Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy

Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy

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by Lawrence Lessig
     
 

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The reigning authority on intellectual property in the Internet age, Lawrence Lessig spotlights the newest and possibly the most harmful culture war-a war waged against those who create and consume art. America's copyright laws have ceased to perform their original, beneficial role: protecting artists' creations while allowing them to build on previous creative

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Overview

The reigning authority on intellectual property in the Internet age, Lawrence Lessig spotlights the newest and possibly the most harmful culture war-a war waged against those who create and consume art. America's copyright laws have ceased to perform their original, beneficial role: protecting artists' creations while allowing them to build on previous creative works. In fact, our system now criminalizes those very actions. Remix is an urgent, eloquent plea to end a war that harms every intrepid, creative user of new technologies. It also offers an inspiring vision of the postwar world where enormous opportunities await those who view art as a resource to be shared openly rather than a commodity to be hoarded.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Lawrence Lessig is a prophet for the Internet age. . . . A splendidly combative manifesto-pungent, witty and persuasive."
-Financial Times

" Once dubbed a 'philosopher king of Internet law,' [Lessig] writes with a unique mix of legal expertise, historic facts, and cultural curiosity. . . . The result is a wealth of interesting examples and theories on how and why digital technology and copyright law can promote professional and amateur art."
-Time

Publishers Weekly

Should anyone besides libertarian hackers or record companies care about copyright in the online world? In this incisive treatise, Stanford law prof and Wired columnist Lessig (Free Culture) argues that we should. He frames the problem as a war between an old "read-only" culture, in which media megaliths sell copyrighted music and movies to passive consumers, and a dawning digital "read-write" culture, in which audiovisual products are freely downloaded and manipulated in an explosion of democratized creativity. Both cultures can thrive in a "hybrid" economy, he contends, pioneered by Web entities like YouTube. Lessig's critique of draconian copyright laws-highlighted by horror stories of entertainment conglomerates threatening tweens for putting up Harry Potter fan sites-is trenchant. (Why, he asks, should sampling music and movies be illegal when quoting texts is fine?) Lessig worries that too stringent copyright laws could stifle such "remix" masterpieces as a "powerful" doctored video showing George Bush and Tony Blair lip-synching the song "Endless Love," or making scofflaws of America's youth by criminalizing their irrepressible downloading. We leave this (copyrighted) book feeling the stakes are pretty low, except for media corporations. (Oct. 20)

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Library Journal

Lessig (law, Stanford Univ. Law Sch.; Free Culture: The Nature and Future of Creativity) assesses America's copyright laws in the context of online content, e.g., the Read Only (R/O) and Read/Write (R/W) transmission and production of artistic and cultural content. Read Only characterized the passive transmission of culture through the 1900s, while Read/Write has characterized the production of culture in the 19th century-and, now, the late 20th and early 21st centuries-allowing for active and collective making and remaking of content. Jumping into the copyright morass, Lessig promulgates a hybrid model, set within the context of both a sharing economy and a commercial economy, whereby sharing communities can be augmented with commercial designs. In the end, he argues for a future in which all three models exist. Similar treatment of sharing economies can be found in Dan Tapscott and Anthony Williams's Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything. Recommended for academic libraries; some larger public libraries may wish to acquire as well.
—Jim Hahn

Kirkus Reviews
The nation's leading cyberlaw scholar denounces "copyright extremism" and boldly re-envisions intellectual-property law for the digital age. The Recording Industry Association of America is suing more than 17,000 people for illegal music downloads. A young mother had home movies of her dancing baby removed from YouTube because the distant background music by Prince triggered legal threats from Universal Music Corp. The growing ranks of artists using sampling or remix techniques to combine existing music and images into new creative works must choose between trespassing on other artists' copyrights and a prohibitively expensive quest for clearance. Copyright infringement is overcriminalized, argues Lessig (Law/Stanford Univ.; Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace, 2006, etc.), and in consequence is creating a generation of unrepentant scofflaws: young people used to acquiring music and movies with Napster and other file-sharing programs. They feel that copyright law makes no sense, and it is eroding their overall respect for the law. Lessig calls for sweeping changes to the archaic and industry-favoring copyright code: shortening the protected time period; decriminalizing noncommercial copying and file-sharing; and allowing remix artists to copyright their finished work. Alternatively, he promotes a new type of license, available free from a group he helped found called Creative Commons, which helps artists easily give away or sell their work, especially digitally, with "some rights reserved." Finally he shows how Web practice has vastly outpaced the legal code, contending that corporate culture must adapt in order to take full advantage of this powerful new economic engine. Case in point: theteenage webmaster of a Harry Potter tribute website and chat room, who defended her site from an assault by Warner Bros.-and convinced the film company's lawyer that her members were providing free marketing, not diluting the Potter brand. In the best tradition of legal advocacy: a penetrating analysis; a moral appeal that addresses rather than dismisses commercial concerns; and a concrete, commonsense call to action that anyone with Internet aspirations needs to hear.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143116134
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/29/2009
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
414,048
Product dimensions:
5.07(w) x 7.74(h) x 0.73(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Lawrence Lessig is a prophet for the Internet age. . . . A splendidly combative manifesto-pungent, witty and persuasive."
-Financial Times

" Once dubbed a 'philosopher king of Internet law,' [Lessig] writes with a unique mix of legal expertise, historic facts, and cultural curiosity. . . . The result is a wealth of interesting examples and theories on how and why digital technology and copyright law can promote professional and amateur art."
-Time

Meet the Author

Lawrence Lessig is a professor at Stanford Law School and the founder of the Stanford Center for Internet and Society. The author of The Future of Ideas and Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace, he is the chair of the Creative Commons project. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Cambridge University, and Yale Law School, he has clerked for Judge Richard Posner of the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and Judge Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court.

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