The Compleat Troller on Sand Hill Trek — I was amused by the blog entry on Sand Hill Trek. Read it. Apparently there is a big to-do over a recent column in PCMag online about my befuddlement over the whole Creative Commons concept. Uber-blogger Doc Searls finally got caught up in it. You can read the controversial column by clicking here. The untold backstory is that Prof. Larry Lessig (the developer of the Creative Commons thing) wrote to me complaining about my jumping to conclusions and failing to grasp, uh, well, anything!

He challenged me to a duel. Actually a debate, but in the modern era, it’s the same thing. He made it clear that he wants a verbal, not written debate. I considered that an off-handed compliment. But I’m not a complete slouch verbally — just slower. Some years back Lessig suggested putting together one of those crossfire type TV shows where the two of us ream guests from our two different perspectives. We’ve worked togehter in various venues. I’m from Berkeley and am a fiscal conservative-libertarian while he’s from Stanford and is an old-time progressive. What could be more entertaining!

So I’m thinking that maybe we should produce this debate for TV and podcasts. my lawyer friends tell me that I’m likely to have my ass handed to me unless I beef up my weak arguments. Meanwhile, Lessig went on vacation.

The plot thickens.

  1. Ima Fish says:

    John, there are only two possibilities concerning the Creative Commons movement. Either it’s being funded by the content industry, e.g., the RIAA, Disney, etc, or it’s being run by a bunch of ignorant idiots. Let me explain.

    Who would most benefit if the Creative Commons movement succeeded? Would the consumer? Nope, because the vast majority of content he or she would want to copy would still be locked up by the current content industry, e.g., the RIAA, Disney, etc. They are NEVER going to use the Creative Commons license. EVER.

    Thus the entity that would benefit most would be the content industry. Essentially, a two tiered system of copyright would develop. There would be commercially viable content protected by normal copyright and DRM and the second tier would be a random assortment of music, web content, etc that would essentially be in a pseudo-public domain.

    And this is how the content industry would use it to their advantage. The next time copyrights were about to expire, the content industry would go to Congress and point to the success of the Creative Commons movement as an example of a huge public domain from which the public could be served. Thus, there would be no need for a real public domain of commercially viable works as the Creative Commons pseudo-public domain would serve that purpose.

    I simply do not see how the Creative Commons approach solves our current problem of perpetual copyrights. If you can, as Lessig that question. How does his movement solve the real problems of copyright?!

    Like I said, if he truly believes that one day Disney will start using the Creative Commons license he’s an ignorant idiot. And if he doesn’t, he’s only helping to give the content industry the perpetual copyrights it so desperately wants.

  2. Boris says:

    If your ass does get handed to you, please be sure to post pictures of it.

  3. Anthony says:

    How in the world were you amused by that?

    It’s nothing but biased praise. It pretty much says you are too quick to judge, but despite this flaw he would never argue with you.

    It’s shallow at best.

  4. James Hill says:

    Yes, John. Please do something to extend the fifteen minutes this lot is tied to.

    Of course, the entire debate will be over once someone asks “So how do you make money off of this?”

  5. mr. astute says:


    For the love of god, i implore you… debate Larry with one of those crappy Plantronics mics you have.

  6. Jim Dermitt says:

    I was looking at purchasing copyrighted premium news content for republication on a website. One article for one month was $150.00. I can understand why. They have to pay the writer, it goes through an editorial process and then there are the costs of publishing the content. I can link to the article, which is on a news website, if I want to share it on a website and it costs nothing.

    Here is a link on Privatizing the University–the New Tragedy of the Commons. Science, Vol 290, Issue 5497, 1701-1702 , 1 December 2000 Copyright © 2005 The American Association for the Advancement of Science

    Privatizing the University is worth reading. I’m not an authority on copyright. I can’t see corporations using Creative Commons to share content. The Science Mag article uses copyright. It is published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science which is “ADVANCING SCIENCE, SERVING SOCIETY” They write, “Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of one million. The non-profit AAAS is open to all and fulfills its mission to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy; international programs; science education; and more.” They are not using Creative Commons, they are still using the copyright. I guess you can still advance science and serve society with the good old copyright in place. AAAS is non-profit, so you would think Creative Commons would be their cup of tea. They are not using Creative Commons. Why? Maybe copyright can’t be improved or Creative Commons isn’t needed.

  7. Jim Dermitt says:

    One funny copyright!
    Copyright © 2005 (and a lot of shit stolen from Microsoft) Maybe Creative Commons would of been a better way to go.

    Glanced from the Dvorak Files

  8. Jim Dermitt says:

    Here is my conclusion on the Creative Commons.
    Not that I spent a whole lot of time figuring it all out, it seems like everything else digital. It can’t really hurt the quality of information and should help it move more seamlessly across domains. It seems like it is designed to eliminate barriers, which is a good thing. Copyrights are great for certain information and Creative Commons does not hurt copyrighting. I guess it doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it just provides a little axle grease. There is no sense in throwing a monkey wrench into Creative Commons. It can only expand the area of information sharing. It isn’t elitist and it won’t solve all of our problems. I can’t see it creating any new problems. The show must go on, as the saying goes. I’m sure Creative Commons will keep evolving and growing. It looks like users find value in it and it isn’t costly or bad for your health. I have nothing against it. It can’t replace copyrights and I don’t see why anybody would want to do that. It’s an agenda geared toward academic minded folks. Can you make money with Creative Commons? That’s the bottom line here.

  9. Jim Dermitt says:

    1936, that was the year.
    Hey trollers, fishermen and used car salesmen out there.
    What an idea! A must see!
    A car driven into the water so that fish can swim in and be trapped.
    Chevrolet Leader News (Vol. 2, No. 3) (1936)
    Creative Commons license: Public Domain

  10. ME says:

    When you meet Larry Lessig, are you planning to make him duel you in the Octagon? … Can I “ref” the match? … I’ll use the “Shanghai Kung Fu Rules”


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