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

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  1,148 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
The Internet revolution has come. Some say it has gone. In The Future of Ideas, Lawrence Lessig explains how the revolution has produced a counterrevolution of potentially devastating power and effect. Creativity once flourished because the Net protected a commons on which widest range of innovators could experiment. But now, manipulating the law for their own purposes, co ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published 2002 by Vintage (first published 2001)
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Felix Dacumos
Dec 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Arnaud Vigouroux
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
After 15 years, the landscape of the Internets changed a lot and this book sometimes look outdated.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.
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
Jul 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
“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
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
May 10, 2014 rated it liked it

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.

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  • Digital Copyright: Protecting Intellectual Property on the Internet
  • Infotopia: How Many Minds Produce Knowledge
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  • Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives
  • Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership
  • Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars
  • The Social Life of Information
  • Ambient Findability: What We Find Changes Who We Become
  • Beyond Fear: Thinking Sensibly about Security in an Uncertain World
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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 about Lawrence Lessig...