Brian Knappenberger's The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz is available to watch for free in its entirety thanks to the Internet Archive. [more inside]
Now, there's good news and bad news about this corruption. One bit of good news is that it's bipartisan, equal-opportunity corruption. It blocks the left on a whole range of issues that we on the left really care about. It blocks the right too, as it makes principled arguments of the right increasingly impossible. So the right wants smaller government. When Al Gore was Vice President, his team had an idea for deregulating a significant portion of the telecommunications industry. The chief policy man took this idea to Capitol Hill, and as he reported back to me, the response was, "Hell no! If we deregulate these guys, how are we going to raise money from them?" [more inside]
"These discussions are thoughtful and measured, but the premise that frames them all is shaky; Lessig doesn't offer much proof that a Soviet-style loss of privacy and freedom is on its way. … Unlike actual law, Internet software has no capacity to punish. It doesn't affect people who aren't online (and only a tiny minority of the world population is). And if you don't like the Internet's system, you can always flip off the modem." — David Pogue is the creator of the ''Missing Manual'' series, which will include guides to Mac OS 9, Outlook Express and Windows 2000.
Has politics gone peer-to-peer? A rich 90-minute panel discussion with Steven Johnson, author of "Future Perfect: The Case for Progress in a Networked World", featuring Yochai Benkler, Susan Crawford and Lawrence Lessig.
Lawrence Lessig, erstwhile Free Culture advocate now given to fighting corruption on a larger scale, delivers a commencement address. "There is no one in the criminal justice system who believes that system works well. There is no one in housing law who believes this is what law was meant to be. In contracts, you read about disputes involving tens, maybe a hundred dollars. The disputes of ordinary people. These disputes are not for the courts any more. Or if they are, they are for courts that are an embarrassment to the ideals of justice from our tradition. The law of real people doesn’t work, even if the law of corporations does."
How Money Corrupts Congress (previously) - John Baez sez: "It's easy to get distracted in a thicket of issues. Thoreau said 'There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.' But what's the root? Watch this video for Lawrence Lessig's answer."
[Login required] At Wikimania 2006, Founder Admits Wikipedia's Shortcomings and Announces New Projects At this past weekend's conference, Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia's founder, acknowledged that "[it] is not as good as [Encylopaedia] Britannica yet" and spurred contributors to "improve the quality of existing...articles instead of rushing to create new ones." Wales also announced a number of new initiatives involving One Laptop Per Child, Wikiversity, and the German version of the encylopedia. Stanford University professor Lawrence Lessig cheered Wikipedia for playing an important role in "democratizing knowledge" and spurring a new burst of individual creativity.
A free, blogger-read version of Lawrence Lessig's new book, Free Culture is being produced. The book is released under a Creative Commons license which allows non-commercial derivative works to be created from it. (Some chapters are already available.) This is great - I think it would be a fine thing if more people produced audio versions of open-licensed or public domain works in this manner. (From boingboing)
How I Lost the Big One Lawrence Lessig on losing Eldred v. Ashcroft: "We had in our Constitution a commitment to free culture. In the case that I fathered, the Supreme Court effectively renounced that commitment. A better lawyer would have made them see differently."
This NYT article on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), written by Prof. Lawrence Lessig (author of an excellent book on copyright law and policy in the digital age), raises concerns that were academic prior to the recent arrest of a Russian software programmer at a Las Vegas computer security convention for violation of the act's Sec. 1201(a)(1)(A)'s anticircumvention provision. Is Lessig right that Sec. 1201 essentially makes coders (and their employers) into de facto lawmakers and, if so, is this a bad thing? If Sec. 1201 is bad policy, are there any more reasonable alternatives for effectively protecting access to software and/or providing negative incentives for the unauthorized use of software? (NYT article, registration required)