Sunday, March 28, 2004


The new book from Larry Lessig may be found online, for free at :

" Lawrence Lessig could be called a cultural environmentalist. One of
America's most original and influential public intellectuals, his focus is
the social dimension of creativity: how creative work builds on the past and
how society encourages or inhibits that building with laws and technologies.
In his two previous books, CODE and THE FUTURE OF IDEAS, Lessig concentrated
on the destruction of much of the original promise of the Internet. Now, in
FREE CULTURE, he widens his focus to consider the diminishment of the larger
public domain of ideas. In this powerful wake-up call he shows how
short-sighted interests blind to the long-term damage they're inflicting are
poisoning the ecosystem that fosters innovation.

All creative works-books, movies, records, software, and so on-are a
compromise between what can be imagined and what is possible-technologically
and legally. For more than two hundred years, laws in America have sought a
balance between rewarding creativity and allowing the borrowing from which
new creativity springs. The original term of copyright set by the
Constitution in 1787 was seventeen years. Now it is closer to two hundred.
Thomas Jefferson considered protecting the public against overly long
monopolies on creative works an essential government role. What did he know
that we've forgotten?

Lawrence Lessig shows us that while new technologies always lead to new
laws, never before have the big cultural monopolists used the fear created
by new technologies, specifically the Internet, to shrink the public domain
of ideas, even as the same corporations use the same technologies to control
more and more what we can and can't do with culture. As more and more
culture becomes digitized, more and more becomes controllable, even as laws
are being toughened at the behest of the big media groups. What's at stake
is our freedom-freedom to create, freedom to build, and ultimately, freedom
to imagine."

No comments: