70 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sober awakening to the threats to innovation and freedom
I well remember when I first entered the Internet. Even in those days of Gopher and early versions of Mosaic, I found an exciting and brand-new world, ripe with incredible possibilities. It was a world of free expression, rapid access to vast storehouses of information, instant contact with anyone who had the resources to connect.
But a dark thought always lurked in...
Published on February 19, 2002 by David E. Rogers
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Complex But Wonderful Nonetheless
The book is written in a very complex style -- especially the sections where Lessig goes into the nitty gritty of the architecture behind the Internet -- but the book is a wonderful read, especially for those who come from the mindset that copyright laws should serve to give full control to the creator. While Lessig's style is unnecessarily complex, the book is ultimately...
Published on June 16, 2005 by Simit Patel
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good historical and future views, but neglects the present,
This review is from: The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World (Hardcover)Rather than just looking at what the intellectual property law is today, he does an excellent job of framing what all of the different types of intellectual property are, how they were intended to be protected (or not!) by the framers of the Constitution, and where we've strayed since then. He provides a very interesting and compelling argument that much of the direction we're headed in today is being forced by corporations who really should be doing that sort of thing -- it's in their charter! However, he points out that it's the responsibility of the people and the government to take actions to ensure a level playing field where people can still make major, field-shattering innovations. It's a great argument, and one that I highly recommend reading through and thinking hard about.
Unfortunately, he doesn't talk much about what kinds of innovation DO happen in the current model (in the large), and how it contrasts with the kinds of innovation that happen in the other model (in the small) that he wants to try to enforce. The implication is that it's as little as possible while maintaining status quo, but that seems hard to believe. Maybe I'm just overly optimistic.
4.0 out of 5 stars Considering Legal Frameworks for Intellectual property, Copyright, Information Ownership, And Fair Use,
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3.0 out of 5 stars So-so,
This review is from: The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World (Hardcover)This book is not bad. The author's opinion is clear-cut and provoking. But, I don't think he need to use 352 pages to support his idea. Though in fact, the facts that he shows are important to support his idea, many people feel familiar with those facts.
5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone Should Read This Book,
This review is from: The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World (Hardcover)Lessig does a very good idea describing how we are radically shifting how ideas are controlled. His previous book, Code, was a little more abstract, but is a good introduction for this book. In Code he explained that although we think the internet is all about freedom it need not always be that way. In this book he specifically shows how technology is being used to provide owners of intellectual property GREATER control over how their work is used. Today we accept that we can go to a library and get a book for free or borrow a copy of book from a friend. However, music companies (one of many examples) are working technology so that every listening of a song (in electronic form) could be tracted (and presumably charge for). With the current debates about internet radio charging, embedding of anti-piracy technology in all PCs, allowing music companies to plant viruses to punish file-sharers this book could not be more timely (well maybe it could have come out a little earlier). I don't agree with all of Lessig's opinions, but I did agree with his overall premise that we are in the middle of vast shift of how intellectual property is controlled and it requires more thought than we are giving it today.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good review,
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars vitally important and well-told!,
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I believe Lessig is right, but wait...,
This review is from: The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World (Hardcover)First this book is surprisingly high in detail, so much you have to be seriously committed to reading this. I won't go into deatails, but what I will say is that from this research Lessig predicts our immediate future will be darkened by the digital future. There will be a great chasm between the haves(digital intellectuals) and the have nots(digital users or little wheels of all time). That definitely makes sense in general, but read this with detailed reasoning, becomes a bit scary for our grandchildren if they are not in the upper class.
A very good book that picks up where this leaves off is SB 1 or God, also states our immediate future will be as Lessig states, but after that generation passes,.... By Karl Mark Maddox
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best on the subject,
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6 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Profound and carefully crafted book!,
Mr. Lessing divided his book into three sections, the first focuses on the Commons, the second describes the relationship of constraints of creativity to the physical, logical, and content layers, the third discusses regulation; balancing control over the range of products/services known as the Internet realm. In this third section, an interweaving of the prior two sections facilitates illustration of the impacts on real space. Overall, the book was enjoyable and the method Mr. Lessing used to develop his themes was effective. One would have to read his masterfully written book to reap the benefits. A summary and review of a few pages long does not closely describe the valuable information provided and insights of Mr. Lessing. In attempting to provide a summary review of the The Future of Ideas I will compress some highlights into a few paragraphs and hopefully give a respectable hint of Mr. Lessing's use of examples to express his views.
First off, to illustrate the commons and its effect on promoting innovation an account of the World Wide Web (WWW) was given. There were several factors that influenced Tim Berners Lee design for the WWW. One of these was that CERN (the European Scientific Organization) computers could not communicate with each other easily. Other factors were that Berners Lee did not want the WWW to have no centralized point of control to be a bottleneck that restricted the growth of the WWW. Luckily, there were two instrumental occurrences for the WWW, one was that there was going to be a charge for use of a competing network protocol called Gopher. The other was that CERN released to right to the Web to the public domain where anyone could build upon it. Today, hypertext markup language (HTML) and hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) is open to the public. The WWW design was made possible by the Internets' architecture. The protocols to send retrieve hypertext were open and were not easy to discriminate upon (however, this openness is proving to be a thing of the past).
The second section of The of Future Ideas starts off by discussing artistic creativity and the effects of control on it. Mr. Lessing describes instances where constraints can limit creativity and he also stresses that there is an underlying necessity for a balance on control. There are incentives that motivate individuals to create but absolute control can stifle future growth. One can still reap some rewards by creating new content while still making it available for others to build their ideas onto. Mr. Lessing emphasized this by summarizing the MP3, HTML Books, Films, and Napster cases.
In the third section, Mr. Lessing incorporates the examples already given about AT&T, the FCC, copyright, media, and music to discuss control of at each layer. The comparison of real world regulation on AT&T to the regulation of the cable industry emphasized some inconsistency in the existing laws. The cable industry is positioned (key leaders to lobby policy makers) to influence regulators and it appears to effectively minimize increased regulation similar to those placed upon the telephone industry (AT&T). Moreover, technology has improved to a point where there are businesses designed to monitor usage of content. When new businesses arises by using existing content the owners of that content rush to stop it. This is understandable considering that businesses are obligated to shareholders to make a profit and a good way to ensure continual profits is to maintain a competitive edge. However, Mr. Lessing points out that the companies although lawfully justified by law to stop the use of their material are selectively choosing when to block usage. As you might guess, it is usually done when there is the potential for birth of new competition, but when it occurs in a promotional capacity the usage is allowed or overlooked.
10 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Dangers of Dumbing Down,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World (Hardcover)Prof Lessig's book is provocative and provides a useful trawl through the consequences of commercialising of the dot.commons. That said, the work oversimplifies much of the tensions that emerge from law's patronage of economic interests. It is obvious that economics does not provide an ideal response to the problems of scarcity and incentives. Does or can his solutions (eg limited licenses) resolve attempts to reclaim the commons? To be fair, whilst the work does identify issues which are of importance, it is not adequately supported by a fundamental premise that he adopts. Is it true that in the global commons we do not 'pay' for our roads, parks etc? Tax lawyers will take a different view: even the air we breate is paid for. Another point that is worth noting is that one of the criticisms made of the Internet is that there is information overload. His work does not address this. In the music industry, the employment of copyright and technical measures will mean less music on the Internet. What is wrong with that? Some would say that not having to see the offerings of Disney, Sony etc is progress and frees up the future of ideas!
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The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World by Lawrence Lessig (Hardcover - October 30, 2001)
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