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August 21, 2002

Lessig v. Winer

Lessig: In response to Dave Winer

You can see what he's referring to here, and an attempt to reconcile both sides by Ernie the Attorney is here.

IANAL (always wanted to type that), but I find myself in agreement with Lessig on this one.

Lessig's distinction between "east-coast" and "west-coast" code doesn't refer to gangs of rapping hackers, but to Washington, DC code -- laws -- and to Silicon Valley code -- software representations.

It feels like Dave thinks the power of the weblog can crush all legal and political obstacles, but I don't think that's true. We've seen how the East Coast code trumps West Code a lot lately -- the DMCA and the Berman-Coble bill are just two examples.

Maybe, as Dave suggests, every member of the US House will have a weblog in 5 years, but I doubt it. I've spent some time surfing candidate sites in preparation for the primaries, and the sites are visual shovelware, and likely to remain so. First, the politicians don't see the web as influential, as compared to targeted media like TV and newspapers. Second, I can't imagine a politician giving his or her constituency a "comment" button, which is a big part of what makes weblogs powerful.

Even if they did all have 'blogs, it wouldn't signify a greater likelihood that they would come around to the consensus net position that Fair Use Is Protected Use or that Copyright Shouldn't be Forever. I'm sure they all use the same word processors we use, too, but that doesn't make them agree with "us".

August 21, 2002 | Permalink


Does anybody actually care what Winer has to say? He's constantly bashing other bloggers just because he doesn't see eye-to-eye with them... the man's ego is enormous. He seems to think he created blogging, which is far from the truth.

Blogging isn't political activism. Lessig is, again, dead right on the issue. Blogging just puts the ideas out there, but it doesn't do anything to put them into action.

Posted by: Zonker at Aug 21, 2002 8:38:59 AM

Action start with ideas. If ideas can't get out there, then there is no chance for action. Getting the ideas out there gets harder all the time as media companies condense into fewer, larger ones. Blogging isn't big enough to make much difference yet, but it may grow large enough to matter.

Does anybody care what Dave has to say? Yes, but that doesn't mean we agree with all of it. While it's true that Dave's ego seems pretty large --although his health problems may have deflated it a bit -- many people (obviously) like to read what he has to say.

Posted by: john at Aug 21, 2002 2:53:27 PM