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TED Conference: Reporter’s Notebook

Publication Date: 
March 11, 2007
San Francisco Chronicle
Ellen Lee

Professor Lessig is quoted in this story about the TED [Technology Entertainment and Design] Conference in Monterey. Here is what he had to say on copyright:

Technology is transforming pop culture, Stanford law Professor Lawrence Lessig told the crowd Friday.

For example, he showed some popular, user-generated clips, which take pieces of copyrighted music and video, mash them up and create something new, something of their own. Like the popular YouTube video that shows an actor playing Jesus singing Gloria Gaynor's disco classic, "I Will Survive." That kind of content has been made possible by cheaper filmmaking equipment and software, and fueled by popular online video sites such as YouTube, where millions of these clips can be seen.

"This is how our kids speak," he said.

But in trying to protect its property, the entertainment industry is going to extremes, Lessig said. It shouldn't be taking down user-generated creations that borrow copyrighted material.

That's not the solution, he said, and the market must develop an answer. The latest technology has shaped the next generation. "We can't stop kids from using it," he said. "We can only drive it underground."