Book Review: Free Culture

Lawrence Lessig’s amazing new book, Free Culture, is equal parts history lesson, self critique, citizen’s action guide and cautionary tale about copyright. Lessig’s two main arguments center around the ever-expanding scope of copyright and the new “tradition” in this country of old media trying to stifle new media. I can’t begin to summarize this masterful tome or reccommend it strongly enough. My three favorite parts:

1) The history. Lessig’s analogies of the Causby case [United States v. Causby] (planes, airspace and property rights) and RCA (Armstrong, FM radio and patents) were fascinating.

2) The Supreme Court. Lessig is big enough to admit where and how he went wrong arguing the Eldred case [Eldred v. Ashcroft, PDF].

3) The Creative Commons. It’s a crazy enough idea it just might work. This blog as well as my shitty card game are both licensed under a Creative Commons “Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0” license.

For anyone even remotely interested in the future of ideas (to borrow a book title from Lessig), especially the freedom of individuals to spread culture, this is an amazing read. Buy this book. Now. Or get a remixed version from the website. And make sure you add Lessig’s blog to your reading list. You’ll thank me later.

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