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The focus in American politics at the moment is on the big primaries in Texas and Ohio. They could change the face of the Democratic primary and decide who enters the White House after George Bush is removed from power.

Yet, on a day where Obama swept through Hawaii and Wisconsin, much to James’ joy and other’s chagrin, its a political story of a different stripe that is the most hopeful in my eyes.

That is the decision of Prof. Lawrence Lessig to form an exploratory committee to see whether he should run for a seat in the US House of Representatives.

I firmly hope that he’ll decide to run. American technology law and American intellectual property law define the global agenda. They set the standards which all countries eventually find themselves compelled to follow. And its time that this agenda was set by people able to understand the issues at stake.

Lessig is one of the few at the cutting edge of the blend between technology and law. He is one of the few who understands the impact of the digital age. He is one of the few who appreciates how ancient many laws have become in a world where everyone can create as well as consume.

He gets this because he’s forging the ideas that are taking their place.

Lessig is the brain behind Creative Commons which provides free tools that let authors, scientists, artists, and educators mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry.

Creative Commons tries to turn the idea of the public domain in Copyright on its head. The default position becomes to permit people to take works released under a CC licence and use it in a manner that would be forbidden under the “All Rights Reserved” model of copyright law that has become so entrenched in our society.

This is to counter what Creative Commons considers to be a dominant and restrictive permission culture. In the words of Lessig it is “a culture in which creators get to create only with the permission of the powerful, or of creators from the past”.

Lessig maintains that modern culture is dominated by traditional content distributors in order to maintain and strengthen their monopolies on cultural products such as popular music and popular cinema, and that Creative Commons can provide alternatives to these restrictions.

Most importantly Lessig is able to plug all this technical knowledge and single issue reform movement centred on copyright and see how and where it fits in both the philosophy of law and how law works in practice. Go watch the TED Talk he delivered on “How Creativity is Being Strangled by the Law“.

The icing on the cake? Lessig is the drafter of Obama’s technology policy, and there is strong commitment from the Obama campaign to see it implemented.

The revolutionary thought that in 2009, not only Congress but the White House might understand technology and technology related issues, is not as alien as it first seemed.

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