The Stanford law professor is focusing on corruption as a way of combating creeping copyrights:
Mr Lessig has concentrated for a decade on copyright law and its interaction with the internet. So he left some people feeling confused earlier this year when he announced a new focus for his campaigning efforts: tackling corruption. Not everyone understood that this change in academic and activist emphasis is more of a shift in strategy than in substance.
For years Mr Lessig has presented legal arguments against excessive copyright extensions. But he says lawmakers are so in thrall to big-media lobbyists that they do not even realise that counter-arguments to copyright extensions exist. Even though Britain's Gowers Review, published in 2005, argues against such extensions, and eminent economists such as the late Milton Friedman have declared the importance of copyright limits to be a “no brainer”, Mr Lessig says legislators are clueless about “an issue that any rational policymaker has no problem understanding.” Swayed by campaign contributions from vested interests—such as film studios, music companies and book publishers—America's Congress has lengthened copyright terms 11 times in the past four decades, he observes.