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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lessig Considers Running for Congress

Lawrence Lessig, the cyberlaw author and advocate for free software and
online civil liberties, is considering a run for the U.S. Congress, he
announced on his blog Wednesday. Lessig, author of books such as "Free
Culture" and "Code 2.0," would run for the open House of Representatives
seat in California created by the death of Representative Tom Lantos,
a Democrat, earlier this month. A "draft Lessig" movement has popped
up online since Lantos died. Lessig said he plans to make the decision
about whether to run by about March 1, 2008. "This is a very difficult
decision," he wrote on his blog. "Thank you to everyone who has tried
to help -- both through very strong words of encouragement and very,
very strong words to dissuade. Lessig, a self-described progressive,
would run as part of his Change Congress campaign. The Stanford University
law professor announced in January that he would shift his focus to
political corruption and away from free software and free culture. He
called on lawmakers to stop accepting money from political action
committees and lobbyists, and to stop adding so-called earmarks for
special projects in appropriation legislation. Politicians need to
change "how Washington works" and to end a culture of corruption that's
based on political contributions, he said in a video at
"You know about this corruption in Washington, a corruption that doesn't
come from evil people, a corruption that comes from good people working
in a bad system," he said in the video. Progressives should work to
change the way money influences decisions in Washington, he said, "not
because this is, in some sense, the most important problem, but because
it is the first problem that has to be solved if we're going to address
these more fundamental problems later." Lessig is the founder of the
Creative Commons, which attempts to give copyright holders additional
options for licensing their work beyond all rights reserved. Lessig
has served on the boards of the Free Software Foundation, the Electronic
Frontier Foundation, the Public Library of Science, and Public Knowledge.

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