Reactions to Lessig’s Keynote Speech at ABA Techshow 2011

I was pleased to be in the room (alright, the second row) when Professor Larry Lessig gave the keynote speech for ABA Techshow 2011.

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In the speech, entitled “Code is Law: Does Anyone Get This Yet?“, Lessig discusses some of the problems with copyright law’s application to regulate the digital world. I can’t adequately summarize the speech; it needs to be experienced. Here is a link. Lessig makes effective use of Keynote as the presentation platform and sprinkles the speech with video clips that demonstrate the Remix culture.

I was particularly struck by his evocation of John Philip Sousa‘s concern that recorded music would stifle culture. Sousa was worried that the youth would no longer gather and sing the old songs, or the songs of the day. Lessig proposes that Sousa would approve of the Remix culture as a modern day example of what he wanted to preserve.

At the end of the speech, Lessig tied these concerns about copyright law and internet regulation into a call to action to support the grassroots organization he helped start, Rootstrikers. Lessig proposes that many of the problems with current copyright law come from issues with how our politicians are funded. I personally doubt this by itself will bring the desired change, but it can’t hurt.

The rest of Techshow was also remarkable. I enjoyed the Macintosh and e-discovery sessions. I also learned some good workflows for integrating my new iPad into my practice. All in all, it was another remarkable conference. I am looking forward to Techshow 2012, which will be from March 29-31. Perhaps I will see you there.

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