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Best Moose for the Internet (so far)

May 14th, 2010

One of the nice things about going around and giving talks about the book is that listeners offer up some good ideas about candidates for the “moose” for the Net. I was somewhat unsatisfied with my own choice — Wikipedia — in the book, and with good reason: though it is a good candidate for something “dazzling” on the Net (in the way that the moose was dazzling to those in the Old World), it doesn’t have the same “we need new thinking about things” quality that a good Moose should have. Of all the candidates I’ve seen so far, I think Larry Lessig had the best version, here. Well worth watching -

Book Talk at Monticello Tomorrow (Nov.4)

November 3rd, 2009

I’ll be giving another presentation about my book at the Jefferson Library at Monticello tomorrow (Wed. at 4 PM) — if you happen to be in the neighborhood, come on by. Obviously, it’s a wonderful place to be giving a talk about Jefferson, and I’m trying, at least, to match the grandeur of the place with a decent talk . . . I just found out a few days ago that Merrill Peterson, the longtime professor of history at UVA and the dean of living Jefferson scholars, passed away at the end of September at the age of 88, and I am going to dedicate the talk to his memory. I am a law professor, not a professional historian, and I came to Jefferson, and Jefferson scholarship, from a funny direction – working and writing about the developing law of the Internet, and intellectual property law. I spent 15 years working on my book, and one of the many pleasures it gave me was that it caused me to confront some small portion of the vast trove of Jefferson scholarship, of which Peterson’s work was such an important part. When my book was published last Spring Peterson was one of the people I sent a copy to – we had never met, but my respect for him and for his lifetime of work was genuine and very deep; Peterson represented historical scholarship at its best, rich and probing and full of life. He sent me back a lovely handwritten note, thanking me for the book and for, as he put it, “building a bridge between Jefferson’s Notes on Virginia and what you call cyberspace” – though, he added, “I confess ignorance of the latter.” He had actually read (and enjoyed!) the book (”a great read!,” he wrote), which I found, and continue to find, infinitely gratifying.

Talk in NYC:

October 18th, 2009

Those of you in and around New York City might be interested in this talk I’m going to be giving at lunchtime this coming Thursday, Oct. 22. It’s co-sponsored by the Copyright Society of the US and the Internet Society’s NYC chapter, and is my (latest) attempt to get people to think about how we might fashion a copyright law for the Internet age that actually makes some sense (as opposed to the copyright law we actually have, which doesn’t).  [Oh yeah, it's about my book - and why Jefferson sent a moose to Paris, and how we find a "moose" for the Net that will do for us what Jefferson's moose did for him].  I gave a version of this talk last week at the University of Virginia Law School, and I think I can guarantee you a pretty lively discussion — in fact, I’ll be a tad disappointed if fisticuffs do not break out in the audience as a result of some of the ideas I propound.