i think this is more than appropriate for a post on independence day:
i have been a big fan of lawrence lessig since i read his books in college on copyright – his insight that a world where everything is copyrighted would diminish creativity made a lot of sense, and i shared his outrage with the sunny bono copyright extension (micky mouse protection) act showing the influence on corporations on unreasonable lawmaking.
what has fascinated me about lessig as a person was that he started out as a young republican, but let the knowledge he acquired shifted his views. he became a ‘liberal’ or more left-leaning scholar and has made great contributions in the area of copyright (or copyleft) law. and he has shifted the focus of his work yet again, and is dedicating 100% of his time on the issue of corruption in politics. if you’ve been reading my blog, you might know that this is one of the fundamental problems i see in the current system.
because he does not only follow his obligation as an academic but also as a citizen, he is working to get money out and people back in to politics with the organization rootstrikers. i encourage you to check it out!
the TED talk is great, because lessig is simply a great speaker whose presentation style has inspired countless others. but lessig’s magnum opus of talks was a lecture he gave when he was appointed professor at harvard.
the lecture honored the memory and work of Aaron Swartz, the hacker, activist and citizen who took his own life on Jan. 11, 2013 at the age of 26 after facing serious charges under the computer fraud and abuse act. i had heard of the incident, but i really didn’t know that much about swartz besides that he was one of the people behind the movement against SOPA/PIPA. lessig provides a fascinating account of swartz’ life and legacy and leaves no doubt that he was another hero of our time. he also warns about a dangerous direction the USA, once the model of freedom and diversity, has taken. so this is my ‘happy fourth of july’ contribution!