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Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  801 ratings  ·  72 reviews
The author of Free Culture shows how we harm our children—and almost anyone who creates, enjoys, or sells any art form—with a restrictive copyright system driven by corporate interests. Lessig reveals the solutions to this impasse offered by a collaborative yet profitable “hybrid economy”.

Lawrence Lessig, the reigning authority on intellectual property in the Internet age,...more
Hardcover, 327 pages
Published October 16th 2008 by Penguin Press HC, The (first published 2008)
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Digital Economy
4th out of 13 books — 10 voters
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18th out of 22 books — 6 voters


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Community Reviews

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Jackie
Every time I pick up a book by him, I am always impressed by Lawrence Lessig's capacity at storytelling. There aren't many people who are simultaneously talented academics and lawyers - expert enough to argue cases before the supreme court - who can also tell stories relevant to their subject in a manner that would be captivating to any audience and at the same time manages to explain technical legal, economic, and philosophical points. This book by Lessig focuses on recent changes in the legal...more
Ben Babcock
I'd recommend Remix to anyone who creates content, whether as part of their day job or simply as a hobby in their basement. Lawrence Lessig takes the complicated issues surrounding modern copyright and explains them in terms laypeople can comprehend. Moreover, he makes a compelling argument from an economic standpoint as to why less copyright could lead to more profit.

My favourite quotation from this book is:

Copyright law has got to give up its obsession with "the copy." The law should not regul
...more
Sonia Reppe
Oct 19, 2010 Sonia Reppe rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sonia by: for lis class
We live in a remix culture. We share, exchange, spread, criticize, and build upon numerous creative works. Because of the increasing digitization of our culture, every use of a work produces a copy; hence copyright laws are more far-reaching. Too far, Lessing says. He says that copyright laws need to be redefined.
He proposes:
1. Deregulate Amateur Creativity
2. Clear Title
3. Simplify
4. Decriminalize the Copy
5. Decriminalize File Sharing

What does this mean for librarians? (I ask this because I had...more
Jenny Thompson
What does it mean to turn an entire generation into criminals?

This is the essential question Lessig asks in his book, and I think it is a good one. I challenge you to find one person in my generation who has not in someway violated someone's copyright. I doubt you could do it.

Lessig argues that the current copyright system is broken, and it is actually hurting our society. He discusses many of the interesting ways that people have made something new out of copyrighted material. Personally, I kno...more
Justine
Larry Lessig offered me a very inspiring thought in his book, which is "The law is a way of speaking and thinking and, most important, an ethic. Every lawyer must feel responsible for the law he or she helps make ... the law is made as it is practiced. How it is made depends upon the values its practitioners share."

In Remix (published in 2008), he puts copyright and IP law into perspective vis a vis the digital age. Where laws are created without the anticipation that entirely new operating fram...more
Giovanni Dall'Orto
Nel medioevo i signorotti feudali vantavano una serie di diritti di proprietà sui beni d'uso collettivo o individuale, per i quali pretendevano il pagamento d'una tassa: il focatico per il diritto ad accendere il fuoco, il legnatico per il diritto di fare legna nel bosco e così via, includendo l'uso del mulino, dei pascoli e chi più ne ha più ne metta. Collettivamente questi diritti si chiamavano "angarìe" o "angherìe", e il fatto che oggi la parola "angheria" non significhi affatto "retribuzion...more
Michael
Lessig does it again, and does it better.

My Amazon.com review says it all, but here's what I'll say here:

What is completely new about Remix is that it finally and fully embraces the human context that was always present in Lessig's writing, but always subordinated to facts and arguments. In Remix it becomes clear that we can no longer dismiss his writings as "of the elite for the elite by the elite". More dramatically, and speaking as a father myself, I believe that the experience of fatherhood...more
Ben Bush
Lessig's book is the first I've read regarding copyright that examines preferable alternatives to the current system: one that might reward artists and allow for collage-remix creativity. His alternate version of file-sharing sounded hopeful but was not fleshed out enough to seem totally believable. I think I would favor his proposed tax on digital technology that would be distributed to artists according to the frequency of their work being downloaded but wasn't entirely convinced it would work...more
kthread
Larry Lessig beckons us in his new book, Remix, to think about the future of a generation weaned on pirated media. In his usual elegant style, he clears the bramble around thorny issues of gift economies, fan labor (though he doesn't use the term), and what he calls the "Copyright Wars." (Here's video of the author reading the book's introduction.)

If you regularly read books in this genre you will recognize many of these examples; accordingly, Lessig works to reinvigorate the Potter Wars anecdo...more
Jeffrey
Lessig is a lawyer and law professor who has been at the forefront of questioning copyright controls in the digital age. He presents a number of ideas about how the internet, crowdsourcing, and artistic remixing are the modalities for economic and cultural development in the 21st century.

Unlike other books that I've read about the digital revolution,* Lessig comes down squarely on the side of technological innovation and all that it has spurred: presenting a picture of the internet as a vast fro...more
Dave Lefevre
At the end of this book Lessig ends with a brief explanation of why our government acts irrational when it comes to copyright, education, war, and a slew of other items. To paraphrase, he says it's because our kids have less money to give to corporate campaigns than the RIAA, big oil, war profiteers, et al. I posit that if our system was sane right now, Lessig would be one of the top spokesmen for items like the legality of public expression on the net. He would be someone who would often show u...more
Zerenus
I had high expectations for this book and was generally pleased to that end. I have known about Lawrence Lessig for awhile because of some involvement in past virtual communities he helped establish and because of his work in helping establish the Creative Commons, an alternate to standard copyright.

In the book Lessig argues that modern communication and information technology has reached a point where what was once an esoteric, highly expensive and exclusive set of activities (creating things...more
Writerlibrarian
A clear and simple but not simplistic view of where copyrights law is doing to creativity, to innovation, to an entire generation of people who are 'pirates' by default.

The examples are dated, even if this was written in 2008. Digital content, technologies and how we interact, play, learn, create on this great universe of the Internet changes constantly but the basic principles of Lessig argument are interesting and do make clear that the Read Only industry has had its hour of glory and that th...more
Mark
Remix, the latest from Larry Lessig, is in essence a well-organized long essay/argument from one of the captains of the Copyleft movement. Anyone wanting a springboard to understand the compromise embodied in the Copyleft and/or the Creative Commons licensing, as well as their relationship to the commercial and sharing economies, should pick this up. Remix is thought-provoking, often suggesting further analysis and consideration without specific solutions. After comparing and contrasting "read-o...more
Avolyn Fisher
Lawrence writes a compelling argument as to why our current legal system surrounding electronic data, file sharing, and information written copyright is in need of serious reform. Discussing a wide range of topics from music to art to copyrighted text and crowd sourcing; Lawrence weaves an interesting web in his discussion of how copyright law and rights to information is going to have to change as the internet makes sharing informatoin easier. He not only argues why our system is flawed but als...more
Claire
Anyone who is a creative for a living should definitely read this book which discusses the problems with United States' current and outdated copyright law.

Lessig proposes we stop waging copyright wars on our kids because our technology has changed while our laws haven't.

It's a thoroughly researched and cited book that got me thinking.
Adam Ross
This was a solid introduction to some of the problems with our current cultural and legal systems when it comes to encouraging culture. Lessig calls our current culture "Read Only," and argues that this is the expression of professional culture and commodity culture, but that true culture building comes from what he calls "Read/Write" culture; that is, the freedom to "mash-up" parts of culture into new forms. He says that our laws serve to protect RO culture to the prosecution, destruction and d...more
Josh
An interesting perspective on the current state of American Copyright law that easily gets off topic, but none-the-less makes valid points. The book doesn't clearly lay out a solution, but if it could, I imagine the law itself would be easier to change - and as it stands now, it is not.

While the book is about law, it is written for the layman and is easy to understand. Lessig talks about economies and society as well as law and none of his points are particularly confusing. At times, I wish he d...more
Elizabeth
The content of this book will be largely familiar to anyone who knows Lessig's work or even has passing familiarity with Lev Manovich's and/or Henry Jenkins' ideas about "remix." This said, Lessig does a nice job here explaining such concepts in an accessible way that will help contextualize these issues for someone outside media studies. Moreover, he animates his work with an argument not only to inform his readers, but to convince them that based on what he explains, copyright and our approach...more
Joe
I was drawn to this book as an elementary school teacher who loves to use video/music mash-ups in my classroom to enliven content material, yet fear I am somehow a criminal according to the letter of the law. I thoroughly enjoyed this; although, much of the technical economics discourse was beyond me. I loved Lessig's basic argument -- that we are currently stuck in a "read only" cultural model and need to be shifting to a more accepting "read/write" culture to advance and grow in meaningful way...more
Alexandra
Because I began to work on line, I found it necessary to start finding out what was happening to my stuff on line, and that is why I began to read this new literature. This is actually like a mini text, much to learn and new terminology, but very clear. Lynn's style is very artistic, it is entertaining and clear. Beware there is a lot of information in this little book, pay attention and read with caution. I can tell already it is 5 stars, it satisfies my initial curiosity and instructs for furt...more
Joe
Reread for my course on Writing in a Digital Age. I remain thankful for Lessig's groundbreaking critique of expanded copyright laws and his advocacy of a read-write culture.
Peter Nestor
Excellent suggestions for revision to the law, esp. regarding decriminalization of copyright infringement. The numerous examples of shared culture, and non-financial incentives to create new works were useful. The nuanced approach to copyright law -- protect the blockbuster film that WILL lose money if pirated, but let a new artist's work be pirated freely to thier benefit -- is interesting. But is it likely to actually happen? Maybe through the courts, but that could messier than the current si...more
Lukas
It was a good read in some ways, and I agree with some of Lawrence's theories about where copyright law should head. What I didn't enjoy was his divisive use of age and generation to make his case - as though only teenagers' creativity is affected by copyright as it stands now because they are of the "new school" so he effectively ignores countless artists of all ages and generations who have been "remixing" or at least re-using copyrighted material in new ways for years and years. I think he ne...more
Saraq
Good, but I kind of felt like it was preaching to the choir without giving much substance as far as how to bring copyright law effectively into the digital age. If you're a newbie to copyright and/or copyright on the web this would be a great read. I'd also recommend it to people who don't understand why they don't have free reign to copy and distribute at will what they find online. Lessig tells us that copyright can work in the digital area, but that we need to make changes and why- I'm ready...more
Martin
Though I'm way behind the times, just catching up now on this 2008 manifesto, there's still a ton of well-reasoned, excellent arguments for changing the way we do (creative) business. Even the reference to MySpace and utter absence of Facebook couldn't detract from the power of Lessig's thinking. Also served to underscore what an insanely different world we're living in, four years later. If I'd just waited four MORE years to read "Remix" I wouldn't have thought about Facebook (bankrupt, 2015) b...more
Shawn Roberts
This is a very convincing argument that copyright laws as they stand are not doing the job. Anyone interested in this issue should at least give this a skim. Lessig's writing style, full of unfunny asides, can get annoying and there are some obvious editing mistakes that I can't believe weren't caught. There are also (as is typical in business books) way too many examples and not enough content binding them together. In sum, I'd say read the opening, skim the middle pages and tune back in for th...more
Garrett
Disappointingly limited in scope, Lessig spends only one chapter discussing proposed changes to the actual copyright regime. Even then, these changes are only vaguely described, with no explanation of how they would actually be implemented. Instead, this book is a short polemic about the problems that current regulation has with creative artists like Girl Talk. You'd have to imagine that anyone purchasing this book is already familiar with that problem, and so this book isn't terribly interestin...more
Xabier Cid
There are only two 'buts' to add to this extraordinary, and also temporary, work: one is its sometimes weak approach to the main economic models (sharing / money / hybrid) where, with a more solid system of quoting some of the key previous works on the field, the results could be better. The other one is also a perhaps too naif examination of the European Law concerning the 'fair use'. Both of these aspects are, however, quite marginal for the purpose of the book. It's a book needed to be read.
Patrick Lum
Though Lessig makes a lot of sound arguments especially in regard to copyright reform I can't help but feel that overall this is a rather light book. Case studies are relatively brief and glossed over. Still, interesting ideas and a real understanding of how people in a digital environment tend to behave (although slightly outdated, as all literature is, by the rapidly changing virtual landscape).
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Wrong Book Title 1 30 Aug 13, 2008 12:06AM  
  • The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind
  • The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom
  • Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How It Threatens Creativity
  • The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It
  • Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future
  • Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide
  • Free Ride: How Digital Parasites are Destroying the Culture Business, and How the Culture Business Can Fight Back
  • Everything Is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder
  • Free Software, Free Society: Selected Essays
  • Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age
  • Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives
  • Grown Up Digital: How the Net Generation Is Changing Your World
  • Being Digital
  • Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle For Internet Freedom
  • Piracy: The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates
  • The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism
  • Who Controls the Internet?: Illusions of a Borderless World
  • The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet
25159
Lawrence "Larry" Lessig (born June 3, 1961) is an American academic and political activist. He is best known as a proponent of reduced legal restrictions on copyright, trademark, and radio frequency spectrum, particularly in technology applications.
He is a director of the Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics at Harvard University and a professor of law at Harvard Law School. Prior to rejoi...more
More about Lawrence Lessig...
Free Culture: The Nature and Future of Creativity Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress--and a Plan to Stop It The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World Code: Version 2.0 One Way Forward: The Outsider's Guide to Fixing the Republic

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“Copyright law has got to give up its obsession with 'the copy.' The law should not regulate 'copies' or 'modern reproductions' on their own. It should instead regulate uses--like public distributions of copies of copyrighted work--that connect directly to the economic incentive copyright law was intended to foster.” 11 likes
“Why should it be that just when technology is
most encouraging of creativity, the law should be most restrictive?”
7 likes
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