Larry Lessig is my hero

Lawrence Lessig
Today, I had the pleasure of seeing Dr. Lawrence Lessig give the keynote for the Privacy & Security conference I’m attending in Victoria (albeit from the back of the room due to a huge coffee lineup). I’ve been aware of Dr. Lessig’s work for a long time now as he is one of the original ‘copyfighters’ and founder of Creative Commons among other things.

I almost got to see/meet him in person a number of years ago while I was in San Francisco. While visiting a friend, we made plans to be in the studio audience of “The Screensavers” on TechTV. I was excited to hear that the guest on the show the day of our taping was Dr. Lessig but unfortunately, it was a taped interview so I didn’t actually get to see him in person.
Lawrence Lessig
That changed today when I got to watch his keynote and also finally see the ‘Lessig method‘ of giving a presentation. He truly sets the bar high for giving a great, compelling presentation. Dick Hardt of SXIP (and fellow iPhone user) has also used the Lessig method to give a very engaging presentation (and a great topic in it’s own right).

In his presentation, he talked about privacy and how it’s similar to copyright. He started with a little bit of history, followed by a story (or two) and finished with an argument. I hope it’s made available in some form as I’m not even going to try to paraphrase it. It was that good and I couldn’t do it justice.

I decided to pick up his “The Future of Ideas” book after the presentation and he signed it for me which is pretty cool. Of course, I found out while gathering info for this post that the book is available for free to download now. At least mine is signed.

While today’s presentation isn’t online (yet) and I don’t think it was recorded on video, I was able to find a presentation he gave at TED that captures his style very well and is also a great topic:

It’s a 20 minute presentation so you may want to download it to watch later (plus you can get it for your iPod as well).

Another highlight of the keynote was Dr. Lessig playing the following mashup video to illustrate copyrights:

Imagine a room full of suits watching this. Yeah, it was awesome.


  1. Imagine a room full of suits watching this. Yeah, it was awesome.

    I don’t get the appeal. The video track almost managed to be as inane, repetitive and incomprehensible as the song.

  2. John says:

    I think you’re missing the point, Jan.

    Soulja Boy and his music is not something the majority of the people in the room would normally choose to listen to. Judging from the looks on some of their faces, it won’t be on their iPods anytime soon either.

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