He points to a merger between read-write culture and free labor that’s resulted in free software, music, and other content online. "It is the lesson of the free software movement: people are creating and are creators. They are not slaves to wage labor but are themselves empowered to produce," he exclaims.
He then gets into a funk about the read-only culture —"a culture where the creativity is consumed, but the consumer is not a creator, a culture which is top-down, a culture where the vocal chords spread among the people have been lost"— which he says is perpetuated by copyright laws and companies like Apple.
Dump that junk, Lessig says, and move into the 21st century with — wait for it — the remix. It is a mode, he continues, "where people participate in the creation and recreation of their culture."
He screens some excellent videos mixing free images and music found on the Internet featuring anime, George Bush and Tony Blair, and Donna Summer and Jesus. In the end, we are left gleeful and celebrating as he charges us to practice free culture, and to enable free culture by making it possible in places outside the hackers’ den. Word up.
9:30 am — We attend a discussion given by GreenReaper, who is here to discuss his part in founding a wiki community called WikiFur for the furry fandom community. (“A cross between talking animals in stories and fluffy mascots on sports-playing fields.”) GreenReaper suggests ways that others can foster successful, growing collaborative communities, like actively seeking out contributors through live journals, MySpace, the real world. "One good contributor can make or break a site,” he says. His secret to success: “You need a lot of time. I was unemployed so I had a lot of time."
Wikipedia in the classroom?
11:30 am — We spot a young wiki coming out of the "Wiki Uses in Learning and Teaching” panel. At 15 years old, Matt Lim of Boxboro may very well be the youngest conventioneer at the conference. Discovering the site about 8 months ago, he's what you'd expect from a budding wiki — full of information but unsure about how to express himself. We ask him if he's done much editing on the Wikipedia website. He mostly does minor edits, he says, spelling errors, that sort of thing. Is he having a good time? Yes, but he wishes there were more people his own age attending.
We ask him whether he thinks his school teacher would ever utilize Wikipedia in the classroom. He looks down at his shoes. He doesn't think so. He says most teachers are mistrustful. "A lot of people don't accept Wikipedia."
1:00 pm — We take a seat in Ropes Gray next to three twenty-something kids sprawled around an electrical outlet and a computer.
Benjamin Mako-Hill, Jacob Russ, and Aaron Swartz become our defacto lunch buddies. All come to the conference from Cambridge; they met mainly through the one-laptop per child program, hacking days, and other events in the technologically-oriented sector of Boston.
We ask them what they think of everything, so far. Lawrence Lessig was good, but it was his usual talk, they say.