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From the TEDxNYED event this past Saturday in New York, one of my favorite big thinkers, Lawrence Lessig with an excellent presentation on openness and the remixing of culture.

Although the theme of this great set of talks was supposed to be education, even in the broadest sense Lessig never really makes the connection.

So, it’s up to you. Every educator needs to understand how our intellectual property laws are making unwitting criminals out of our most creative students.

Remixing Colbert

Last Thursday on the Colbert Report, Stephen’s guest was Lawrence Lessig, who argues in Remix, his current book, that something is wrong with our intellectual property policies in this country.

Totally failed war. For ten years we’ve been waging this war. Artists have gotten no more money, businesses have not gotten more profit, and our kids have been turned into criminals.

Society, Lessig argues, should instead be encouraging and celebrating the remixing of media and all kinds of creative ideas.

In the course of the discussion, they differed about who owns the recording of that particular segment, with Lessig claiming joint ownership.

And, as co-owner, he said that anyone had the right to remix the segment. Which, of course, is just what happened.

The lawyers at Viacom must be going nuts.

Stamp of Approval on Creative Commons

Lawrence Lessig blogs some “huge and important news” about Creative Commons and other open source licensing systems.

In essence, a Federal Appeals court has ruled that they are valid and enforceable.

In non-technical terms, the Court has held that free licenses such as the CC licenses set conditions (rather than covenants) on the use of copyrighted work. When you violate the condition, the license disappears, meaning you’re simply a copyright infringer. This is the theory of the GPL and all CC licenses. Put precisely, whether or not they are also contracts, they are copyright licenses which expire if you fail to abide by the terms of the license.

I don’t understand all the legalese behind what the court decided, which is why I read Lessig in the first place.

He’s the expert and if he’s “very very happy”, that must be good for all of us who use CC, both as creators and consumers.