Is the law strangling creativity?

November 13, 2007

In this TED talk Stanford Professor and chair of Creative Commons, Larry Lessig presents his argument that the law is strangling creativity. In particular he argues that amateur culture (those who produce for the love not the money) is not the same as amateurish culture and the internet is moving us back to a read-write culture as distinct from read only one. He makes the compelling distinction between piracy/plagarism and using the tools of creativity for literacy in this new generation of digital technology.

He pins down the key shortcomings of our dusty, pre-digital intellectual property laws, and reveals how bad laws beget bad code. Then, in an homage to cutting-edge artistry, he throws in some of the most hilarious remixes you’ve ever seen.

Why is it that you need permission to copy? and if you want to create something ‘new’ you are defacto a trespasser because you have to copy? And why does copy equal plagarism in the eyes of the law – and indeed those who are resistant to new technologies? He advocates that artists/creative types make their work freely available through Creative Commons licences and finishes by suggesting that we can’t make our kids passive – we can only make them pirates. It’s a fascinating 18 minutes – do yourself a favour and tune in.