Favorite People – Charlie Rose and Lawrence Lessig

Kasha and Katie ScottLast night was a Friday night and a night that was once the all important date night.

But now that I’m part’n parcel of a happily married couple, it was a night like many others except for the fact that I was wired as I entered the master bedroom that featured resting wife and snoring dog.

I was wired with ideas and spirit not because of substances, but high on new technologies I was evaluating earlier that day. Technologies like XAMPP, TikiWiki and Moodle – awesome open source tools that the more I learned about and experimented with, the more juiced I got with ideas for mapping to business opportunities.

So I entered the sleeping bedroom not knowing what to do next.

I knew I had to power down, but I also knew I probably wouldn’t get to sleep for another two hours or so.

Thus the issue became:

  • Do I enter the bedroom with laptop and continue to surf and educate myself about these technologies (yes, I have headphones, wireless keyboards, and illuminated keyboards so as to cut down on audio / video noise thus respect sleeping wife);
  • Do I leave laptop in office and flip the TV channels to find something fun to watch and relax (the TV was already on with low volume set to the Food Network);
  • Or, do I turn the TV off and pick up one of the many books that I have open and can’t wait to finish reading but need to turn the lights up to read ..??..

While tempted to continue computing with the wireless laptop, I opted to leave it in the office and first try the TV option via halfhearted attempt of channel surfing knowing I could dive into one of the books as fail safe option.

So I flipped and flipped and nothing exciting appeared on TV that I haven’t already seen on some of my favorite channels (e.g., history, travel, and discovery). But then the cosmos inspired me to flip to the PBS channel (channel 13) just in time to see Charlie Rose interview Professor Lawrence Lessig.

WOW! What a TV surprise – two of my favorite people, neither of whom know me but both of whom I respectfully honor.

Below is a video clip of that interview hosted on Google – enjoy!

I should also note that the reason I love this interview and these two people is partly due to their content sensibilities – e.g., Professor Lessig has been (and continues to be) instrumental in shaping the Creative Commons and argued CopyLefts (vs CopyRights) before the Supreme Court; Charlie Rose has been (and continues to be) inspiring with his objective and truthful coverage of multilateral thinkers, do-ers, movers-n-shakers, et al.

But back to the video clip. It is a dialogue between Charlie and Larry about many things including why Congress failed on copyright issues (simple issues), why Congress continues to fail on the big issues (e.g., global warming), and why Congress needs to change (e.g., upgrade to Congress 2.02b) in order to survive by serving the greatest good (a good thing) which is us (i.e., we the people – everyday people who vote, pay taxes, do our best to add to the system, get along, play by the rules, groove with the flow, just get by, hang on, etc.).

The big idea (as I understand it in this video interview) is that Congress needs to move from money focus to idea focus.

In the old days, I believe they called this Statesmanship – vs today’s vulgar political hack who sells out to special interests even though all parties involved are mostly in denial.

So the good news is that what once was old is new again – yippee – e.g., for best examples of Statesmanship see Founding Fathers.

And as they used to say in Brooklyn, “Go You Guys! Just You Go!”

The video above is currently hosted at the Internet Archives.

Some Additional Thoughts About this Interview

The interview is 38 minutes long and worth watching from start to finish yet the first 8 minutes or so, Larry talks about Obama and a bit about their Chicago connections.

At 8:34 in the video Larry starts talking about his book Remix – Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy.

I’ve read the book and thoroughly recommend it to everybody who wants to understand where the opportunities are or going to be in the future.

Around 9:46 into this clip Larry recounts John Phillips Sousa‘s 1906 testimony to Congress. Apparently John was worried that phonographs were replacing family-porch-time singing. This is interesting point as Larry states that John was advocating cultural norms that are innate to human cultures since dawn of time but in 20th century have all been lost – e.g., that we have become passive consumers of culture and creativity – the proverbial couch potato.

Around 11 minutes Larry hits home the point that all of human history has had sharing of culture at the center thus remixing is part of our human DNA.

His points about commercial communities coming to terms with sharing communities circa 13:47 and how Washington DC is no way in any shape to be helpful. The example of Chinese kids being arrested for sampling 20 seconds of video and the “sharecropping” approach to Intellectual Properties per George Lucas’ Star Wars mashup are both potent examples about how extremists are abusing copyrights.

Both of them talk about how this copyright problem is with media (audio, video) but no so with text in that nobody thinks one is stealing when quoting text but somehow, if one quotes a 20 second video or audio, that becomes criminal.

Thus they concur in that the real change will happen when business and cultural norms start to change.

From there they morph into Congress 2.0 and what needs to change there.

Larry goes on to share intimate details about his own child abuse and fighting for a pro bono client that ultimately prevailed in New Jersey Supreme Court. Yet the insanity of the Catholic Church arguing to protect the very laws that allowed abuse to grow in the first place.

Not that they are picking on the Catholic Church, but both of them talk about how the evil is not the evil-person at the center, but the quiet of non-action and looking the other way by normal people. Which gets back to the cultural norms.

They conclude the interview with a fascinating account about how Congress is like an addict – an alcoholic in this case. And that no amount of change will occur until Congress breaks its dependency on money. Once this dependency is broken we will then see sensible policies coming out of Washington.

When asked about the next big thing, Larry concludes that the unfolding read-write culture will continue to grow and one day we will look back at 20th century cynicism as thing of the past and how people will be filled with revival of ideas and sense that people can do something.

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