Lawrence Lessig Lecture On Aaron Swartz, Law And Justice In The Digital Age

D.S. Wright | FDL | February 21, 2013

Lawrence Lessig marked his appointment as Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School with a lecture titled “Aaron’s Laws: Law and Justice in a Digital Age.” The lecture focuses on the Aaron Swartz case which Lessig says he approaches less as an intellectual and more as a citizen and friend given his extensive personal history with Swartz. Lessig also clarified Swartz’s position on copyright.

At the center of [Aaron’s] struggle is and was copyright. In the debate between people who are pro and anti copyright, Aaron was on neither side.” Rather, he opposed “dumb copyright.” A perfect example was Swartz’s efforts to liberate data from PACER the database of public court records, which charged 8 cents a page. He was not violating copyright, technical restraints, terms of service or any other prohibitions. He had found a loophole. “A loophole for public good” as opposed to the loopholes used for private gain by lobbyists and tax lawyers...