Why, you ask? Because I’ve been doing a lot of reading and a lot of thinking on my sabbatical (though I read voraciously always). What have I been reading? “Free Culture” and “Code v2.0” by Lawrence Lessig. “Small Pieces Loosely Joined” by David Weinberger. “The Cathedral and the Bazaar” by Eric S. Raymond. “Open Sources 2.0”, a collection of essays on open source. “The World is Flat” by Thomas Friedman. Not to mention classics like The Cluetrain. And watching Frontline on PBS.
I’ve been doing lots of thinking, too, on my sabbatical. I have lots of time on my hands now that we’re home from our trip. Too much, usually, and I find myself getting sucked into being lazy way too often. Too easy to sit on the couch and veg or play video games (though I consider time spent playing Super Mario Galaxy, which I finished last week, to be worthwhile). I’ve always read these kinds of books and thought these kinds of thoughts. Just had more time to do it while I’ve been on sabbatical. So this is nothing new for me. No big transformation.
The book I’m currently deepest into is “Free Culture”, about how screwed up copyright law in the U.S. is, and the sickening level of power that large lobbies like the RIAA and MPAA claim for themselves. Mafia thugs, the lot of them. And so I spend time thinking about what we, collectively, and we, myself and my friends, can do to change things. To counteract the extreme and unjust behavior of the lobbies. I don’t know the answer. But that’s what’s on my mind.
I hate politics. But I love the Internet, and the culture that it has fostered. I identify with that culture. It’s a very large part of who I am (and probably part of who you are, too, to some degree, if you’re reading this). I’m genuinely afraid of what these deep pocketed media lobbies are doing to us. I want to stop it. I want to reverse it. I want to fight for the “good guys”. I put out all of my media and creative stuff under Creative Commons, I support the EFF, and I talk to people to spread awareness of the issues, but I don’t feel like it’s enough.
I wish I was smart enough to come up with something that would really, materially contribute to protecting creativity and restoring a free culture. But I don’t have it yet. So I’ll be over here, nose in a book, thinking furiously until I come up with something.