Larry Lessig is at it again. He's being brilliant, while making his point in a clear, concise way. In his latest opinion piece for the Red Herring he's made a point that I've been trying to make for years, and does it many times better than I've ever been able to articulate it. His point is that lawyers understand law, not business - and sometimes (perhaps often) try to enforce laws even though it's a bad decision for business. As an example, he talks about the comic industry in Japan. There's a huge thriving industry of amateur "copycat" comics, where fans create their own comics based on popular characters. There are even huge conventions for these types of comics. In the US, the lawyers would go after these copycats for copyright infringement. Even though the laws are similar there, the publishers realize that these amateur comics help build demand for their own product. It's a good business decision to let them stay, even if it goes against the law. Lessig suggests that management at American content companies realize that their lawyers don't have business or economics degrees - and instead are only good at explaining the law. The managers need to make good business decisions - which might mean not enforcing the law.
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