Lawrence Lessig Discusses Political Reform At RedditBy: Chris Richardson - July 2, 2013
If you are a fan of either enjoying or creating YouTube mashups with content developed by another artist to your heart’s fair-use content, Lawrence Lessig is a person you should really be aware of. Lessig is, perhaps, the most credentialed and articulate individuals regarding the freedom of expression, especially the kind expression the Internet allows. Aside from being a professor at Harvard, the outspoken scholar is also the founder of Creative Commons, and is a renowned expert on issues regarding copyright and trademark laws. Aside from being a champion of creative entities like Girl Talk, Lessig is also something of a political watchdog who actively speaks out against the current climate of US politicians following the money when it comes to enacting policy.
The culmination of Lessig’s ideas concerning how to stem the tide of special interests groups–ones with deep pockets that are full of cash–was demonstrated during a recent TED Talk that focused on political corruption:
The next step in Lessig’s spread-the-word campaign was to conduct a Reddit AMA (ask me anything), that, as of this writing, is still going on. The decision to court Reddit’s audience is a wise on by Lessig, especially when you consider just how outspoken Reddit’s audience can be. For instance, if you don’t think the incredibly negative feedback from Reddit concerning the upcoming Xbox One didn’t influence Microsoft’s decision to eliminate many of DRM features that the outcry was focusing on, you probably aren’t keeping up.
Word of mouth is still a powerful tool, and underestimating the influence of one of the web’s most popular sites, a site that features an incredibly outspoken following, is foolish.
With that in mind, it makes perfect sense for Lessig to address a group that is largely comprised of like-minded individuals. Furthermore, Lessig was a huge supporter of the deceased Aaron Swartz. As indicated, the focus of Lessig’s visit was discussion surrounding how to combat corrupt politics.
werddrew 22 points 59 minutes ago
I see money in politics being a “chicken and the egg” problem. The legislators who would have to pass the law getting money out of politics are the legislators who got in place by being good gaming the “money in politics” system.
How the heck do you even START to address a problem this deeploy rooted? I imagine you acknowledge this issue, since the name of your organization is “root strikers.” Is there a practical step beyond “awareness” that can be taken?
lessig 24 points 50 minutes ago
Awareness is the gasoline. Spread it broadly, and a tiny spark can ignite change. (Hey, not so bad for on the fly…) And look at states where a similar change was made: Activists in Connecticut spent years pushing that issue, spreading awareness. And when the governor was convicted for corruption, change happened.
pixelperfect3 21 points 58 minutes ago
You advocate in your book that congressmen should be paid much more than what they are right now (about $175,000/year). How much do you think they should be paid to make them lose the incentive to become a lobbyist? Does 250-300k sound better?
lessig 35 points 47 minutes ago
Oh please don’t out me on this. Ok, but DON’T TELL ANYONE I SAID THIS: They are lawmakers. Why aren’t they paid as much as a first year partner at a DC firm? In Singapore, gov’t ministers get paid $1 million a year. Where is corruption in Singapore. NO-where.
As indicated, the AMA looks like it is still active, with Lessig answering the following question about 4-5 minutes ago, Rbob48: “favorite cereal?” Lessig: “unprocessed oats.” There may still be time to get your questions in, if you hurry.