Here’s how I came to be so interested in intellectual property, in policy, and the technical aspects of both of these things. I’ve traced some of my more structured fascination back to this Keynote (as opposed to PowerPoint) presentation by Lawrence Lessig. This presentation built on the anger I felt when I saw that Tom Dooley was a copyrighted work. My grandmother taught me Tom Dooley, and Cotton Pickin’ and Mountain Dew, and in my copy of Rise Up Singing they were all copyrighted. I was filled with righteous anger. How could people make money off of works which I learned from my grandmother? What did it mean that I could not publically perform songs which she told me she had learned back home in Tennessee when she was a girl?
I am sure, being the vocal person I am, I brought up my anger in one of my classes with Ms Nace. Later, she sent me this keynote:
In the version I had, the last slide was a list of websites I could go to if I wanted to learn more. The Electronic Frontier Foundation was one of them. I applied for an internship, got it, and here I am today, four years later, in love with the Berkman Center and planning on Law School after undergrad.
In support of the presentation above, I found this amazing graph:
I found it when I was researching the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998. The graph is, fittingly, licensed under Creative Commons Share-Alike License. It is also fairly damning evidence of the stead historical increase in copyright terms. This is a trend which I have never heard fully explained–do we in 2008 need so much more protection than Mark Twain or Ernest Hemingway or The Brothers Grimm?
Dick Armey – “You cannot get ahead while you are getting even.”