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March 4, 2004

More on Piracy from Larry Lessig

Wired is running a bit by Larry Lessig, excerpted from his book Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity.

The Hollywood film industry was built by fleeing pirates. Creators and directors migrated from the East Coast to California in the early 20th century in part to escape controls that film patents granted the inventor Thomas Edison. These controls were exercised through the Motion Pictures Patents Company, a monopoly "trust" based on Edison's creative property and formed to vigorously protect his patent rights.

California was remote enough from Edison's reach that filmmakers like Fox and Paramount could move there and, without fear of the law, pirate his inventions.

Will have to see if I can squeeze at least one of Larry's books into my book queue this year.

I thought Larry's speech at OSCON 2002 was incredible and moving, the best keynote speach I've seen at OSCON (although Larry Wall's State of the Onion that year was quite good too). I'm not terribly alert about the political front and find Larry's work a good source of information and inspiration.

Posted by mike at March 4, 2004 1:25 PM