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Elizabeth Stark

Elizabeth Stark

Elizabeth Stark


Elizabeth Stark has been a free culture advocate from even before she knew what the term meant. "I've always been extremely passionate about music and the Internet," Stark — who spent hours on end surfing AOL and dancing to live DJ music as a teenager in the 90s — says. A 2003 Wired magazine article about Larry Lessig finally put her passions in context and plunged her into free culture — "a movement to promote the sharing and reworking of culture in an environment of technological freedom that supports it."

Today, Stark teaches classes on law, technology, and society at Yale. She's also one of the founders of the Open Video Alliance, a coalition of organizations that promotes open video. It's easy to copy and paste text and images found on the Internet, but the prevalence of patented technologies in the web video realm prevent the same liberties from applying to video. "We believe that video is the future of the Internet," Stark says, "but the people who control the technology also control the innovation that occurs on top of it." With iPhones and Flip cams and other low-cost mobile tech devices, people all over the world are now recording and posting things online. "A whole generation of digital leaders now communicates this way," she says. "Text and images will never go away, but there's just something so captivating about watching video."

Stark's superpower wish

I want to be able to acquire skills intravenously, like speaking foreign languages, writing software, or making every type of food.

Stark on CC

Creative Commons exemplifies the potential for making knowledge available to the world. It encourages people to contribute their knowledge, and when other people see that, they also take part. It enables the spread of knowledge in a way that we otherwise wouldn't have today.

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