09 June 2006

Debate as Entertainment

Something struck me when I read about the upcoming "The Battle Over Books" debate between Google and the Association of Americal Publishers on Lawrence Lessig's excellent blog. The debate is being promoted, sort of like an entertainment event. I wonder if we are going to start to see huge legal debates over privacy, freedom and democracy being promoted as entertainment. It seems strange at first but... why not? I think more people would pay attention if legal debates were promoted something like title fights are.

"In this corner we have the super agile weight contender Google at 10 years old and 1.2 billion in annual revenue and in this corner we have the Association of American Publishers weighing in at 80 years old and 74 billion in estimated annual revenue. Who will win? Stay tuned and find out! ... fade to black ... The Book Debate is brought to you by Amazon.com!"

We all have so much at stake. It's a shame more people aren't more informed about how laws are being passed that erode our right to privacy and our freedom to choose. I think that most people find keeping up with this stuff boring, and to tell the truth I wouldn't consider myself super informed although I am very interested. I know that I would love to go to this debate, or watch it on a webcast. Maybe it will show up on youtube.com at some point. :-)

Incidentally, Mr. Lessig's blog is one of a few great places to watch the issues unfold. He has also written a number of books on ths subjects of freedom, privacy and the law as it relates to technology. I am currently reading his book Free Culture which you can purchase at the store or download for free. I'll post a review when I finish it.

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