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Advocates: Be nice, but don't be too nice or you're gonna loose!

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memenode's picture
User offline. Last seen 3 hours 6 min ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-07-12

I just took a bit of time, searching for inspiration to write new best mission statement and "about us" pages, and continued reading the book "Free Culture" by Lawrence Lessig.

I read where he describes his involvement in the case between Eldred and government where government was accused for being unconstitutional in allowing congress the power to extend copyright terms over and over again, because US constitution, it its "progress clause" says that congress should have power to grant exclusive rights to copyright holder only for a *limited time*. You should read more about it in the book if you're confused.

But the point of this post is not that. That case was lost and Lessig describes they may have won the case if he didn't make a great mistake. Shortly said, being a teacher who believed that judges would always make the right decision no matter what, he didn't think it was important to argue about the actual *harm* that unlimited copyright brings, but only arguing that unlimited copyright was unconstitutional. He thought that that fact, being clearly true, was enough to persuade judges. Simply said, and as he admits, he was naive to believe that.

The case was lost because judges simply chose to ignore the argument he posed and had no other stronger arguments to make them think harder - as i understand.

In my view, besides being too naive in believing that judges must have had some integrity he was also being *too nice* to them. He wanted to play their own game, their own way. US law is based on constitution, and thus, by their own playing rules, Lessig was right, the congress power IS unconstitutional. He restrained his passion for Free Culture, and thus he restrained any further arguments about the harm that unlimited copyright brings to that culture.

Think about it? We usually tend to say that advocate should not just come and shout at people, the wont listen, of course. But there is another extreme one can fall to: being too nice.. so nice and trying to persuade someone that you end up weakening your own message... That doesn't work as well.

We as advocates have to be firm, have to use and show our passion no matter if we're in a courtroom, on the web forum or on the streets, not restlessly attacking people, but not giving in being too nice and restrict our arguments to only those agreeable to the one we advocate to just so that someone can like us.

I hope i put it well enough not to be confusing.

Thanks

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Daniel Memenode signature

User offline. Last seen 12 years 37 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-09-18
Re: Advocates: Be nice, but don't be too nice or you're gonna lo

Well, I am not sure would it do any good if he didn't play their legal game and talked about harm of unlimited copyright instead.

The force pushing those extensions of copyright was obviously strong enough for judges to close one eye on the fact that it was unconstitutional, so it would pose no problem to them to completely ignore him saying that it is harmful. What I am saying is that law matters more than common sense in courtrooms.

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