Creative Commons Search Engine

Professor Lawrence Lessig lauds Yahoo's launch of a Creative Commons search engine.

In the meantime, as two significant Internet cases go before the Supreme Court (the Grokster / Kazaa case and the cable / internet access case), I wonder what Professor Lessig would think of filtering:

Regardless of its outcome, the case isn't likely to end the battling over file sharing. Instead, a search for technologies that could ease the debate seems likely to continue. The companies that hold copyrights, for example, are talking to Shawn Fanning, the founder of the original Napster file-sharing service, and Wayne Rosso, the former president of Grokster, about a new concept called "filtering" that they hope will cut down on the illegal sharing of copyrighted materials. Filtering works by hijacking illegal copies of songs that users are trying to download through networks, replacing them with low-quality, label-sanctioned free versions. Next to the free version is a link to a full version one available for a small fee.

Anne Marie Squeo, "Supreme Court Hears Two Internet Cases," The Wall Street Journal (March 24, 2005; Page B1)
The rest of this WSJ report is as interesting to read. Subscription is required.

(It is interesting when we come to use the word "filtering" to refer to what amounts to selective introduction of random noise.)

Since Lessig seems committed to a culture that fosters creativity and not necessarily fighting copy rights, he would probably say while filtering can be done legally, it stands well apart from nurturing creative commons. According to Lessig, creativity requires "mixing" and that in order to mix creatively, the cost of finding out what is "allowed" should be reasonable. Furthermore, there should be a limit on copy rights and anti-circumvention (read anti-tinkering) rules. Otherwise, the good that the copy right laws serve to protect will become the straitjacket that kills creativity.

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