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July 15, 2010
Pistols at Dawn, Sir!
Jane Park, Communications Coordinator for Creative Commons
wrote to let me know that Lawrence Lessig has thrown down the gauntlet on behalf of CC against the accusations made by ASCAP. Lessig has challenged Paul Williams, the president and chairman of ASCAP, to a debate
Why? Well, it seems that Mr. Williams is at best uninformed and at worst... um, I think the word is lying about what Creative Commons does. It seems to have started with a tweet from Mike Rugnetta. He got a fund-raising missive from ASCAP and posted a picture of it.
In the letter, ASCAP asks for money to fight organizations like CC, EFF, and Public Knowledge that, it claims, are trying to undermine "our" copyrights. Oh really? This isn't the first time ASCAP has misrepresented what CC does, as Lessig points out in his response on The Huffington Post. Sadly, Lessig isn't calling for pistols at dawn (dueling is illegal in the US, if you get right down to it) and his challenge is entirely too gentle.
But it's there, and you can read it. I doubt Paul Williams will read it, and I doubt he'll respond. It's not that I think Paul Williams is right - it's that he cannot possibly win this debate and he'd be a fool to get into it. He doesn't want to hand CC or EFF or Lessig any more free publicity.
Which is where I, and I hope you dear readers, will help out. Publicity for this kind of thing is really the best response. Respond to lies by stating the truth; respond to confusion with clarity; respond to uncertainty with understanding. And just in case you get the chance? Slap Williams across the cheek with a white glove. Do it for me.
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