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Free Culture: The Nature and Future of Creativity

4.11  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,144 Ratings  ·  177 Reviews
Lawrence Lessig, “the most important thinker on intellectual property in the Internet era” (The New Yorker), masterfully argues that never before in human history has the power to control creative progress been so concentrated in the hands of the powerful few, the so-called Big Media. Never before have the cultural powers- that-be been able to exert such control over what ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published February 22nd 2005 by Penguin Books (first published May 10th 2004)
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Alfaniel Aldavan
Oct 28, 2013 Alfaniel Aldavan rated it it was amazing
Free Culture, as in Free Speech (not as in "free beer").

I have received an answer from GoodReads, on my objections to its removals of "not original" content.

Hi Alfaniel,

Thanks for the response. We didn't mean to suggest that you were plagiarizing another review - our apologies! We should have clarified that we try to avoid users posting duplicate reviews to the point that it’s difficult for other members to find different perspectives about the book. When a book page is barraged with copy-pasted
Aug 24, 2007 Melissa rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: proponents of civil disobedience and DVD pirates
I really got wrapped up in Lessig's ideas while reading this book, in fact getting so passionate about fighint gour crappy copyright legislation that I made myself a nuisance in a librarian training session and picked a fight with my husband. So, Lessig, I'm behind you all the way, but your book is a homewrecker. (This review is Creative Commons licensed share-and-share-alike.)
Carly McKenna
Mar 03, 2013 Carly McKenna rated it it was amazing
Most of us assume that copyright law exists, first and foremost, to protect the intellectual property of creators. Free Culture, however, asks us to reconsider this assumption. Whose interests does copyright law serve, how has this changed throughout history and what implications does this have for our creative culture? These are the fundamental questions that this book takes up.

Free Culture contextualises the contemporary debates about p2p file-sharing by tracing the inconsistent history of cop
Jun 04, 2012 Rex rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I've long admired Lessig's work to make copyright work (e.g., his work establishing the Creative Commons licensing scheme). While Lessig calls himself a liberal, and frames his argument principally on a value usually championed by liberals—the effect that copyright has on culture—he ably illustrates why aspects of the current copyright law should be seen as extreme, even if one subscribes to a more libertarian point of view. The most interesting part of the book describes Lessig's role in arguin ...more
Lawrence Lessig, “the most important thinker on intellectual property in the Internet era” (The New Yorker), masterfully argues that never before in human history has the power to control creative progress been so concentrated in the hands of the powerful few, the so-called Big Media. Never before have the cultural powers- that-be been able to exert such control over what we can and can't do with the culture around us. Our society defends free markets and free speech; why then does it permit suc ...more
Jun 17, 2008 Katy rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Katy by: Vaughn
My good friend was thanked in the credits of this book - but that aside - I love the author of this book. So basically, I'm totally biased and don't have anything objective to say about "free culture" if you are interested in Patent/copyright law or the future of ideas, it is a must read
Robin Hartanto
Mar 17, 2012 Robin Hartanto rated it really liked it
Belum lama ini, dunia maya diramaikan dengan berbagai protes dari situs-situs mainstream seperti Google, Wikipedia, Mozilla, hingga Flickr terhadap Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) dan PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). Mereka menyerukan bahwa SOPA dan PIPA akan membatasi kebebasan dan kreativitas. Rupanya, perang terhadap kebebasan ini sebenarnya bukanlah barang baru.

Tahun 2004, Lawrence Lessig, salah seorang pencetus Creative Common yang juga seorang pakar hukum, telah menyerukannya. Melalui buku Budaya Beba
May 02, 2009 Liv rated it liked it
I read this book through, and it was fairly well suited to the instalment format. Came across as a series of small essays, instead of a continuous thought.

Lessig was a decently pleasant narrator, although he relied a little too heavily on case studies and analogies for my preferences. I'd prefer broader descriptions of ideas and ideals, followed by case studies instead of introduced by them.

Near the end was a paragraph which crystallized my understanding of why I think the free cult
Jul 09, 2012 Jesse rated it it was amazing
Fantastic look at the evolution of copyright in America over the last century and how technology (especially the Internet) is affecting it. Despite being eight years old, it is still relevant w/r/t the Internet, though I would be curious to see more updated numbers on estimated file-sharing and discussion of more recent issues such as Netflix/Hulu vs. the cable distributors. This book discusses how radically the conversation about media rights and the assumptions we previously held have shifted ...more
I can imagine this being far more helpful to an older person. Being part of a generation that was still pretty young when the Internet came into its own, I found that Lessig's arguments were often so intuitive that I wondered why I was reading. Furthermore, the book lacks any kind of theoretical approach, relying heavily on anecdotal evidence. And the theoretical basis there is is often predicated on a grim free-market approach. However, this might prove informative to someone a bit older, and I ...more
Noah Preszler
Jun 04, 2014 Noah Preszler rated it it was amazing
The big reason we need copyright reform is to allow the access and preservation of all the media that is no longer commercially available, the enormous amount of books, newspapers, films, music, television, etc. that is rotting away in dusty vaults. The copyrights on this cultural heritage, this history, do no good and place a huge legal burden on those of us interested in it. It should be allowed to pass into the public domain for archival, study, and remixing. What Mr. Lessig reveals in this b ...more
Joe Machado
Jan 10, 2016 Joe Machado rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I find it interesting that the author takes part in name calling and condescension, while in the same breath admits he needs to convince a certain amount of his opponents to come to his side to get anywhere nearer his goal. He seems to blame what he calls "righties" to some extent, and I'm confused as to what he thinks this is. A Republican in not necessarily a "rightie" and while I know a lot of republicans and democrats who think more government regulation is an awesome thing, I don't know any ...more
Jan 07, 2008 Erica rated it it was amazing
Witty, well researched, amazingly well written treatise on the nature of copyright law in a digital culture. As little legal nonsense as possible, as much discussion about the nature of creativity as being inherently collaborative within a culture, and how creativity is not a luxury but a necessity to maintain a vibrant free democratic culture. I heart Lawrence Lessig.
Sep 27, 2007 Eric rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics, technology, law
I can't give this book a high enough rating; it should be required reading for everyone. A vital survey of what's wrong with copyright law, and the destructive anti-technology crusades of corporate interests like the RIAA and MPAA.
Mar 22, 2009 Daniel rated it it was amazing
Not often I read non-fiction for fun. Okay, that may be a lie. But I found this book fascinating, and the answers to many questions I have asked myself and others over the years were found in these pages.
Tyler Lowery
Apr 07, 2016 Tyler Lowery rated it liked it
After reading The Idealist, I wanted to look into a couple books about Free Culture. One of the books was written by a man Aaron Swartz spoke highly of and a luminary of the movement, Lawrence Lessig. I don't have much to say about this book because it didn't give me much. This acts as a history book to the movement, for the most part, and that's fine. It provides some good information about the movement and copyright history as well, but it just wasn't engaging. Also, as an aside, the audiobook ...more
Karan Goel
May 03, 2016 Karan Goel rated it it was amazing
Free Culture is a different book. Written by a lawyer, it's free of BS, free of filler content. It's 300-something pages of just logical, reasonable content.

I agreed with Lessig's premise that the current IP system is stupid, reading Free Culture gave clarity to my thoughts.

Lessig is not anti-copyright, he just wants common sense in the system. Common sense is something that's left out of political discussions. That's what has caused MPAA and RIAA and others to hold create copyrights for decades
Lessig does a good job of showing how the intellectual property regime has closed in on us over the last 100 years. He also shows who has benefited (big business)and he offers some suggestions of what could be done - given the current system and power structure.

The problem is that he doesn't seem capable of thinking outside of the power structure. He spends so much time telling us over and over that he isn't an anarchist. He would have better used that time thinking about the forces that distort
Vincent Li
Feb 23, 2016 Vincent Li rated it really liked it
I was hesitant at first to read this book because it was published more than a decade ago (in 2004). Some of the age shows; Lessig spends a paragraph explaining the new fangled conception of a "blog" and remarks with surprise that the Japanese are streaming mp3s through their cell phones. I'm glad I pushed through and finished the book, it was worth all the dated references. I learned a lot about intellectual property, and came across arguments that are original and relevant even 12 years later. ...more
Another great read (a Creative Commons licensed read!) by free culture advocate and IP lawyer, Lawrence Lessig. As he does often, he does not come out against Copyright, as the media would have you believe. Instead he talks about how antiquated and abused Copyright extensions are greatly limited the culture of society for the benefit of a few companies.

The best part of the book is when he discusses his Supreme Court case in which he tried to show the Justices how Congress is acting outside of th
Jun 28, 2015 Jackie rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 13, 2014 Dimitri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pada saya sedang membacanya, dan orang di sekitar saya melihat judulnya, yang mereka bayangkan adalah budaya bebas yg urak-urakan dan hedonisme.... Inilah efek jika tidak membaca sub judul dari sebuah buku hasil terjemahan :-D

Buku ini saya dapatkan gratis dari tim Creative Commons Indonesia (terima kasih banyak). Saya mengenal konsep Creative Commons, sebagai alternatif dari sistem hak cipta (copyright), saat mulai sering membaca blog BoingBoing dengan pentolannya Corry Doctorow. Lalu saya mulai
Dario Cavedon
Jun 11, 2014 Dario Cavedon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
La cultura, libera come deve essere

Lawrence Lessig è un giurista americano, avvocato e professore universitario, fondatore delle "Creative Commons", le licenze libere alternative al classico copyright.

Il libro racconta l'esperienza di Lessig nel campo del diritto d'autore, partendo dalle radici della cultura americana, descrivendo tutta la tradizione della cultura libera, che prendeva materiale creativo esistente per farne qualcosa di diverso e migliore. Un caso per tutti: Walt Disney, che ha pe
Narri Subrati
Dec 15, 2008 Narri Subrati rated it it was amazing
Lawrence Lessig’s Free Culture Book Review

In Free Culture, Lawrence Lessig focuses on piracy and how copyright law and copyright problems have expanded in today’s media. There is definitely growing awareness of copyright infringement especially since technology continues to advance and more people are participants in its public domain. Lessig points to a diminishment of the public domain of ideas because of the harsh copyright laws that exist today. He believes that they invoke long-term damage
Sep 01, 2012 Evan rated it it was ok
Obviously written by a lawyer, this is not a book but an essay. A pity, because I liked the message but was bored by the author's voice.


Regarding pharmaceutical patents:"So uncritically do we accept the idea of property in ideas that we don't even notice how monstrous it is to deny ideas to a people who are dying without them."

"Copyright law has not been a rock of Gibraltar. It's not a set of constant commitments that, for some mysterious reason, teenagers and geeks now flout. Instead,
Mar 17, 2012 Susan rated it it was amazing
Basically, the book argues for the validity and continued existence of public domain in copyrights, which has been shrinking rapidly due to the efforts of big media and copyright holders to lock down the Internet. Lessig provides a brief history of copyright law in the US (and most notably points out how each one of the big media arenas - music, movies, TV, and radio - each violated the copyright system in their respective infancies as the new business models that grew from the seeds of the old) ...more
Dec 21, 2011 Liam rated it it was amazing
"A free culture is not a culture without property, just as a free market is not a market in which everything is free. The opposite of a free culture is a 'permission culture' -- a culture in which creators get to create only with the permission of the powerful, or of creators from the past." (xiv)

"Four modalities of regulation": law, market, architecture, and norms. (121)

"This is the future of copyright law: not so much copyright law as copyright code. The controls over access to content will no
Chad Perrin
Aug 07, 2013 Chad Perrin rated it it was ok
Given all the hype over this book, including the comments I've heard from several people with whom I'm acquainted to the effect that this book changed people's lives or how they thought about things, it is rather disappointing to finish reading it with the same opinion I had after reading the first chapter:

It's pretty damned mediocre.

Lessig appears to have written this book after he read Peter Draghos' text Information Feudalism, which makes the disappointment even sharper, given that the greate
Oct 25, 2012 Andjrits rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Saya pertama mengetahui buku ini sekitar 2006 melalui ulasan sebuah majalah bawah tanah lokal. Terpengaruh review yang mengatakan isinya sangat penting - dan karena iming-iming gratis - saya segera mengunduh buku ini, untuk kemudian menelantarkan fail pdfnya selama bertahun-tahun tanpa sempat membacanya. Terimakasih kepada kemampuan bahasa inggris saya yang cukup minimum.

Terimakasih sesungguhnya saya ucapkan kepada KUNCI, sebuah pusat kajian budaya berbasis di Jogjakarta yang kemudian menterjema
Dec 28, 2008 melydia rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who share content on the internet
Recommended to melydia by: xkcd
Copyright law! That's right, folks, I read a book about copyright law. And a fascinating book, at that. Lessig takes us through the ins and outs of these ever-changing rules, sprinkled liberally with relevant examples. Should students be sued for their life savings for sharing music files? Should copyright automatically be renewed, even if the original holder is disinterested or even dead? Are fanart and fanfic actually a threat to creators of the content on which they are based? How does the in ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future
  • Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How It Threatens Creativity
  • The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind
  • Freedom of Expression: Resistance and Repression in the Age of Intellectual Property
  • The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom
  • Free Software, Free Society: Selected Essays
  • Piracy: The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates
  • Digital Copyright: Protecting Intellectual Property on the Internet
  • The Pirate's Dilemma: How Youth Culture Is Reinventing Capitalism
  • The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It
  • Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars
  • Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide
  • Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership
  • The Social Life of Information
  • Sorting Things Out: Classification and Its Consequences
  • We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People
  • The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet
  • Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution
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
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“Every generation welcomes the pirates from the last.” 11 likes
“If “piracy means using the creative property of others without their permission- if “if value, then right” is true- then the history of the content industry is a history of piracy. Every important sector of “big media” today- film, records, radio, and cable TV-was born of a kind of piracy so defined. The consistent story is how last generation’s pirates join this generation’s country club-until now.” 6 likes
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