Free culture

Free culture

By Lawrence Lessig
Book Description

Lawrence Lessig could be called a cultural environmentalist. One of America’s most original and influential public intellectuals, his focus is the social dimension of creativity: how creative work builds on the past and how society encourages or inhibits that building with laws and technologies. In his two previous books, CODE and THE FUTURE OF IDEAS, Lessig concentrated on the destruction of much of the original promise of the Internet. Now, in FREE CULTURE, he widens his focus to consider the diminishment of the larger public domain of ideas. In this powerful wake-up call he shows how short-sighted interests blind to the long-term damage they’re inflicting are poisoning the ecosystem that fosters innovation.

All creative works—books, movies, records, software, and so on—are a compromise between what can be imagined and what is possible—technologically and legally. For more than two hundred years, laws in America have sought a balance between rewarding creativity and allowing the borrowing from which new creativity springs. The original term of copyright set by the First Congress in 1790 was 14 years, renewable once. Now it is closer to two hundred. Thomas Jefferson considered protecting the public against overly long monopolies on creative works an essential government role. What did he know that we’ve forgotten?

Lawrence Lessig shows us that while new technologies always lead to new laws, never before have the big cultural monopolists used the fear created by new technologies, specifically the Internet, to shrink the public domain of ideas, even as the same corporations use the same technologies to control more and more what we can and can’t do with culture. As more and more culture becomes digitized, more and more becomes controllable, even as laws are being toughened at the behest of the big media groups. What’s at stake is our freedom—freedom to create, freedom to build, and ultimately, freedom to imagine.

Purchase links benefitting Creative Commons and Public Knowledge are available on the author's website.

Table of Contents
  • Free Culture - How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity,Lawrence Lessig
    • Attribution
      • [Preface]
      • [Intro]
    • "PIRACY"
      • [Intro]
      • Chapter One: Creators
      • Chapter Two: "Mere Copyists"
      • Chapter Three: Catalogs
      • Chapter Four: "Pirates"
        • Film
        • Recorded Music
        • Radio
        • Cable TV
      • Chapter Five: "Piracy"
        • Piracy I
        • Piracy II
    • "PROPERTY"
      • [Intro]
      • Chapter Six: Founders
      • Chapter Seven: Recorders
      • Chapter Eight: Transformers
      • Chapter Nine: Collectors
      • Chapter Ten: "Property"
        • Why Hollywood Is Right
        • Beginnings
        • Law: Duration
        • Law: Scope
        • Law and Architecture: Reach
        • Architecture and Law: Force
        • Market: Concentration
        • Together
      • Chapter Eleven: Chimera
      • Chapter Twelve: Harms
        • Constraining Creators
        • Constraining Innovators
        • Corrupting Citizens
      • [Intro]
      • Chapter Thirteen: Eldred
      • Chapter Fourteen: Eldred II
      • [Conclusion]
      • [Intro]
      • US, NOW
        • Rebuilding Freedoms Previously Presumed: Examples
        • Rebuilding Free Culture: One Idea
      • THEM, SOON
        • 1. More Formalities
          • Registration and Renewal
          • Marking
        • 2. Shorter Terms
        • 3. Free Use Vs. Fair Use
        • 4. Liberate the Music - Again
        • 5. Fire Lots of Lawyers
    • NOTES
      • Notes
      • [Acknowledgments]
      • Other Works and REVIEWS of FreeCulture
      • JACKET
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