Digital Culture

Quick answer to Eli

Have been having a spirited discussion over on Confessions of a Mad Librarian with Eli Edwards, one of the more interesting people that I met at ALA Midwinter.

So, in answer to her latest question (and to drag some of the traffic onto my blog via trackback): Absolutely, I support Lessig and Eldred (and Creative Commons). These sorts of alternatives not only increase the public awareness of the overall absurdity of current copyright law, but give those who are already aware means of bypassing the lockdown completely. This blog (and all of my academic work here at UNC that is web-based) has been given an appropriate use license, and I go to great lengths to convince others that it is the right thing to do.

Now, that being said: I am well aware that Creative Commons and other licensing schemes of their ilk (GNU, OGL) rely on the power of the US Copyright law to function. This is an irony of which I am not ignorant. 🙂 I think that the fairest implementation of a limit on copyright terms may be Lessig’s suggestion of trivial economic subscription, by asking copyright holders that are interested in maintaining their copyright to pay $1 a year to hold it.

By griffey

Jason Griffey is the Director of Strategic Initiatives at NISO, where he works to identify new areas of the information ecosystem where standards expertise is useful and needed. Prior to joining NISO in 2019, Jason ran his own technology consulting company for libraries, has been both an Affiliate at metaLAB and a Fellow and Affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, and was an academic librarian in roles ranging from reference and instruction to Head of IT at the University of TN at Chattanooga.

Jason has written extensively on technology and libraries, including multiple books and a series of full-periodical issues on technology topics, most recently AI & Machine Learning in Libraries and Library Spaces and Smart Buildings: Technology, Metrics, and Iterative Design from 2018. His newest book, co-authored with Jeffery Pomerantz, will be published by MIT Press in 2024.

He has spoken internationally on topics such as artificial intelligence & machine learning, the future of technology and libraries, decentralization and the Blockchain, privacy, copyright, and intellectual property. A full list of his publications and presentations can be found on his CV.
He is one of eight winners of the Knight Foundation News Challenge for Libraries for the Measure the Future project (, an open hardware project designed to provide actionable use metrics for library spaces. He is also the creator and director of The LibraryBox Project (, an open source portable digital file distribution system.

Jason can be stalked obsessively online, and spends his free time with his daughter Eliza, reading, obsessing over gadgets, and preparing for the inevitable zombie uprising.

One reply on “Quick answer to Eli”

Hey, thanks for the discussion.

I don’t have a utopian vision of any kind for copyright (I’m still trying to gain a basic understanding of it), but I truly love Lessig’s renewal/registration for a $1 idea. It’s not a huge barrier for the creator/owner and it establishes a bigger, more stable safe zone for people who want to 1) creative derivative works and 2) preserve material in various formats.

But you knew that. Thanks again, Jason!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *