Probably what bothered me most, and prompted my earlier post @lessig: unfollow? was what I perceived to be a summary order issued by Lawrence Lessig to those of us who subscribe to his Identi.ca feed or follow him on Twitter. It seems I’m not the only one to become upset with his microblog comment. But he really didn’t mean it in the way it sounded, and today @lessig let some of us noisier microbloggers know that he’d meant no offense.
Lawrence Lessig is an Internet luminary. He’s a legendary copyfighter, one of the founders of Creative Commons as well as founding Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society . He’s on the board of The Software Freedom Law Center as well as a former Electronic Frontier Foundation board member.
And Lessig has done a great deal already to make the world a better place for me and my family, and you and yours, with his iwork on copyright and Internet governance. He didn’t have to justify himself to us, but he cleared the air just the same. If anything I’m more impressed with Mr. Lessig than ever for taking the time to correct a total stranger’s misunderstanding. After all, some of my radical copyright notions have been informed by reading or listening to his words. So I’m glad I was wrong.
Of course, this doesn’t stop me from having issues around the “Pledge” promo, particularly with respect of privacy but also with the Paramount promo and profit from the film.
@lessig took the time to explain that he is not happy with the very same privacy issue, but his goal is to get the film made and out there. And Paramount can provide wide distribution to do it.
So I think I understand where he’s coming from, but I continue to be concerned. So I will reiterate my main concerns here:
To make the pledge, you must surrender your email address, your zip code and your Date of Birth…. Hmmm… Isn’t it the EFF that cautions people about giving out personal identifiers, because it only takes three identifiers and it’s hasta la vista privacy?
Fund raising for Paramount Pictures is a backward way of funding education.
People in the documentary business don’t get rich. I don’t know what a major movie studio like Paramount budgets for a feature film documentary but if it’s a million dollars I’d be very surprised. Even before digital cameras and Internet distribution brought the costs down enormously, I suspect that $100,000 would have been considered big budget for most documentaries.
So although I don’t have numbers or contracts, I do know that no matter how good this film is, the cost to make it will not come anywhere close to what a feature film would cost. If Paramount was making this documentary as a good deed, after costs are recouped all of the income from it should rightly go to help the cause: the failing American education system. But I doubt very much that Paramount has any intention to walk away without also making a profit.
In which case Paramount Pictures stands to gain from the plight of the American school children in this film.
Particularly at a time when the MPAA, which certainly includes Paramount in its membership, is spending vast amounts of industry funding lobbying for A.C.T.A. around the world. In fact, right now many Canadians are anxiously waiting to find out of our government is going to try to foist a Canadian DMCA on our legislature.
If the only a fraction of what the MPAA spends lobbying for A.C.T.A. was spent on schools, every American public school could be a charter school.
I’m not sure how it works in the United States, but a lot of the erosion in Canadian public services– like education– over the past few decades seems a direct result of the fact that these days big businesses pays little or no tax.