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The Billboard Q & A: Lawrence Lessig

Publication Date: 
February 14, 2009
Antony Bruno

Professor Lawrence Lessig is interviewed for Billboard magazine about his thoughts on the state of what he calls "the copyright wars" and legislative solutions:

Lawrence Lessig Stanford Law School Professor As he prepares to take a new position at Harvard, the legal scholar explains why he thinks the music industry should embrace copyright reform.


Billboard: What are some of the bigger misconceptions that people have about your ideas for copyright reform?

Lessig: The first big mistake is that people confuse my work with the growing copyright abolitionist movement that is out there. I'm fundamentally not a copyright abolitionist. I believe copyright is an essential part of the creative industry and culture is richer both in the money sense and in the diversity sense with copyright than without it. My objective is to find ways to update copyright and make it make sense in a different technological context, and that should be an objective shared by people who are in the industry.

The second thing is the industry is focused on the problem of an enormous number of people illegally accessing copyrighted material not paying for it. That's a significant problem, but there are other problems in copyright that we need to think about systemically to figure out how best to update it for the 21st century. Copyright law purports to regulate an enormous range of activities that there's no good reason to regulate.