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A "Wireside Chat" with Lawrence Lessig

Posted by Christopher Shea  February 25, 2010 02:12 PM

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This week, a crank caller pretending to be the former Philadelphia Eagles star Brian Westbrook got onto a live ESPN news program. A number of web sites posted video clip of the gag, but try to play them today and you get a black screen and a message that the video "is no longer available due to a copyright claim by ESPN." Do they really have that power? Surely a one-minute snippet of a newsworthy corporate gaffe constitutes "fair use"?

The ability of corporations to control video on the web, and the consequences of the legal regime that allows such behavior, will be a central theme of a talk by Lawrence Lessig scheduled for 6 p.m. tonight at Harvard Law's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. It's being billed as a "Wireside Chat," and the official subject is "fair use, politics, and online video."

The Open Video Alliance is sponsoring the discussion, which will be streamed live using technology created by Flumotion, a company founded in 2006 by open-source developers.

You must RSVP (via the first link, above) if you want to attend the 45-minute chat in person (it will be followed by a half hour of Q & A). Several dozen institutions worldwide--from Stanford to the Creative Commons Salon in New Delhi--will also be holding events pegged to the discussion. Covering all the multimedia bases, the organizers say you can submit questions via Twitter, using the hashtag #wireside.
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About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
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Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.

Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.


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