Lessig & Publisher President Debate Google Lawsuit
“The D; All Things Digital session featuring Random House’ Richard Sarnoff and Lawrence Lessig provides a candid picture of the difference of opinion about the meaning and value of copyright. Lessig, a lawyer, is reported to have lambasted Sarnoff for “unleashing” Random House’s lawyers to “suck value out of [the information] economy.” Predictably, because it’s easy to dislike lawyers (and because, as a lawyer, Lessig sounds noble making this statement) he got riotous applause.
“But I think it’s a little too easy to applaud lawyers complaining about lawyers when the problem is a question of, as Lessig said, “the digital destiny of American culture or world history” The lawyers are the sideshow, the problem is how to pay for the culture Mr. Lessig wants to preserve, and lawyers aren’t the experts I’d rely on for culture. After all, with rare exceptions, lawyers don’t produce writing or video or music that anyone would want to read, see or hear except to pass a test.”
Rational Rants. Lessig’s Razor. June 1, 2006.
Note: An abbreviated transcript of this speech appears in a special section published Monday, June 19, 2006, in The Wall Street Journal.
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