For someone who has followed Lawrence Lessig’s career for a while and read his work, there was little new in his Wireside chat last Thursday. The Open Video Alliance streamed the chat around the world, and, locally, members of the Ohio State University had a chance to watch it at Thompson Library. Lessig touched on his usual themes: the harm to society and culture that comes from long copyright terms; the importance of remix in our life today; and his decision, after losing Eldred v. Ashcroft, to concentrate on combating political corruption. His presentation followed his usual style as well and was filled with audio and image clips from a variety of sources. My favorite comment is one I first read in his “For the Love of Culture” essay in The New Republic–“Copyright is among the least efficient property systems known to man.”
But the fact that these are not new points for Lessig doesn’t make them less true. When a video of his talk was uploaded to YouTube, the audio track was first removed and then restored when Lessig filed a counterclaim, on the basis of fair use.