very moderate? I have this picture of Richard Stallman piggyback riding Joseph Utsler through Disneyland with a flamethrower as a modest proposal.
I take some offense at the derogatory use of 'very moderate' to describe him. I will admit I am a bit of a fanatical fan, but I don't see how his 'moderation' could be interpreted as 'soft', as I feel you are implying.
Each side has declared war. Hollywood has gone so F***ing insane with copyright to buy and manipulate our culture and government that many people refuse to acknowledge any respect that copyright could hold. The Pirate Bay is a monument to the damage and hostility created by the content cartel. If there was any 'moderation', aka, embrace of current technology, and respect of the progress clause of the constitution, the Pirate Bay would not exist because there would be no need.
With opinions so violent on both sides, it is amazing Lessig has seen through all the BS, knowing what people want, was creators want, and the beauty of a read/write culture, he has given tools to artists like creative commons to artists that let them do what they always wanted to do. Lessig enables people around the bullshit, not someone going around trying to CONVINCE people things need to be a certain way. I feel he opens peoples hearts to what they already knew.
By contrast, we have FOSS guys like RMS. I respect him and use a lot of his software. I love what he has enabled. But His ideal is one that only respects freedom to consumers. I hate proprietary as much as any other Linux fanboy, but I don't think a developer that wants to keep some part of his project private is evil, so long as it doesn't become some kind of standard or requirement the way Windows is required for most computer purchases. I am reminded every once in awhile that my problem with proprietary is when it is not a choice, and I don't understand why.
and "utterly broken" is extreme. it is a binary opinion that generalizes it as a whole, to say that none of it works at all. That is extreme, and just not true. Lessig gets very technical about the parts that are broken. His focus in Free Culture, IMO, was scope, derivative / remixed works (fair use really wasn't about derivative works), orphaned works, and the hunting down and labeling of children as terrorists work wanting to be a part of their own culture.
One thing I think of in terms of a shorter copyright term is that it would apply to GPL works too. If copyright was, say, back to 14 years, how much of the Linux Kernel would become public domain where derivative works would no longer have the protection of "share-alike"?
I see him as an extremist who is well educated, and rational about about the feelings around copyright law. He is not a man without enemies for his opinions.
There are parts of copyright law that absolutely defy common sense, but there are parts that are technical and common sense does not bring about the right solution. For example, the constitution leaves the power of determining and changing the length of copyright term to best meet the needs of the people to promote science and the useful arts. And as far as common sense goes, Ashcroft WON on the 'common sense' argument of "why shouldn't Disney be able to retain complete control over what THEY made?'. I think what is lacking is some maybe difficult to understand science of what kind of copyright would "promote science and the useful arts", not common sense, because common sense may not be the understanding to most people what it is to you or I.
It is like free market: 'common sense' (of a certain uneducated type) says that the government should be able to come in and fix every little problem with just the right regulations and controls, but for those that have read the works Mesis or Smith would understand how 'economic planning' by a bureaucratic governmental entity doesn't work / can only work in certain ways.
I think common sense has taken over in government, replacing logic and rationality. My common sense says 'look at the damned Constitution', but what common person do you think even knows it is in there?
With all the people that know, love, and respect Lessig, I can bet that his voice will carry a lot of weight if he uses the position to the best of his ability. Power is not given, it is harnessed. Want to see the position have no power? Give it to RMS.
Lessig is by far the best man for this position, or the best person to advise Obama on who should get the position. After Lessig, I would pick William Patry, then pretty much anyone they would agree would be best. I can't imagine the position going to someone they would dislike.
I would be very curious to know who you think is more extreme then Lessig that has made a real contribution. Ok, maybe Fredrik Neij or Peter Sunde, but that's never going to happen.