The Cranky Copyright Book

Issues & questions that
Joe Clark’s upcoming book on copyright for creators will address

After you lose at the Supreme Court, why not change your career?

I’ve been reading Lessig for years. I saw one of his legendary Keynote presentations (they’re just as good as you’ve heard they are). I have more than a passing familiarity with Lessig’s work. (The same goes for Lessig’s Canadian wannabe, Michael Geist, whose presentations aim for Lessigian and end up merely ersatz.)

Lessig and his band of merry followers achieved exactly zero legislative change. In fact, he lost at the U.S. Supreme Court. Apart from getting yourself disbarred, there is no greater failure in American legal practice. Seriously, then: Why is Larry Lessig the de facto copyleftist leader?

In this section of The Cranky Copyright Book, I will spend ages rereading the entire œuvres of Lessig (and Geist). I’ll listen to all their interviews and watch all their presentations. And I’m going to write the first independent analysis of either of them that isn’t financed by corporate copyright interests and isn’t the work of a novelist with a horse in the race.

The following should not be such a radical idea, but maybe corporate copyright and Creative Commons are two sides of the same coin – rapacious collections of individual creators’ copyrights. It’s just that Lessig (and Geist, and probably you) think corporate rapacity is evil, while their kind isn’t rapacious at all.

This is gonna take a while

If this page is short on details, it’s because I have hunches I need to confirm (or, less likely but possibly, disprove) via Lessig’s and Geist’s actual work. I’d prefer to be thorough, and that’s gonna take a while. The important issue, as I see it, is an overemphasis on shared or community value of copyrighted works (the culture or the “creative commons”) at the expense of the individuals who create those works.