Professor Lessig goes to Washington
Eldred v. Ashcroft was argued before the Supreme Court on Wednesday. Nice profile of Lessig by Stephen Levy. By all accounts, it was a sobering hearing. Here’s a wonderful blog by a non-lawyer who sat in on the session. Business Week did a good piece on the significance of the Eldred case in September. There’s a good roundup of the case and its coverage here. The plaintiffs’ document centre is here. And here is Larry’s home page.
The Economist has a nice piece about him. “A Ralph Nader of the Internet, he fights against the mighty corporations that want to squeeze the vitality out of the web, trampling consumers in the name of Mammon. Were his target a cigarette company, say, Hollywood would already be making ‘Lessig, the movie’. Instead, it has branded him a cultural anarchist bent on justifying the rampant theft of others’ property in the name of ‘openness’ — ie, a direct threat to its bottom line. This week, Mr Lessig landed another blow, arguing his case before America’s Supreme Court.”
The article expects Lessig to lose but concludes: “Mr Lessig is surely correct that creativity in a media-obsessed culture relies on easy access to existing creative works. Disney itself, he points out, has thrived in large part by exploiting stories already in the public domain, such as ‘Snow White’ and ‘Cinderella’. On the other hand, America’s mighty entertainment industry faces a genuine dilemma: how to use the digital revolution to make loads of money when new technology can turn customers into its biggest enemy. Mr Lessig and his fans want to ensure that, far from embracing the revolution, Hollywood and its allies do not simply strangle it.”
And still more…
The “NYT” reported that “the statute’s challengers knew they had not scored a decisive victory. ‘My sense is that the case could be in trouble, ‘Charles Nesson, the co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, said afterward at a lunch reception. ‘They saw the problem, but they didn’t necessarily buy our solution.'”