- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The (March 30, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1594200068
- ISBN-13: 978-1594200069
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.3 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 52 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #945,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity
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The author has an interesting ability to bring in anecdotes that enliven his narrative. He also is able to relate in somewhat painful detail his intervention in the Ellred case - where the Supreme Court denied the ability of a person to publish a poem - that by any reasonable standard should be in the public domain. He discusses the role of Jack Valenti (MPA) and the RIAA in trying to alter the balance of interests between the producers and the consumers of ideas.
Finally, professor Lessig makes two more sets of contributions that are important to help us understand the dynamics of an arcane issue. First, he does a great job at setting the context for the debates about intellectual property - some of this builds on what was written in his two earlier books - but it is valuable none-the-less. Intellectual property and physical property are not the same and should probably not be considered co-equal under the law.
At the same time he makes a great set of suggestions about how to balance the rights of producers of ideas and consumers.
The original debate that got Americans concerned with these issues began between James Madison and Thomas Jefferson who argued over the appropriate scope of the "progress clause" in the Constitution. Lessig follows in that great tradition and adds to our knowledge.
If you don't believe in the original ideas that the framers had in mind when copyright laws were drafted, you won't be able to follow Lessig's argument. Some believe that ALL property is absolute and that intellectual property should be no different, regardless of the reasons that we have for limiting the reach and scope of our intellectual property rights.
long live "free" culture!