Monday, November 09, 2009

Lawrence Lessig at Educause 2009

'You Geeks Have to Become Radical Militant Activists'
The face of evil, projected 20 feet tall on a screen behind Lawrence Lessig, belonged to Britney Spears.

The face of good belonged to composer John Philip Sousa.

Mr. Lessig, the Harvard Law School professor, was giving a keynote address at Educause 2009. He argued that intellectual property in education had been taken over by an exclusive-rights model represented by Ms. Spears, the pop diva. That model has pushed out another one based on community collaboration—represented by the composer of 'Stars and Stripes Forever,' who longed for music created by neighborhood singalongs.

The 'ecology of education and science,' Mr. Lessig said, is inherently collaborative, and it is being strangled by copyright-law principles based on exclusivity.

It is time to fight back, he told his audience, adding: 'You geeks have to become radical militant activists.' Scientists and educators are busy creating, he continued, so it is up to chief information officers and other information-technology specialists to devise ways to make those creations both legal and widely accessible.

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