Susan's Reviews > Free Culture: The Nature and Future of Creativity

Free Culture by Lawrence Lessig
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Mar 17, 12

Read from March 06 to 17, 2012

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). Although Lessig freely admits his "lefty" bias throughout the book, I do feel that he was fair to the "anti-pirate" side of the argument as he doesn't want to do away with copyright completely. He just believes that copyright should be more moderated and not extended indefinitely so much that it inhibits the creativity and innovation of the future. The part I found really compelling was the discussion of his strategy and argument before the Supreme Court in Eldred v. Ashcroft, the case which challenged the constitutionality of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. It was depressing to read Lessig's disillusionment with the Supreme Court (pg. 242 - "We were right back to the argument that I said I hated at the start: I had failed to convince them that the issue here was important, and I had failed to recognize that however much I might hate a system in which the Court gets to pick the constitutional values that it will respect, that is the system we have"), he still does provide some hope for a more reasonable copyright system through the work of the Creative Commons among others. This book should be read by anyone who uses the Internet, period.
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