Yes… last week millions from the Internet opened the door, powerfully if briefly, on the powers that dominate policymaking in Washington, and effectively stopped Hollywood’s latest outrage to address “piracy”—a k a the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and the Protect IP Act (PIPA).  This isn’t the end, nor is it even “the beginning of the end.”  The copyright war has been going on for over 300 years and it’s not about to end now.  I strongly recommend you watch the following three videos, all by ‘movers & shakers’ in internet technology, for insights into what this “battle” is really about.

The FIRST video (14 minutes) is by Clay ShirkyDefend our Freedom to Share (or why SOPA is a bad idea).  Here’s an excerpt:

So what PIPA and SOPA risk doing is taking a centuries-old legal concept, innocent until proven guilty, and reversing it — guilty until proven innocent. You can’t share until you show us that you’re not sharing something we don’t like. Suddenly, the burden of proof for legal versus illegal falls affirmatively on us and on the services that might be offering us any new capabilities. And if it costs even a dime to police a user, that will crush a service with a hundred million users.

Transcript for video is here (click on “Interactive Transcript”); MP3 audio version is here.

The SECOND video (55 minutes) is a speech given by Cory Doctorow at the 28th Chaos Communication Congress (28C3) titled “The Coming War on General Computation.”  Mike Masnick @ Techdirt has a great writeup on the talk here with video embedded.  Cory Doctorow’s talk is about something much bigger than copyright.  It’s that the copyright fight is merely the canary in the coalmine to this kind of attack on general purpose computing in all sorts of other arenas as well.  And those fights may be much bigger and more difficult than the current copyright fight.

Don’t let the length (55 min) scare you. Cory is a very entertaining speaker.  Transcripts of this talk can be found here.  MP3 audio is here.

The THIRD & last video (20 minutes) is an interview with Lawrence Lessig by Charlie Rose.  Larry Lessig has been intimately involved with intellectual property (IP) & copyright issues for over a decade.  He is the author of many books involving IP, including The Future of Ideas and Free Culture.  His latest book, Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress–and a Plan to Stop It, is topic of the interview.  Unlike his previous books, the book outlines what Lessig considers to be the systemic corrupting influence of special-interest money on American politics (e.g., SOPA and PROTECT-IP), and only mentions copyright and other free culture topics briefly, as examples.

MP3 audio file is here.

Enjoy (and learn something, too!)