Larry Lessig Challenges ASCAP Boss To A Debate Over Whether Or Not Creative Commons Undermines Copyright

from the throwdown dept

We've already written a couple of times about ASCAP's bizarre anti-artist decision, as part of its fundraising campaign, to falsely imply that Creative Commons, EFF and Public Knowledge are seeking to undermine copyright. So far, about all this has done is piss off a bunch of ASCAP members who actually like these groups (especially those who use Creative Commons). Larry Lessig has now written a response, where he points out that Creative Commons relies on copyright and doesn't seek to force anyone to use it at all. It just offers artists more choices in how they license their music. More interesting, however, is that Lessig then challenges ASCAP's president, Paul Williams, to a debate on the topic:
So here's my challenge, ASCAP President Paul Williams: Let's address our differences the way decent souls do. In a debate. I'm a big fan of yours, and If you'll grant me the permission, I'd even be willing to sing one of your songs (or not) if you'll accept my challenge of a debate. We could ask the New York Public Library to host the event. I am willing to do whatever I can to accommodate your schedule.

Let's meet and address these perceived differences with honesty and good faith. No doubt we have disagreements (for instance, I love rainy days, and Mondays rarely get me down). But on the issues that your organization and mine care about, there should be no difference worthy of an attack.
So, will ASCAP and Williams -- who has been on an anti-Lessig rampage for a while now -- step up and actually debate? And if Williams agrees to such a debate, will he finally stop making false claims about these groups?

Filed Under: copyright, debate, larry lessig, paul williams
Companies: ascap, creative commons, eff, public knowledge


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  1. identicon
    Bill Rosenblatt, 14 Jul 2010 @ 8:53am

    I'd love to see this debate too...

    Folks like the ASCAP guys are really interested in protecting a system that gives them negotiating advantages through its very opaqueness. I'd like to see them defend this aspect of it.

    The beauty of Creative Commons (though I'd consider it to be incomplete in its current form) is that it rejects opacity in favor of simplicity and the ability to be understood by lay people. Last time I heard people from ASCAP and RIAA try to defend their existing systems (against the chief counsel of YouTube on a panel discussion a few months ago), they hurt their own cause by failing to agree amongst themselves on arcana such as when a server cache copy requires a license.

    The average content creator neither knows nor cares about such things - she just wants to get paid. Systems that survive on inertia and inscrutability are always ripe for replacement by more efficient and transparent alternatives to which people can gravitate. Unfortunately, the EFF's proposed idea of a "voluntary Internet tax" fails most of these criteria (in addition to being both commercially unworkable and oxymoronic).

    Still, I'd love to see this debate.

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