Lessig explains the Eldred arguments

Prof. Lessig explains in his weblog about the legal issues that the Supreme Court will consider in deliberating on the Eldred vs. Ashcroft case (about whether Congress has the legal ability to extend copyright protection ad infinitum). Lessig’s explanation is far more helpful than most of the journalists and citizenbloggers who covered the arguments like a sporting event.
I hope that the decision in the spring comes out in favor of Eldred and the public domain. Either way (as I wrote on the comments page of Prof. Lessig’s blog), this is just one battle in a long war, with battlefields in the courts and congress and the press and the public.
If the Justices understand the problem, and Lessig felt they did, that’s one step forward. If technologists understand the problem, that’s a step forward. If a few politicians start to understand the problem, that’s another step forward. If the mainstream press starts to understand the problem, another step forward.
Pardon the rhetoric, but this is one of the major issues of our time. The rise of the internet has the potential to return to ordinary people the power to contribute to culture; a power that has been greatly diminished in modern times by the dominance of mass media. The entertainment industry would like to preserve its oligopoly on cultural expression, and is trying to use technology and the legal system to stifle our rights to culture.
This is a subject worth understanding and a fight worth fighting (assuming we don’t start World War 3, rendering the legal and cultural struggles of our society an academic subject for future archeologists.)

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