Lawrence Lessig/Internet policy proposals (2007)

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Lawrence Lessig, a professor at Stanford Law School and founder of the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, published six Internet policy proposals on February 1, 2006 under the title "Internet Policy: What Congress Should Do":

  1. Copyright: Orphan works
  2. Copyright: Remix culture
  3. Network neutrality
  4. Spam
  5. Harmful to minors material
  6. Deregulating spectrum

Contents

Proposals

Copyright: Orphan works

Lessig's original post:

"Copyright: Orphan Works: Orphan Works legislation is critical. Nonetheless, I strongly oppose the Copyright Office’s “Orphan Works Proposal.” I think it is extraordinarily unfair to current copyright owners, and insanely inefficient. My proposal applies an “Orphan Works Maintenance Requirement” to older works only; the requirement is a form of registration." [1]

Lessig later elaborated on his proposal, which would require owners of a copyrighted work to register their copyright after 50 years for a $1 fee or the work would enter the public domain. The U.S. Copyright Office has a competing proposal that uses the standard of a "reasonably diligent search" for copyright owners before works enter the public domain. Lessig criticized this as a mushy standard that would be a burden for librarians and archivists while allowing genuinely copyrighted works to be ripped off after a nominal search.

Main article: Orphan works legislation

Copyright: Remix Culture

Lessig's original post:

"Copyright: Remix Culture: Congress should carve a robust exemption to the law for non-commercial remix. Commercial use of such remixes should be regulated by a baseline statutory license." [2]

Network Neutrality

Lessig's original post:

"Network Neutrality: No surprise: I support Network Neutrality legislation. Unfortunately, too many of the reigning proposals are, imho, radically too difficult to enforce. I’ll propose a much simpler rule to enforce that would achieve the legitimate objectives of NN." [3]

Spam

Lessig's original post:

"Spam: The email system is broken. A bazaar of private remedies to deal with spam now clog the system to defeat many of its original objectives. I’ll propose a modified version of an earlier idea to deal with this problem — a problem that costs the American public many times the total profits of the recording industry, but has gotten but a fraction of Congress’s attention." [4]

Harmful to minors material

Lessig's original post:

"Harmful to Minors Material: There’s a simple and minimally burdensome way Congress could protect kids online from material deemed “harmful to minors.” Not perfectly, but certainly better than the current regime. And without constitutional risk." [5]

Lessig’s proposal would involve a mandatory html tag for all content considered “harmful to minors,” through a simple code such as “<h2m>.” While determining what qualified as “harmful to minors” material would be difficult, Lessig argues that it would be no more difficult than determining those characteristics in the real world and would be better than the alternative (legal inaction).[6]

Main article: Lawrence Lessig harmful to minors recommendations

Deregulating spectrum

Lessig's original post:

"Deregulating Spectrum: Crude radio technology used to make regulating spectrum necessary. Smart radio technology makes it — in many cases at least — unnecessary. We should be pushing to deregulate where technology makes that possible." [7]

Lessig later elaborated on his proposal, contending that government regulation of spectrum by allocating property rights to it can “destroy the potential for cheap, ubiquitous, uncontrolled access to the internet.” Lessig suggested that some spectrum should be regulated, and effectively auctioned by the government to bidders, who then own the legal right to use the spectrum. He also contends, however, that large amounts of spectrum, particularly “white space,” or unused space in spectrum, should be made available to the commons, who could use it freely without needing a government-auctioned license.

Main article: Spectrum#Larry Lessig policy proposal

Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch/Congresspedia resources

References

  1. Larry Lessig, "Internet Policy: What Congress Should Do," lessig blog, February 1, 2007.
  2. Larry Lessig, "Internet Policy: What Congress Should Do," lessig blog, February 1, 2007.
  3. Larry Lessig, "Internet Policy: What Congress Should Do," lessig blog, February 1, 2007.
  4. Larry Lessig, "Internet Policy: What Congress Should Do," lessig blog, February 1, 2007.
  5. Larry Lessig, "Internet Policy: What Congress Should Do," lessig blog, February 1, 2007.
  6. Lawrence Lessig, “COPA is struck down,” ‘’Lessing Blog’’, March 22, 2007.
  7. Larry Lessig, "Internet Policy: What Congress Should Do," lessig blog, February 1, 2007.

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