Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles I want to talk about what we learn from conservatives. And I'm at a stage in life where I'm yearning for my old days, so I want to confess to you that when I was a kid, indeed, I was a conservative. I was a Young Republican, a Teenage Republican, a leader in the Teenage Republicans. Indeed, I was the youngest member of any delegation in the 1980 convention that elected Ronald Reagan to be the Republican nominee for president. Now, I know what you're thinking. (Laughter) You're thinking, "That's not what the Internets say." You're thinking, "Wikipedia doesn't say this fact." And indeed, this is just one of the examples of the junk that flows across the tubes in these Internets here. Wikipedia reports that this guy, this former congressman from Erie, Pennsylvania was, at the age of 20, one of the youngest people at the Republican National Convention, but it's just not true. (Laughter) Indeed, it drives me so nuts, let me just change this little fact here. (Laughter) (Applause) All right. Okay, so ... perfect. Perfect. (Laughter) Okay, speaker Lawrence Lessig, right. Okay. Finally, truth will be brought here. Okay, see? It's done. It's almost done. Here we go. "... Youngest Republican," okay, we're finished. That's it. Please save this. Great, here we go. And ... Wikipedia is fixed, finally. Okay, but no, this is really besides the point. (Applause) But the thing I want you to think about when we think about conservatives -- not so much this issue of the 1980 convention -- the thing to think about is this: They go to church. Now, you know, I mean, a lot of people go to church. I'm not talking about that only conservatives go to church. And I'm not talking about the God thing. I don't want to get into that, you know; that's not my point. They go to church, by which I mean, they do lots of things for free for each other. They hold potluck dinners. Indeed, they sell books about potluck dinners. They serve food to poor people. They share, they give, they give away for free. And it's the very same people leading Wall Street firms who, on Sundays, show up and share. And not only food, right. These very same people are strong believers, in lots of contexts, in the limits on the markets. They are in many important places against markets. Indeed, they, like all of us, celebrate this kind of relationship. But they're very keen that we don't let money drop into that relationship, else it turns into something like this. They want to regulate us, those conservatives, to stop us from allowing the market to spread in those places. Because they understand: There are places for the market and places where the market should not exist, where we should be free to enjoy the fellowship of others. They recognize: Both of these things have to live together. And the second great thing about conservatives: they get ecology. Right, it was the first great Republican president of the 20th century who taught us about environmental thinking -- Teddy Roosevelt. They first taught us about ecology in the context of natural resources. And then they began to teach us in the context of innovation, economics. They understand, in that context, "free." They understand "free" is an important essential part of the cultural ecology as well. That's the thing I want you to think about them. Now, I know you don't believe me, really, here. So here's exhibit number one. I want to share with you my latest hero, Julian Sanchez, a libertarian who works at the, for many people, "evil" Cato Institute. Okay, so Julian made this video. He's a terrible producer of videos, but it's great content, so I'm going to give you a little bit of it. So here he is beginning. Julian Sanchez: I'm going to make an observation about the way remix culture seems to be evolving ... Larry Lessig: So what he does is he begins to tell us about these three videos. This is this fantastic Brat Pack remix set to Lisztomania. Which, of course, spread virally. Hugely successful. (Music) And then some people from Brooklyn saw it. They decided they wanted to do the same. (Music) And then, of course, people from San Fransisco saw it. And San Franciscans thought they had to do the same as well. (Music) And so they're beautiful, but this libertarian has some important lessons he wants us to learn from this. Here's lesson number one. JS: There's obviously also something really deeply great about this. They are acting in the sense that they're emulating the original mashup. And the guy who shot it obviously has a strong eye and some experience with video editing. But this is also basically just a group of friends having an authentic social moment and screwing around together. It should feel familiar and kind of resonate for anyone who's had a sing-a-long or a dance party with a group of good friends. LL: Or ... JS: So that's importantly different from the earlier videos we looked at because here, remix isn't just about an individual doing something alone in his basement; it becomes an act of social creativity. And it's not just that it yields a different kind of product at the end, it's that potentially it changes the way that we relate to each other. All of our normal social interactions become a kind of invitation to this sort of collective expression. It's our real social lives themselves that are transmuted into art. LL: And so then, what this libertarian draws from these two points ... JS: One remix is about individuals using our shared culture as a kind of language to communicate something to an audience. Stage two, social remix, is really about using it to mediate people's relationships to each other. First, within each video, the Brat Pack characters are used as a kind of template for performing the social reality of each group. But there's also a dialogue between the videos, where, once the basic structure is established, it becomes a kind of platform for articulating the similarities and differences between the groups' social and physical worlds. LL: And then, here's for me, the critical key to what Julian has to say ... JS: Copyright policy isn't just about how to incentivize the production of a certain kind of artistic commodity; it's about what level of control we're going to permit to be exercised over our social realities -- social realities that are now inevitably permeated by pop culture. I think it's important that we keep these two different kinds of public goods in mind. If we're only focused on how to maximize the supply of one, I think we risk suppressing this different and richer and, in some ways, maybe even more important one. LL: Right. Bingo. Point. Freedom needs this opportunity to both have the commercial success of the great commercial works and the opportunity to build this different kind of culture. And for that to happen, you need ideas like fair use to be central and protected, to enable this kind of innovation, as this libertarian tells us, between these two creative cultures, a commercial and a sharing culture. The point is they, he, here, gets that culture. Now, my concern is, we Dems, too often, not so much. All right, take for example this great company. In the good old days when this Republican ran that company, their greatest work was work that built on the past, right. All of the great Disney works were works that took works that were in the public domain and remixed them, or waited until they entered the public domain to remix them, to celebrate this add-on remix creativity. Indeed, Mickey Mouse himself, of course, as "Steamboat Willie," is a remix of the then, very dominant, very popular "Steamboat Bill" by Buster Keaton. This man was a remixer extraordinaire. He is the celebration and ideal of exactly this kind of creativity. But then the company passes through this dark stage to this Democrat. Wildly different. This is the mastermind behind the eventual passage of what we call the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, extending the term of existing copyrights by 20 years, so that no one could do to Disney what Disney did to the Brothers Grimm. Now, when we tried to challenge this, going to the Supreme Court, getting the Supreme Court, the bunch of conservatives there -- if we could get them to wake up to this -- to strike it down, we had the assistance of Nobel Prize winners including this right-wing Nobel Prize winner, Milton Friedman, who said he would join our brief only if the word "no brainer" was in the brief somewhere. (Laughter) But apparently, no brains existed in this place when Democrats passed and signed this bill into law. Now, tiny little quibble of a footnote: Sonny Bono, you might say, was a Republican, but I don't buy it. This guy is no Republican. Okay, for a second example, think about this cultural hero, icon on the Left, creator of this character. Look at the site that he built: "Star Wars" MashUps, inviting people to come and use their creative energy to produce a new generation of attention towards this extraordinarily important cultural icon. Read the license. The license for these remixers assigns all of the rights to the remix back to Lucas. The mashup is owned by Lucas. Indeed, anything you add to the mashup, music you might add, Lucas has a worldwide perpetual right to exploit that for free. There is no creator here to be recognized. The creator doesn't have any rights.