Larry Lessig, probably most famous for starting the Creative Commons movement, has announced that he will be spending the next 10 years of his life investigating and trying to help solve problems around the corruption in politics. This is an incredible statement for many reasons.
I have decided to shift my academic work, and soon, my activism, away from the issues that have consumed me for the last 10 years, towards a new set of issues: Namely, these. “Corruption” as I’ve defined it elsewhere will be the focus of my work. For at least the next 10 years, it is the problem I will try to help solve.
I do this with no illusions. I am 99.9% confident that the problem I turn to will continue exist when this 10 year term is over. But the certainty of failure is sometimes a reason to try. That’s true in this case.
Nor do I believe I have any magic bullet. Indeed, I am beginner. A significant chunk of the next ten years will be spent reading and studying the work of others. My hope is to build upon their work; I don’t pretend to come with a revolution pre-baked.
Instead, what I come with is a desire to devote as much energy to these issues of “corruption” as I’ve devoted to the issues of network and IP sanity. This is a shift not to an easier project, but a different project. It is a decision to give up my work in a place some consider me an expert to begin work in a place where I am nothing more than a beginner.
I think history has already shown that Lawrence Lessig is one of the most visionary of men alive today, especially when it comes to intellectual property and law. It’s incredible to think he will be changing fields completely, to attack a problem even larger than the problem around copyrights, which is certainly large enough for one man or even one movement (Creative Commons.)
I think what is most impressive about Larry Lessig is his fearlessness. I wish him luck and hope there may be some way I can support his efforts in the future.