[tl;dr: Please join our Thunderclap for the launch of stage two of the #MaydayPAC: kickstarting $5M in 30 days.]

Big week, next week: 

Monday:  in San Luis Obispo for the CA Citizens Congress

Tuesday: (my birthday (my ideal gift share this with 200k?) walking with 99Rise in their March for Democracy

Wednesday: the launch of stage 2 of the MaydayPAC (where we will raise $5M in 30 days, after raising $1M in 13). 

Please join our Thunderclap to help spread the word. 

I’m excited and incredibly proud of my friend Zephyr Teachout for shouldering the enormous burden of standing up to a so-called “progressive” Governor who has been so terribly weak and ineffective in his push for reform.

I’ve known Zephyr for more than 15 years. She would be an incredible and amazing Governor. And, most importantly, she would be a fierce and unbending supporter of reform.

Cuomo’s behavior — especially towards people in this movement whom I respect as much as I respect anyone in this world — has been unworthy. It is time for Democrats to unite around reform. Removing a faux reformer would be an important first step. 

The “Daily Caller” (let’s call that DC for short, since the DC style is in its DNA) gave the #MaydayPAC about 350 words Sunday — not quite aimed at the truth, but then again, the truth is not part of the business model of modern media.

The piece says we’re “an attempt to prevent political action committees – except his – from influencing elections.” Not true. We’ve attacked “superPACs” — not political action committees. A SuperPAC is a PAC that can raise unlimited contributions (the source of the problem I’ve spent endless bits trying to explain). Political action committees are a flavor of democracy. 

The piece says we will match the >$1M (we’ve raised from 13K individuals with a median contribution of $50) with “a few huge contributions from ultra-wealthy supporters he refuses to name.” “Refuses”? Where is this “refusal”: When the match is announced, the supporters will be named. Every contributor (greater than $200) will be named. 

The piece rightly points out that I’m critical of a system in which our politicians spend endless time raising campaign funds from the tiniest fraction of the 1%. But it wasn’t clear to me: Does the DC like that system? Because DC certainly does. 

But the piece does convince me that at least some need a clearer argument to understand the virtue in “embracing the irony.”

We are using the system to change the system, because we believe the existing system destroys representative democracy (aka, the Republic). 

Some think there’s something wrong with using a system you believe is wrong to fix that wrong. 

But I wonder whether those people think it was wrong for people to organize whites to extend the franchise to blacks. Or whether it was wrong to organize men to extend the franchise to women. In both those case, I would have said the existing system was wrong. But in neither case would I have hesitated to use it to achieve a system I don’t believe is wrong. 

That’s what we’re doing. We didn’t create the system in which the nation outsources the funding of campaigns to the tiniest fraction of the 1% — and now, indirectly, to SuperPACs too. It has been grafted onto Madison’s Republic. But have no hesitation at all in using that system to  restore Madison’s Republic. That is what the #MaydayPAC hopes to do.  

I’m a Hachette author. Republic, Lost was published by them. But you might have read there’s some sort of spat between the publisher and Amazon. The result: the authors lose. (Here’s Hachette’s statement; Amazon has not said anything.) 

So, e.g., Amazon reports Republic, Lost will take 2-4 weeks to ship.

Barnes & Noble reports it will take 24 hours.

Or, you can download the ccFree version in about 2.4 seconds.

Time to become a more regular Barnes & Noble customer. That market power stuff can really go to a company’s head.

Stage 2 of the #MaydayPAC challenge — $5 million in 30 days — will launch at the beginning of June. We’re trying to find the best tweet for the Thunderclap. This incredibly cool tool lets you estimate which tweet would do better. Can you spare some cycles to use it to test your RT creativity?

Here’s a seed (not very good):

Stage 2 launches! A SuperPAC to end all SuperPACs! Plz RT: mayone.us #MaydayPAC

Test your alternative against it. If you beat it, post the better one in the comments (with the % better it is). 


I continue to be astonished at the mix of citizens who stepped up to support the MaydayPAC in its first $1 million challenge. Here’s a favorite from the MaydayPAC’s inbox: 

I am happy to be part of this project. I will spread the word. I, myself, am one of the ones who does not seem to have a voice any longer. I am a women and while raising my sons alone I worked over 45 years at low paying jobs, just making ends meet each payday. Now I am 68, almost 69, retired on a low social security check and dealing with health problems. I am fortunate that our local hospital is partially state funded and I have excellent medical care there. My life is quiet and my hobbies keep me busy but I worry for my sons’ families and my older granddaughters who are now in the job market. This isn’t the life style my generation planned for our children. This isn’t what we worked all those years for. Your project gives me hope that we can improve things for the younger generation and protect my small checks as long as I need them.

This nails it. Everything we’re fighting for is about making it possible to save our kids from the disasters that we have wrought. We are wrecking the climate. But it’s our kids who will suffer the consequences of that. We are driving up an endless debt — that they, not we, will pay. Social security will be around — for us. Health care may be expensive, but our nation will be able to afford it — for us. And any epidemic in childhood obesity is not a problem for grandpa or grandma. The inability of our government to act is a catastrophic problem — for our kids, not for us. We called #Mayday for them — because we were given a better chance than the one we are handing to them. 

Stay tuned for the launch of stage 2.

Next week, in San Francisco, the Authors Alliance will be launched. The brainchild of one of copyright’s greatest scholars (and important original activist) Pam Samuelson, the Alliance will function as an alternative to the Authors Guild

As a member (until now) of the Guild, I am happy to see the launch of the Alliance. The Guild, in my view, too often seems too much focused on the narrow interests of commercially successful authors. Those interests are of course important. But not every author is a Scott Turow or JK Rowling, and the rules that might benefit them are not necessarily the rules that benefit the wide range of creators.

This Publishers Weekly story points to one clear example of how the Alliance would have acted differently from the Guild — they would not, Samuelson says, have sued to block snippet access to research library books. That (as the courts eventually concluded) was the right position, and will increase access to authors’ creativity, even long after the work is no longer in print. Wildly successful commercial authors might have gained more if access were blocked. But the vast majority of authors would not. A library is not a bookstore — which is good not just for the public but also for (many many) authors. 

This launch is good news. Here’s a link to the launch on May 21 in San Francisco. Thanks to Pam (and her incredible board, including the founding ED of Creative Commons, Molly van Houweling) for making this happen. 

Thanks to Darryl Daniels for this rendering of this first stage victory. MayOne.US.

Thanks to Darryl Daniels for this rendering of this first stage victory. MayOne.US.

I have this domain name which will expire in a couple days. If you know to what it refers, then you’re in the small set of people who might find it useful. If you are, and you want it, email me at lessig at pobox dot com with a description of how you’d use it? No offers of money. I’ll determine to whom it can go by midnight the 16th. 

We have crossed the $1 million mark, less than two weeks into our campaign. We’ll publish the statistics tomorrow, but more than 10,000 people have made this possible, with contributions averaging under $100. It is amazing and humbling both, and the duty now shifts to me  to produce the match. Stay tuned. And thank you to everyone who expressed in this uniquely authentic way that they believe it’s possible to reclaim a democracy. 

Amazingly, wonderfully, “this-is-the-Net”-ily, we are 90% to our $1 million goal. It would be INSANELY powerful if we could finished this by 5:30p (EST). Endlessly grateful for everything everyone has done so far, but if we could raise the final $100k in the next 24 hours, it would repay itself enormously. If you can, pledge at MayOne.US and please spread this as broadly as you can. Few thought we could do this in 30 days. No one thought we could do it in 13. Let’s prove no one — or rather everyone — wrong. 

Ok, so everyone of my messages to anyone at MIT is being blocked as “spam content.” No links, just simple email to people I know personally. The tyranny of code. 

We’re 11 days into the launch of the citizens’ funded MaydayPAC. We’re about $150,000 from our $1M goal (for super-secret reasons, I REALLY want us to cross on Tuesday, before 5:30pm). And we can now describe a bit of who “we” are — at least in the sense of our donor demographics. 

As of $811,231.20, we were: 

9,222 pledges

Minimum pledge: $1

Maximum pledge: $5,000

Median: $50.00

Average: $87.97

1st Q: $25.00

3d Q: $100.00

My favorite exchange: A guy writes to say that if we’re going to hit our $1m before May 30, and so would charge his credit card before June 3, could we please reduce his pledge from $15 to $5, because he won’t have the money before June. 

Please help if you can

It looks as though we’re going to make it. When we meet our $1 million mark, and I secure and announce the match, we will launch the second (and much more difficult) stage of the project — to kickstart $5 million. 

To run that stage effectively, we need a (real) CEO (as opposed to me). We have a number of great leads already, but I’ve set up this Google form to invite other applications. We need to move quickly, so if you know someone (including yourself!) who might be ideal, please send along this url: bit.ly/MaydayPAC-CEO

And to be clear: I stand by my commitment that 100% of the money raised through our crowdfunding campaign will fund electoral campaign work. We are covering the other costs (as tiny as we can keep them) through other fundraising. 

Thanks for any help. 

Really really really happy to see Yancey Strickler, co-founder and CEO of Kickstarter, join the MaydayPAC, and Fred Wilson, co-founder of Union Square Ventures (which helped fund @Twitter, Tumblr, foursquare, Zynga, Kickstarter, and 10gen) join the MaydayPAC

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