In a world of information overload, access to that information and its ownership are still hotly debated topics. Should information, art and music be free? And how do we make it accessible to all without prejudicing their creators?
Founder of the Creative Commons and author of the book Free Culture, Professor Lawrence Lessig argues that copyright law, the extension of intellectual property laws and the clamping down of the technical architecture of the internet, are posing a threat to our rights to access and use information.
A professor of Law at Stanford University, Lessig has achieved almost godlike status amongst the open source community and his challenging ideas are finally being debated by the legal fraternity, who are no longer dismissing Lessig¹s writings as fanciful.
The best example of how the Creative Commons licenses actually work is Wikimedia. The company¹s projects allow users to share, use and change content under the rules of the Commons license. Although there has been some criticism of over-reliance on Wikipedia, few could imagine a world without it as a resource.
In keeping with the ethos, Lessig will be addressing the Internet Society (ISOC) and other interested folk, at a free event where he will be explaining more about the concept of Free Culture and how it can make a difference to South Africa.
"It is a tremendous honour for us to host Prof. Lessig," says Alan Levin, Chairman of the Internet Society South African Chapter. "The protection of our right to freely access and share information, innovation and creativity is a core principle of our Internet society. The safeguarding of our all our freedoms should be championed by every South African."
The event, which is sponsored by Uniform and entitled FreeCulture.co.za, will take place at the SABC auditorium Sea Point, Cape Town at 17:30 on the evening of 18 April 2007.