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Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  1,542 ratings  ·  88 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,
Hardcover, 327 pages
Published October 16th 2008 by Penguin Press HC, The (first published 2008)
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Average rating 3.83  · 
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Kara 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
Sonia Reppe
Aug 31, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  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 ha
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Why are we criminalizing our youth with copyright wars? That is the central question Lessig asks. The creative process and the tools that now exist to make the art of today's times should not be stifled the way it currently is. If the objective is to reward artists and the corporations which sponsor them and to limit the ways that others could infringe upon their ability to sell their original work, then there are more productive and less litigious methods of meeting those ends. Copyright law ha ...more
Mar 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 23, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Shawn Roberts
Jul 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Casey Browne
Mar 03, 2021 rated it liked it
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
Joseph Palumbo
Oct 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Today, we live in an age where technology has vastly expanded our scope and understanding of media and how we share it with others. Through his book "Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy", Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig asks us to explore the possibilities presented to us in this new "industrial revolution" of media technology, particularly concerning how our legal system (and society as a whole) deals with "remix culture".

Lessig argues that because media has become mor
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written in 2008, this book uses classic examples to illustrate how the government needs to lessen the regulations of copyrighting, specifically loosening restrictions on P2P (peer-to-peer) filesharing. A good read for those who are interested in government affairs and how it mixes with technology. I hope, though, the author writes a second edition version in the next years, especially with the advent of meme culture and the rapid growth of streaming and viral videos.
Haifa Alhamzah
Mar 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Remix successfully explains and shows us that copyright is a grey area; that doesn’t need a black or white answer.
Dec 06, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Nov 25, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Alex Catalán Flores
Sep 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was introduced to Lawrence Lessig during Brett Gaylor's 2008 documentary RiP!: A Remix Manifesto, where Lessig provided some much-needed academic rigour to Gaylor's thesis on intellectual property and culture.

In that same year, Lessig published Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy. The book serves as an expansion and meticulous delineation of Lessig's thoughts provided in Gaylor's documentary, and it serves not as a call to arms as some have described it but rather as a
Jul 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
In this book, Lessig does not challenge that copyright is necessary to provide economic incentive for the creation of new works, but rather argues that copyright law has become outdated due to technological advancement. In framing his argument, he starts with the topic of music “piracy,” which, he claims, is rampant despite its illegality. His primary concern is that because this activity is so prevalent among the American youth, the outdated copyright law has created a nation of scofflaws. He f ...more
Dec 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Dave Lefevre
Apr 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: political, copyright
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
Feb 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Lessig does it again, and does it better.

My 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
Remix represents my first book read on my nook. Needless to say, that fact was pretty symbolic for me. Someone who truly shares my visions and thoughts on culture and content. Lawrence Lessig brings a ton of common sense into the debate about Copyright and the 21st Century media remixes our society expects. This book did not disappoint.

He starts out by looking at these 21st Century children, referencing his own and of course I started to think of my own. But he says, in reference to how they use
Ben Bush
Mar 09, 2010 added it
Shelves: read-in-la
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
Sep 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: academic
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
Jan 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Copyright and fair use have become confusing and confounding. Not only is it unclear today what exactly we can copy and create, but it seems incredulous that record companies and movie studios would resort to suing children.

In Remix, Lawrence Lessig cuts through the confusion and details how American copyright laws have ceased to perform their original role of protecting artistic creation and allowing artists to build on previous creative works. Today, Lessig contends, digital technologies make
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
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
May 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 17, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: my-books, non-fiction
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
Adam Ross
May 13, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Avolyn Fisher
Aug 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
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
Mar 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
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
Mar 25, 2016 rated it liked it
I liked the premise of the book, but I think the author's tone was more bias than he is willing to admit. The most hysterical part of the book for me was the mention of Blip as it is now a non-entity, having shut down recently. The intellectual thoughts on hybrid economies was intriguing as were the examples given in the book. But I feel like the downer on this book was he kept saying "This book is not about (insert issue here)" and I feel like that hurt a little bit of his credibility. He was a ...more
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Lawrence "Larry" Lessig 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 rejoining Harvard, he was

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