Some interesting news was brought to my attention this morning, via Wes Fryer, that Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig will be shifting his focus from academic work, to what he calls the “corruption” of the political process. He states that “our government can’t understand basic facts when strong interests have an interest in its misunderstanding.” It became clear to me that this was no 180 degree turn for Lessig, but in fact directly related to his work on copyright and IP issues. He sees the constant renewal of certain copyright holdings (can you say Mickey Mouse?) as, to put it bluntly, idiocy.
Lessig’s post about his reason’s for tackling these issues is a must read. He emphasizes that corruption is in quotes when he talks about the political process. However, he is serious in changing the influence money has on the workings of congress.
“And so an economy of influence bends public policy away from sense, always to dollars.”
He also states that we should be aware of the “corruption of professions”, implying that it perpetuates our political corruption. He is tired of “whining” about it and will work for the next ten years in this new direction. He says he realistically feels that the problem will still be there at the end of ten years’ time, but he will at least make an attempt.
He is also offering up his considerable volume of writings to ccMixter, the Creative Commons sponsored site that makes remixes completely legal. This is all a fascinating development from one of the great minds in academia, and the optimist in me thinks he might well suceed.