- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The; 1st edition (October 16, 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1594201722
- ISBN-13: 978-1594201721
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 36 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,415,740 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy Hardcover – October 16, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Should anyone besides libertarian hackers or record companies care about copyright in the online world? In this incisive treatise, Stanford law prof and Wired columnist Lessig (Free Culture) argues that we should. He frames the problem as a war between an old read-only culture, in which media megaliths sell copyrighted music and movies to passive consumers, and a dawning digital read-write culture, in which audiovisual products are freely downloaded and manipulated in an explosion of democratized creativity. Both cultures can thrive in a hybrid economy, he contends, pioneered by Web entities like YouTube. Lessig's critique of draconian copyright laws—highlighted by horror stories of entertainment conglomerates threatening tweens for putting up Harry Potter fan sites—is trenchant. (Why, he asks, should sampling music and movies be illegal when quoting texts is fine?) Lessig worries that too stringent copyright laws could stifle such remix masterpieces as a powerful doctored video showing George Bush and Tony Blair lip-synching the song Endless Love, or making scofflaws of America's youth by criminalizing their irrepressible downloading. We leave this (copyrighted) book feeling the stakes are pretty low, except for media corporations. (Oct. 20)
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From The New Yorker
As Lessig, a law professor at Stanford, sees it, if intellectual-property law is left as it is an entire generation will be criminalized. He argues that the ways in which young people break copyright laws help them to become the sort of people we want them to be�creative and collaborative. Kids today are simply not going to give up downloading music and using copyrighted material in YouTube videos: they belong to a culture for which �remix� is �the essential art.� Lessig�s proposals for revising copyright are compelling, because they rethink intellectual-property rights without abandoning them. He argues that hybrids that combine the �commercial and sharing� economies can create value for both sides (as Harry Potter fan sites and Lostpedia have done); indeed, one problem is media companies� appropriating the work of fans without returning the favor. �When both benefit,� Lessig writes, �how do we say who is riding for free?�
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More generally, I would advocate for a revised edition. Two reasons. First, as I read it, I wondered if we're really heading towards Lessig's vision and if there are more recent waypoints that illuminate progress towards (or away) from his vision. Second reason: Lessig appears to be a political person. Fine. But he unfortunately links his advocacy in the final chapter to the rather dynamic geopolitical lessons of a "failure" in Iraq ... and to our environmental(global warming) tipping point. His argument to paraphrase is that media conglomerates cannot win the copyright/sharing war for the same reason we cannot win in Iraq. Oooops. With the benefit of time it would appear that Iraq has been won using the wise application of power. So it would therefore it follow's that Warner Brothers (and the media giants will win too with their wise application of market power)? You can't make a conclusive argument and then tie it to an inconclusive parallel. His political analogies have diminished his own argument. Embarrassing. Time for a revision. (And time for the author to spend less time with politico ideologues.)
But. That said. Lessig's argument around his core subject is huge and redefining and this is a worthwhile read.