Larry Lessig on Creative Commons

I was lucky enough to take a long lunch and amble down to see Larry Lessig’s presentation at UCL on the Creative Commons Licenses last week, firstly it’s worth noting that Mr Lessig is a very slick speaker, he obviously invests a lot of time in his presentations and it shows. The slides were very shiny and incorporated a lot of multimedia, video clips ranged from a mash-up of a Charley Brown cartoon with an Outkast sound-track (the song was Hey Ya) to Blair and Bush singing love-songs; the latter was interesting as the whole video was created from public footage.

The multimedia fascination of the slides was something i wasn’t expecting from a lawyer, I’ve never seen Lessig speak before except at a FOSDEM, but they served two excellent purposes. Firstly they helped break the talk up into small digestible chunks, most people don’t really have the ability or desire to memorise details of licenses and copyright directives. These clips suited the audiences attention span and stopped people getting bogged down in the details.

The second more insidious tactic (IMHO) is mind-share, software isn’t that interesting to most people but music and video are. The more people that are aware of alternatives to the established monopoly players the better and while the FSF are well known in the tech world they have pretty much no real influence on the unwashed masses who buy most of the DVDs and CDs. Hopefully the Creative Commons will make more progress here.

The second part of the talk, which wasn’t performed by Larry Lessig, was an introduction to the UK version of the Creative Commons license. The short version is that we will soon have one, the long version can be found at the following links which I stole^Wborrowed from the newsletter that came out afterwards.

Thanks to Mark Simpkins, audio of the presentation is at: (80MB)

To discuss the UK licences, you can join the cc-uk mailing list:

The UK project pages are at: