Lawrence Lessig quotes

  • The war against illegal file-sharing is like the church's age-old war against masturbation. It's a war you just can't win.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #War #Winning #Age

  • I don't care if the Koch brothers or Soros spend their money to promote one candidate or another. I care about members of Congress spending 30%-70% of their time raising money from .05% of us. Change the way we fund elections and you change the corruption.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Brother #Care #Way

  • Before the monopoly should be permitted, there must be reason to believe it will do some good - for society, and not just for monopoly holders.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Believe #Reason #Monopoly

  • My work about corruption is to get people to see it less as a moral issue (right/wrong) and more as an economic issue (economies of influence and their effect).
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Issues #People #Moral

  • We are on the cusp of this time where I can say, "I speak as a citizen of the world" without others saying, God, what a nut.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Nuts #Citizens #World

  • I'm focused on solving the problem that would make it plausible for gov't to get back to solving real problems.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Real #Problem #Focused

  • A culture without property, or in which creators can't get paid, is anarchy, not freedom.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Culture #Anarchy #Creator

  • I'm all for experimenting with sortition - randomly selected representative bodies of citizens. But I don't favor direct democracy. We're busy. We have lives. There is reddit. Who has time to work out the right answer to the thousand policy choices a gov't must make all the time?
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Work Out #Choices #Democracy

  • If the Internet teaches us anything, it is that great value comes from leaving core resources in a commons, where they're free for people to build upon as they see fit.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #People #Leaving #Internet

  • I advocate for protecting the liberty of the net, and securing privacy. I argue against people who believe both are somehow given automatically. They're not.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Believe #People #Liberty

  • Copyright law has got to give up its obsession with 'the copy.' The law should not regulate 'copies' or 'modern reproductions' on their own. It should instead regulate uses--like public distributions of copies of copyrighted work--that connect directly to the economic incentive copyright law was intended to foster.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Giving Up #Law #Use

  • I find focusing clearly on the problem is the first step to seeing a solution. The problem is (a) the insane amount of time spent raising money from (b) a freakishly tiny proportion of America. Basically .05% are the "relevant funders" of campaigns, meaning candidates can't help but be overly sensitive to the views of that tiny fraction relative to the rest of us. IF that's the problem, THEN the solution is to spread the funders out: to increase the range of us who are the relevant funders of elections, through schemes like vouchers or coupons given to every voter.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #America #Views #Insane

  • I am a big supporter of experiments to complement representative gov't with randomly selected representative bodies of citizens, sure. I think most Americans would be surprised to learn just how much better we are at gov't than our gov't.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Thinking #Would Be #Citizens

  • I don't support direct democracy because I want a life, and that means I want to select people who work for me who do that sort of work for me.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Mean #People #Support

  • I am big supporter of the idea of a global anti-corruption movement - but one that begins by recognizing that the architecture of corruption is different in different countries. The corruption we suffer is not the same as the corruption that debilitates Africa. But it is both corruption, and both need to be eliminated if the faith in democracy is not going to be destroyed.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Country #Ideas #Suffering

  • There is still the illusion that if we could declare corporations are not people or that money is not speech, all would be solved. Regardless of the good in those ideas, it wouldn't.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Ideas #People #Would Be

  • Change the way we fund campaigns. Until we do, Wall Street will always be able to blackmail the Dems and GOP to giving them what Wall Street wants.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Wall #Giving #Campaigns

  • Here's what we [Americans] need: a 30 second you tube video of some guy at a party constantly checking out everyone else at the party, while he pretends to be speaking to the other person. We're the other person. The guy are the politicians. And the distraction is the corruption: We need a Congress that can afford to talk to us. For at least one drink or so.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Party #Guy #Needs

  • I spend as little time with lawmakers as possible. Many are great. And more than you expect want real change. But they're not going to do anything till we, the outsiders, force them to adopt it.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Real #Want #Littles

  • There is a culture among academics to be obscure. If you're too clear, you can't be saying anything interesting. The issue isn't word length. The issue is a commitment to speaking in a way an audience can understand.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Commitment #Issues #Interesting

  • Creation always involves building upon something else. There is no art that doesn't reuse. And there will be less art if every reuse is taxed by the appropriator.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Art #Creativity #Reuse

  • The more important point, however, is not about what the money does. It's about what has to be done to get the money. The effect of the money might be (democratically) benign. But what is done to secure that money is not necessarily benign. To miss this point is to betray the Robin Hood fallacy: the fact that the loot was distributed justly doesn't excuse the means taken to secure it.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Taken #Mean #Missing

  • If you are explaining, you're losing. It's a bumper sticker culture. People have to get it like that, and if they don't, if it takes three seconds to make them understand, you're off their radar screen. Three seconds to understand, or you lose. This is our problem.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #People #Three #Culture

  • If the law imposed the death penalty for parking tickets, we'd not only have fewer parking tickets, we'd also have much less driving.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Law #Tickets #Death Penalty

  • The crystal ball has a question mark in its center. There are some fundamental choices to be made. We will either choose to continue to wage a hopeless war to preserve the existing architecture for copyright by upping the stakes and using better weapons to make sure that people respect it. If we do this, public support for copyright will continue to weaken, pushing creativity underground and producing a generation that is alienated from the copyright concept.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #War #Creativity #People

  • When you think about a presidential candidate spending all of his or her time talking to that tiny, tiny fraction of us who have the capacity to fund political elections, it's obvious why the perspective of government is skewed relative to what most Americans care about.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Thinking #Government #Talking

  • One theme of what I've been writing has been to get people to understand that "apolitical" means "you lose." It doesn't mean you live a utopian life free of politicians' influence. The destruction of the public domain is the clearest example, but it will only be the first.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Writing #Mean #People

  • The danger in media concentration comes not from the concentration, but instead from the feudalism that this concentration, tied to the change in copyright, produces.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Media #Danger #Produce

  • This does not mean that every copyright must prove its value initially. That would be a far too cumbersome system of control. But it does mean that every system or category of copyright or patent should prove its worth.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Mean #Patents #Doe

  • Creativity builds upon the public domain. The battle that we're fighting now is about whether the public domain will continue to be fed by creative works after their copyright expires. That has been our tradition but that tradition has been perverted in the last generation. We're trying to use the Constitution to reestablish what has always been taken for granted--that the public domain would grow each year with new creative work.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Taken #Creativity #Fighting

  • Politics is that rare sport where the amateur contest is actually more interesting than the professional.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Sports #Interesting #Contests

  • Lawyers rarely test their power, or the power they promote, against this simple pragmatic question: "Will it do good?" When challenged about the expanding reach of the law, the lawyer answers, "Why not?
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Simple #Law #Why Not

  • Permission from the government is an expensive commodity. New ideas rarely have this kind of support. Old ideas often have deep legislative connections to defend them against the new.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Government #Ideas #Support

  • There are a lot of people who say we need to cut the amount of money that's spent in politics. I'm not sure that I agree. But I am sure that if you were talking about cutting the amount of money spent in politics, the media would have a strong interest in opposing you, because they make an enormous amount of money from political advertisements.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Strong #Cutting #Media

  • If there were two candidates, a Democrat and a Republican, who each committed to the same kind of fundamental reform, then the election would be an election between the vice presidential candidates. It'd be just like the regular election, except it would be one step down.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Two #Presidential #Vices

  • You and I both know that as long as our representatives are held hostage to their funders - and their funders are not all of us - our system will not work
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Long #Hostage

  • While appropriation art is critical to art, it's an ambiguous art form in the world of the Supreme Court.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Art #World #Form

  • It might be crazy to expect a high government official to speak the truth. It might be crazy to believe that government policy will be something more than the handmaiden of the most powerful interests. It might be crazy to argue that we should preserve a tradition that has been part of our tradition for most of our history -- free culture. If this is crazy, then let there be more crazies. Soon.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Powerful #Crazy #Believe

  • As I've indicated, most books go out of print within one year. The same is true of music and film. Commercial culture is sharklike. It must keep moving. And when a creative work falls out of favor with the commercial distributors, the commercial life ends.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Moving #Book #Fall

  • Monopolies are not justified by theory; they should be permitted only when justified by facts. If there is no solid basis for extending a certain monopoly protection, then we should not extend that protection. This does not mean that every copyright must prove its value initially. That would be a far too cumbersome system of control. But it does mean that every system or category of copyright or patent should prove its worth. Before the monopoly should be permitted, there must be reason to believe it will do some good -- for society, and not just for monopoly holders.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Believe #Mean #Facts

  • The legal system doesn't work. Or more accurately, it doesn't work for anyone except those with the most resources. Not because the system is corrupt. I don't think our legal system (at the federal level, at least) is at all corrupt. I mean simply because the costs of our legal system are so astonishingly high that justice can practically never be done.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Mean #Thinking #Justice

  • We are a cut-and-paste culture. The aim of the protectionists is to argue that a cut-and-paste culture is criminal. Well, it's only criminal if there's nothing out there that you can freely cut and paste. If we increasingly mark material as available for these non-commercial uses, then people will have the opportunity to see its importance.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Cutting #Opportunity #People

  • A free culture supports and protects creators and innovators. It does this directly by granting intellectual property rights. But it does so indirectly by limiting the reach of those rights, to guarantee that follow-on creators and innovators remain as free as possible from the control of the past. A free culture is not a culture without property, just as a free market is not a market in which everything is free. The opposite of a free culture is a "permission culture" -- a culture in which creators get to create only with the permission of the powerful, or of creators from the past.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Powerful #Past #Rights

  • I think if the copyright regime focuses on the people we are supposed to be helping, the artists and creators, and builds a system that gives them the freedom to choose and to protect and to be rewarded for their creativity, then we will have the right focus.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Creativity #Artist #Thinking

  • Writing" is the Latin of our times. The modern language of the people is video and sound.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Latin #Writing #People

  • We live in a world with "free" content, and this freedom is not an imperfection. We listen to the radio without paying for the songs we hear; we hear friends humming tunes that they have not licensed. We tell jokes that reference movie plots without the permission of the directors. We read our children books, borrowed from a library, without paying the original copyright holder for the performance rights.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Song #Children #Book

  • There is a regulation of behavior on the Internet and in cyberspace, but that regulation is imposed primarily through code. The differences in the regulations effected through code distinguish different parts of the Internet and cyberspace. In some places, life is fairly free; in other places, it is more controlled. And the difference between these spaces is simply a difference in the architectures of control--that is, a difference in code.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Differences #Space #Different

  • I think the reality is that copyright law has for a very long time been a tiny little part of American jurisprudence, far removed from traditional First Amendment jurisprudence, and that made sense before the Internet. Now there is an unavoidable link between First Amendment interests and the scope of copyright law. The legal system is recognizing for the first time the extraordinary expanse of copyright regulation and its regulation of ordinary free-speech activities.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Thinking #Reality #Law

  • As more and more citizens express what they think, and defend it in writing, that will change the way people understand public issues. It is easy to be wrong and misguided in your head. It is harder when the product of your mind can be criticized by others. Of course, it is a rare human who admits that he has been persuaded that he is wrong. But it is even rarer for a human to ignore when he has been proven wrong. The writing of ideas, arguments, and criticism improves democracy.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Writing #Thinking #Ideas

  • There are very few people in our society who are actually free to say what they believe. I am in an extremely fortunate position in having this enormous gift of freedom and believe I should try to use it to do something useful for society. As long as I feel as if I have something to say, I'll continue to try to do that.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Believe #Long #People

  • So uncritically do we accept the idea of property in culture that we don't even question when the control of that property removes our ability, as a people, to develop our culture democratically.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Ideas #People #Culture

  • Now that copyrights can be just about a century long, the inability to know what is protected and what is not protected becomes a huge and obvious burden on the creative process.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Long #Creative #Inability

  • Notwithstanding the fact that the most innovative and progressive space we've seen - the Internet - has been the place where intellectual property has been least respected. You know, facts don't get in the way of this ideology.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Space #Intellectual #Way

  • Americans have been selling this view around the world: that progress comes from perfect protection of intellectual property.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Views #Perfect #Intellectual

  • All around us are the consequences of the most significant technological, and hence cultural, revolution in generations.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Generations #Revolution #Significant

  • A free culture is not a culture without property; it is not a culture in which artists don't get paid.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Artist #Culture #Property

  • A free culture has been our past, but it will only be our future if we change the path we are on right now.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Past #Culture #Path

  • Overregulation corrupts citizens and weakens the rule of law.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Law #Citizens #Rule Of Law

  • Overregulation stifles creativity. It smothers innovation. It gives dinosaurs a veto over the future. It wastes the extraordinary opportunity for a democratic creativity that digital technology enables.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Creativity #Technology #Opportunity

  • Technology means you can now do amazing things easily; but you couldn't easily do them legally.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Mean #Technology

  • And with a practice of writing comes a certain important integrity. A culture filled with bloggers thinks differently about politics or public affairs, if only because more have been forced through the discipline of showing in writing why A leads to B.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Integrity #Writing #Thinking

  • But, like all metaphoric wars, the copyright wars are not actual conflicts of survival. Or at least, they are not conflicts for survival of a people or a society, even if they are wars of survival for certain businesses or, more accurately, business models. Thus we must keep i mind the other values or objectives that might also be affected by this war. We must make sure this war doesn't cost more than it is worth. We must be sure it is winnable, or winnable at a price we're willing to pay.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #War #People #Survival

  • Freedom is about stopping the past.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Past #Stopping

  • Every generation welcomes the pirates from the last.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Pirate #Generations #Lasts

  • Why should it be that just when technology is most encouraging of creativity, the law should be most restrictive?
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Creativity #Technology #Law

  • In these times, the hardest task for social or political activists is to find a way to get people to wonder again about what we all believe is true. The challenge is to sow doubt.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Believe #People #Political

  • Believing we know what makes prosperity work, ignoring the nature of the actual prosperity all around, we change the rules within which the Internet revolution lives. These changes will end the revolution.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Believe #Revolution #Internet

  • Copyrights have not expired, and will not expire, so long as Congress is free to be bought to extend them again.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Long #Congress #Copyright

  • By the time Apple's Macintosh operating system finally falls into the public domain, there will be no machine that could possibly run it. The term of copyright for software is effectively unlimited.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Running #Fall #Apples

  • Remember the refrain: We always build on the past; the past always tries to stop us. Freedom is about stopping the past, but we have lost that ideal.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Past #Trying #Stopping

  • Monopoly controls have been the exception in free societies; they have been the rule in closed societies.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Monopoly #Exception

  • Creativity and innovation always builds on the past. The past always tries to control the creativity that builds upon it. Free societies enable the future by limiting this power of the past. Ours is less and less a free society.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Creativity #Past #Innovation

  • Money corrupts the process of reasoning.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Process

  • For however much the state may gain by not having to fund roads on its own, society would lose in aggregate if the open commons of transportation were lost.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #May #Gains #Lost

  • Some blame the drug companies. I don't. They are corporations. Their managers are ordered by law to make money for the corporation. They push a certain patent policy not because of ideals,but because it is the policy that makes them the most money. And it only makes them the most money because of a certain corruption within our political system-a corruption the drug companies are certainly not responsible for. The corruption is our own politicians' failure of integrity.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Integrity #Law #Political

  • Power runs with ideas that only the crazy would draw into doubt.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Running #Crazy #Ideas

  • [Conservatives] go to church, they do lots of things for free for each other. They hold potluck dinners. ... They serve food to poor people. They share, they give, they give away for free. It's the very same people leading Wall Street firms who, on Sundays, show up and share.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Wall #Motivation #Inspiration

  • While the creative works from the 16th century can still be accessed and used by others, the data in some software programs from the 1990s is already inaccessible.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Data #Creative #Program

  • Of all the creative work produced by humans anywhere, a tiny fraction has continuing commercial value. For that tiny fraction, the copyright is a crucially important legal device.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Creative #Important #Tiny

  • All of the great Disney works took works that were in the public domain and remixed them.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Internet #Domain

  • When government disappears, its not as if paradise will take its place. When governments are gone, other interests will take their place.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Government #Gone #Paradise

  • If the only way a library can offer an Internet exhibit about the New Deal is to hire a lawyer to clear the rights to every image and sound, then the copyright system is burdening creativity in a way that has never been seen before because there are no formalities.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Creativity #Rights #Library

  • A time is marked not so much by ideas that are argued about as by ideas that are taken for granted. The character of an era hangs upon what needs no defense.
    -- Lawrence Lessig

    #Taken #Character #Ideas

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