Giving Your Opponents a Voice

I am a great fan of lawyer and Stanford University professor Lawrence Lessig, even though his books are dense and focused on complex questions of intellectual property and the Internet. I heard him speak three years ago at an event about transparency organized by HP at its Palo Alto headquarters and I was stunned by the clarity of his vision for unhindered creative expression on the Internet.

What sets him apart from other pundits (I mean this in the positive sense of being an expert.) is his willingness to put ideas into action. For example, his book Free Culture, while available for sale at most bookstores, can also be downloaded free (using bittorrent) under a Creative Commons license. The concept of a "creative commons", by the way, is raised in one of his earlier books called The Future of Ideas and led to the creation of the non-profit organization called Creative Commons, of which he is chair. It allows authors and artists the freedom to offer voluntary "some rights reserved" copyright.

As further evidence of the 'thought-into-action' concept, Lessig has set up a wiki for those who want to criticize his work. The goal of the Anit-Lessig Reader -- as he calls it -- is to create a home for critics to build the "other side of the story". He has mapped the chapters of Free Culture so that an 'anti-Lessig' can enter his or her ideas, thoughts or, for that matter, cartoons and pictures . . . in conjunction with the chapter or idea with which he or she disagrees or has a divergent point of view.

Brilliant . . . and the application for issue management strategies for organizations and businesses should be self-evident.

The Importance of Knowledge

The Correct Answer Is . . .