If there were a commendation set aside for the heroes of a free and open web, Lawrence Lessig would get it. Lessig has long been a prominent critic of the increasingly corporate-controlled Internet as well as copyright laws that erode the public domain and let media conglomerates consolidate power. He founded Creative Commons, an alternative form of copyright that aims to protect the rights of creators while enriching what’s available for common use. Frustrated with the difficulties he faced while trying to reform copyright law, the Harvard Law professor set his sights on congressional corruption and lobbyists’ power to dictate U.S. law. Back from D.C., Lessig’s newest book Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress — and a Plan to Stop It will give even the most hardened cynic pause. According to Lessig, campaign contributions and lobbying endanger our democracy. But he has a detailed and realistic plan to convene a new Constitutional Convention to reform election and legislative processes. Our elected representatives should take heed: Lessig is a persuasive speaker, diagnosing the bullshit, avarice, and malfeasance that threaten the republic.
Tue., Jan. 17, 7:30 p.m., 2012