
    (of course that would p

    • by bws111 (1216812)
      It doesn't cost anything to copyright anything. As soon as you create it, it is copyrighted. If you want to register the copyright with the US Copyright office it costs $35 if you register online.
    • by selven (1556643)

      I would think the Gov't (US specifically) would be all on board with this idea, considering it could mean the Entertainment industry would be writing them a big fat check every 5 years.
      (of course that would probably mean those big fat checks to "supporters" personal banking accounts would stop)

      Tax / fee money goes to the government. The people running the government would prefer money to go to the politicians, which is what the entertainment industry is providing.

  • name : claim : employer : primary product of employer
    Lessig : freedom : Harvard : corporate lawyers
    Stallman : freedom : MIT : corporate technocrats

  • I would like to contribute these three links to the discussion.

    http://blip.tv/file/3120038 [blip.tv]

    http://www.thenation.com/doc/20100222/lessig_video [thenation.com]

    http://nitn.thenation.com/2010/02/03/sign-the-petition-to-change-congress-now/ [thenation.com]

    I came across them last week. They concern a lecture by Lessing on the problems of governing America, on 'Institutional Corruption' in general and of Congress in particular.

    Worth looking at.

    A.

  • http://reason.com/blog/2010/02/06/video-nick-gillespie-debates-c [reason.com]
    I think Lessig's fundamental problem is a belief that government ennobles.
    Virtue adds like resistance in parallel, and an organization is measurably worse that its biggest cretin.
    Trust government, but verify.

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