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Free Culture: The Nature and Future of Creativity Paperback – February 22, 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
Lessig begins by describing how the notion of a real property right for land extending into the sky to "an indefinite extent, upwards" became a real rather than theoretical issue with the invention of the airplane. In 1945, the Causbys, a family of North Carolina farmers, filed a suit against the government for trespassing with its low-flying planes, and the Supreme Court declared the airways to be public space. This example shows how the scope of property rights can change with changes of technology, in this particular case resulting in an uncompensated taking from private property owners, yet leading to enormous innovation and the development of a new industry and form of transportation. He follows this with the example of the development of FM radio, which was intentionally back-burnered by RCA and then hobbled by government regulation at RCA's behest in order to protect its existing investment in AM radio.Read more ›
Lessig does a formidable job of making the issue come alive for both experts and laymen with his use of anecdotes that clearly illustrate how the ever-growing term and scope of copyright have stifled creativity and shrunken the portion of our culture in the public domain. He shows how the content industry is trying to redefine IP as the equivalent of tangible property, when it is not and has never been, and how that industry has manipulated Congress and the Courts to get closer to its goal.
If you followed the Eldred v. Ashcroft case (like I did; I was lucky to be at oral argument before the Supremes), you'll want to pick up this book for Lessig's inside account. Most of it is a mea culpa for not realizing that the Court didn't want a constitutional argument, but a consequentialist one. I'm not sure this would have made a difference. The Court's right, who, like Lessig, I thought would chime in for a strict reading of what is clear language of "limited times" in the Copyright Clause, must have had some special reason for turning their backs on their originalist rhetoric and I doubt that a political argument would have changed their minds. I still can't understand what that reason might be, and I refuse to believe it's just the dead hand of stare decisis that gave Scalia pause.Read more ›
This book is recommended for all, and is a must for all law students and lawyers.
It's historical research sets the foundation for a look at things to come on the Internet as new technology threatens established media, much the same way as Lessig points out it did in previous centuries. The pirates of yesteryear are the corporations of today who threaten the pirates of today. He is humble as he describes his defeat in the US Supreme Court and proactive as he puts some suggestions forward to resolve the current crisis affecting copyright on the Net.
Couldn't put it down and have already purchased Code 2 by the same author.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book provides an expansive overview of the history of copyright while touching on the important implications of copyright for society. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Renee
A very scary view of our society and legal system.
Unfortunately, it's true, and remains unchaged to this day. Read more
This is one of those books that's required for a college course that you keep and then recommend to your parents. Read morePublished on April 7, 2013 by J
Not a bad idea, but its hard to like it too much when it feels like an alarmist conspiracy theory. Some of the examples used were a little fuzzy. Read morePublished on October 29, 2012 by Mary Finochiaro
This book is great eye opener to today's world of copyright law. Lessig shows how perpetual copyrights and corporate lawyers are destroying the future of culture. Read morePublished on July 20, 2012 by Robert
I needed this book for my Mass Media Law class. The school bookstore could not obtain enough copies for every student and I was one of them. Read morePublished on May 26, 2012 by VH1