Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World” as Want to Read:
The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Read Book* *Different edition

The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  1,333 ratings  ·  47 reviews

The Internet revolution has come. Some say it has gone. What was responsible for its birth? Who is responsible for its demise?

In The Future of Ideas, Lawrence Lessig explains how the Internet revolution has produced a counterrevolution of devastating power and effect. The explosion of innovation we have seen in the environment of the Internet was not conjured from some ne
...more
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published November 6th 2001 by Random House (first published 2001)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Future of Ideas, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Future of Ideas

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,333 ratings  ·  47 reviews


Filter
 | 
Sort order
Felix Dacumos
Dec 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After watching an interview of Lawrence Lessig back on the old TechTV channel, I was fascinated by his views on copyright and the public domain. I immediately researched him on the internet and walked down to my nearby Borders to pick up this book.

This book became the basis that helped me define my views on the public domain and digital rights management (DRM). Every time I see large corporations use DRM as a way for content control rather than the protection of ideas, it makes me cringe and thi
...more
Yu
Mar 13, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: schoolreads
"The experts didn't get it", the book starts by giving you the history of the internet from the ground up, always reminding you that freedom drives innovation because the few at the top, might not get it.
EAL
Jul 19, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I didn't actually finish this book; I just cannot bring myself to finish it. What is it about the writing that makes it so infuriatingly slow-paced? It's just like The World is Flat.
Nick Geiser
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: law, technology
This book is a great exploration of a "third way" in governance alongside private markets and bureaucratic control. Lessig does for the Internet what Elinor Ostrom did for environmental resources in _Governing the Commons_: both draw attention to the overlooked possibility of decentralized institutions for governing common-pool resources.

As an introduction to the politics and law of the Internet, I often wondered how current or out-of-date some of Lessig's technical and factual claims were. To t
...more
Arnaud Vigouroux
After 15 years, the landscape of the Internets changed a lot and this book sometimes look outdated. But, it lays the basis for a reflection on what fostered innovation in this field, how intellectual property laws play a role and what changed when the Internets went commercial. This book is still worth reading and I would like to get a hand on an updated version, where the power of the gafa would be taken into account.
Ietrio
Aug 03, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: junk
A small and petty mind exposing its plan of Taking Over the World. A larger version of Brain from Pinky and the Brain. Okay. Things are going to be wonderful in that sort of Total Control. I get that. How about if someone else, even more petty and complex ridden than Lessig takes over this beautiful institution? Another mystery.
Erika RS
I am a Lessig fan. That said, I think this was a very good book and would be a good read for anyone interested in intellectual property especially as related to technology.

Two good issues discussed in the text were the idea of the commons verses ownership and the idea of regulation in advance. The first issue discussed the illusion that just because it is better to have some things as property (controlled by the market) it is better to have everything controlled as property. Thus, the illusion c
...more
Simon
“But commons also produce something of value. They are a resource for decentralized innovation. They create the opportunity for individuals to draw upon resources without connections, permission, or access granted by others.”

Das mittlerweile zum Klassiker mutierte Werk des Kommunikationsgenies Lawrence Lessig war vor acht Jahren, 2001, bahnbrechend. “It deserves to change the way we think about the electronic frontier”, wird die Los Angeles Times auf dem Titelblatt zitiert. Tatsächlich darf man
...more
Janet
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lucid and persuasive, Lessig gives history lessons intertwining commerce, morals, politics and law. We get to understand in lay terms how we got to be where we are in copyright and patent law and why it is important that we're able to build on the assets of others' ideas
Pete
Jan 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating examination of what makes the internet tick, in terms of innovation, and what kinds of things could stop that innovation. He sets forth the idea that there are three layers in the internet for control: physical (that is, the wires and such that the signal travels on), code (the system that lets the network do its thing) and content (the stuff that goes over the wires). While he touches on the physical layers, his main focus is on the code and content layers, where the philosophy behi ...more
Brian
Nov 02, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book, if a bit repetitive. The big fight over net neutrality happened after this book was published. While this book didn't precisely predict this issue, it certainly foreshadowed it and showed the progression of increasing levels of control over the internet. Still, there is some hope of Congress officially passing a net neutrality bill. I wish that there were some hope for copyright and patent reform, which is seriously broken. This book highlighted the problems with copyright and ...more
Zach
Jun 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I think this is the book where Lessig truly became one of the most essential public intellectuals of our time. Reading it in 2008, years after its initial release, it has turned out to be stunningly prescient. He writes about the social, economic, and political ramifications of our misguided intellectual property and technology policy with clarity and wit here.

This is probably the most essential of Lessig's three books. Code 2.0 can be pedagogic at times and Free Culture is the work of a defeate
...more
Ross
Apr 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nerds, Journalism Majors, History Buffs, Purity Wizards, Senators, Anarchists
Our children will have no problem parsing this book, whatsoever. When I read this book, I would actually get angry at Lessig at being too moderate. After describing in such nuance the way things have been horribly messed up in copyright and spectrum laws, my reaction was "well, then burn the FCC to the ground, loot Disney World, and put Les Moonves' head on a stake". Lessig, however, usually provides a more moderate solution. Sometimes it looks like compromise, but in the end, the reader cannot ...more
Dave Peticolas

Lessig explores the benefits that the open architecture of the Internet has brought to innovation and creativity. He then turns to the reaction against this architecture by the entrenched stakeholders of the pre-Internet era, such as the music and film industries. His conclusion is pessimistic -- the old is fighting successfully to protect itself against the new and stifling innovation in the process.

Brett
Jan 27, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Still relevant six-seven years on, the book is highly informative and well-constructed. I just had a hard time motivating myself to finish, I don't know if that's because the subject can at times be dry, that the book has been kind of upstaged by Lessig's later efforts, or just my own failings with slightly academic texts. But for those interested in technology, The Future of Ideas is definitely worth checking out for its broad sentiments about the nature of control and innovation.
G
Jun 12, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: high-caliber
This is probably the most wide-ranging of Lessig's three books that I've read (I'm going backwards, I suppose), which means it's also the least successful (in part because it's the oldest). Still, he as always makes good points. I think Free Culture is probably the best of his books that I've read (still have to get to Code 2.0).
Keith Klein
Nov 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lucid and persuasive, Lessig gives history lessons intertwining commerce, morals, politics and law. We get to understand in lay terms how we got to be where we are in copyright and patent law and why it is important that we're able to build on the assets of others' ideas. Important reading for intellectual property owners and purveyors.

Regards,
Keith
Karan
Feb 18, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I tried. This is a book that's truly written by a lawyer - many hundreds of pages of analogies and examples to prove his point, presented in a very bland way. I read the quarter of the way, but Larry's writing could not hold my attention. He takes a long time to get to this point. His ideas are big and important, just not written in a way that appealing to a lot of people.
Steven
Feb 08, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dense but interesting.
Lessig's ideas are still valid but I think he greatly underestimated how much people will be drawn to quality ideas. Even though Microsoft and AOL-TW had every competitive advantage, they still blew it by not innovating.
Innovation seems to emerge, even in the face of highly controlled systems.
I still prefer Lessig's idea of an intellectual commons, though.
Mark Schomburg
Copyright and control issues in realms of data networking and broadcasting are compared in detail. The emphasis is on being mindful of software and legal developments that will affect what a U.S. citizen can access in the public domain.
Eddie
Mar 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Well presented and thorough, the author has presented a compelling argument for limiting copyright and patents. We've forgotten the original reason (to encourage innovation) and shifted to indefinitely protecting existing ideas. It's not a terribly exciting read, but it was interesting.
David Emery
Jan 06, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Behold open source software
Hunter Johnson
The Future of Ideas, by John Lessig. An eye-opener, and makes me even more opposed to the further cementing of Disney's iconic copyrights.
'stina
Nov 18, 2008 marked it as to-read
bought in Cambridge in 2002, when I was attending a conference at Harvard)

Chad
Feb 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It breaks down who runs the web, how it runs, and the decisions and biases that determine the rules of the internet.
Mike Hendrickson
Jan 02, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not sure I buy this hook, line and sinker. But it does make you think, and that is what Lessig wants, I am pretty sure.
G. Branden
Mar 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
Informative and activism-inducing.
Melissa
Feb 27, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very informative and interesting take on the history and future of ideas on the internet. Not a light read, but then it's not a light subject.
Dan
Mar 29, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lessig is my hero.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future
  • The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom
  • The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind
  • Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution
  • The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It
  • Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How It Threatens Creativity
  • Freedom of Expression: Resistance and Repression in the Age of Intellectual Property
  • Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide
  • Who Controls the Internet?: Illusions of a Borderless World
  • Infotopia: How Many Minds Produce Knowledge
  • Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars
  • The Hacker Ethic: A Radical Approach to the Philosophy of Business
  • The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet
  • Free Software, Free Society: Selected Essays
  • We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People
  • Ambient Findability: What We Find Changes Who We Become
  • Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership
  • The Wikipedia Revolution: How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World's Greatest Encyclopedia
345 followers
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
...more