Lessig: "Do Something"
At the end of his keynote address to the O'Reilly P2P audience in Washington DC, Lawrence Lessing said, "So I've flung myself across the continent to tell you this one thing ... please do something."
Lessig's statement was an appropriate conclusion to three days of intense discussion at the conference focusing not only on the technologies of P2P and web services, but the political and legal aspects too. Anyone who immersed his or herself into these issues had more than enough information to decide where to stand on these issues.
Lessig's message was now that you have the information, act upon it. If you agree that technological innovation is being threatened by powerful old school entities such as the RIAA, then take a few moments to educate your political representatives, or to write a check to those who are willing to do it for you such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
The verbiage of Lessig's speech was consistent with articles he's published for O'Reilly including Fight for Your Right to Innovate, Code + Law, An Interview with Lawrence Lessig, and The End of Innovation?. What has changed is that Lessig's call to action has become more emphatic.
My inclination, having seen Prof. Lessig speak four times this year, is to take him seriously when he says we are at a critical moment in time. Personally, I'd hate to look back ten years from now and think that my inaction contributed to the end of free innovation, and then say to myself, "I wish I had done something."
Derrick Story is the author of The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers, The Digital Photography Companion, and Digital Photography Hacks, and coauthor of iPhoto: The Missing Manual, with David Pogue. You can follow him on Twitter or visit www.thedigitalstory.com.
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