I shared my confusion over ASCAP’s fund raising campaign against EFF, Public Knowledge and Creative Commons. Folks from EFF and PK responded quite reasonably, explaining how the association of music publishers had several misapprehended the purpose and power of the respective public interest groups.
Laurence Lessig has now offered his thoughts on the matter at the Huffington Post. Lessig helped found two of the three organizations and has served on the board of the third. He is uniquely qualified to step into what I’ve suggested is a grand teaching moment. He doesn’t disappoint, calmly and cheerfully explaining exactly what Creative Commons is and does, as this organization more than the others about which he is particularly qualified to write.
He steadfastly refuses to sink to the level of fear, uncertainty and doubt to which ASCAP and the National Association of Music Publishers have clearly sunk.
This isn’t the first time that ASCAP has misrepresented the objectives of our organization. But could we make it the last? We have no objection to collecting societies: They too were an innovative and voluntary solution (in America at least) to a challenging copyright problem created by new technologies. And I at least am confident that collecting societies will be a part of the copyright landscape forever.
Lessig even offers to continue the conversation, in the form of a formal debate, with ASCAP President Paul Williams. It is sad that ASCAP or anyone else from the music industry should have to be invited to a discussion of the work of Creative Commons or any public interest group but I would guess the fear of granting any kind of legitimacy to their efforts at the expense of their traditional business model is simply too great.