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Lawrence Lessig, the Stanford Law School professor who champions less restrictive copyright law in the digital world, has abandoned a short-lived plan to run for Congess. Lessig, 46, posted a brief statement on his blog with a video explaining his decision to focus on campaign finance reform efforts. “I have decided a run for Congress would not help the Change Congress movement,” he wrote. “Thanks to everyone who helped me make this decision — and especially the many friends in the harshest way told me it would be a mistake,” he said. He was considering the House seat held by the late Rep. Tom Lantos in the heavily Democrat district. Lessig would have had an overwhelming uphill battle against long-time California state Sen. Jackie Speier, who is currently running for the Lantos seat in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley. Lessig acknowledged in the video that campaign consultants made clear, that as an academic who is little known outside the legal world and among online aficionados, he would have little chance of overcoming Speier’s wide popularity in the region in the short time left before the election. She won her senate seat in 2002 with 78% of the vote but was termed out of office in 2006, under the state’s term limit law. His campaign began on the Internet and included a “draft Lessig” effort, at www.lessig08.com, which garnered immediate donations and pledges of support. Lessig founded Stanford’s Center for the Internet and Society, founded Creative Commons, a non-profit devoted to expanding creative material that may be legally shared on the Internet and he is on the board of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a legal advocacy group that promotes free speech particularly in the digital context.

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