Free Culture

About the Book

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 First Congress in 1790 was 14 years, renewable once. 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.


"FREE CULTURE is an entertaining and important look at the past and future of the cold war between the media industry and new technologies."

-- Marc Andreessen, cofounder of Netscape


"The twenty-first century could be the century of unprecedented creativity, but only if we embrace the brilliantly articulated messages in Lawrence Lessig's FREE CULTURE. This book is beautifully written, crisply argued, and deeply provocative. Please read it!"

-- John Seely Brown, coauthor of THE SOCIAL LIFE OF INFORMATION and former Chief Scientist, Xerox PARC


"America needs a national conversation about the way in which so-called 'intellectual property rights' have come to dominate the rights of scholars, researchers, and everyday citizens. A copyright cartel, bidding for absolute control over digital worlds, music, and movies, now has a veto over technological innovation and has halted most contributions to the public domain from which so many have benefited. The patent system has spun out of control, giving enormous power to entrenched interests, and even trademarks are being misused. Lawrence Lessig's latest book is essential reading for anyone who want to join this conversation. He explains how technology and the law are robbing us of the public domain; but for all his educated pessimism, Professor Lessig offers some solutions, too, because he recognizes that technology can be the catalyst for freedom. If you care about the future of innovation, read this book."

-- Dan Gillmor, author of MAKING THE NEWS, an upcoming book on the collision of media and technology


"FREE CULTURE goes beyond illuminating the catastrophe to our culture of increasing regulation to show examples of how we can make a different future. These new-style heroes and examples are rooted in the traditions of the founding fathers in ways that seem obvious after reading this book. Recommended reading to those trying to unravel the shrill hype around 'intellectual property.'"

-- Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive

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Table of Contents

PREFACE
xiii
INTRODUCTION
1
“PIRACY”
15
CHAPTER ONE: Creators
21
CHAPTER TWO: “Mere Copyists”
31
CHAPTER THREE: Catalogs
48
CHAPTER FOUR: “Pirates”
53
Film
53
Recorded Music
55
Radio
58
Cable TV
59
CHAPTER FIVE: “Piracy”
62
Piracy I
63
Piracy II
66
“PROPERTY”
81
CHAPTER SIX: Founders
85
CHAPTER SEVEN: Recorders
95
CHAPTER EIGHT: Transformers
100
CHAPTER NINE: Collectors
108
CHAPTER TEN: “Property”
116
Why Hollywood Is Right
124
Beginnings
130
Law: Duration
133
Law: Scope
136
Law and Architecture: Reach
139
Architecture and Law: Force
147
Market: Concentration
161
Together
168
PUZZLES
175
CHAPTER ELEVEN: Chimera
177
CHAPTER TWELVE: Harms
183
Constraining Creators
184
Constraining Innovators
188
Corrupting Citizens
199
BALANCES
209
CHAPTER THIRTEEN: Eldred
213
CHAPTER FOURTEEN: Eldred II
248
CONCLUSION
257
AFTERWORD
273
Us, Now
276
Rebuilding Freedoms Previously Presumed: Examples
277
Rebuilding Free Culture: One Idea
282
Them, Soon
287
1. More Formalities
287
Registration and Renewal
289
Marking
290
2. Shorter Terms
292
3. Free Use Vs. Fair Use
294
4. Liberate the Music—Again
296
5. Fire Lots of Lawyers
304
NOTES
307
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
331
INDEX
333

Links & References

Throughout FREE CULTURE, there are references to links on the World Wide Web. As anyone who has tried to use the Web knows, these links can be highly unstable. This page attempts to remedy the instability. If the original link remains alive, you will be redirected to that link. If the original link has disappeared, you will be redirected to an appropriate reference for the material.

To report a broken link, email [email protected].

1http://fecha.org/saints.htm
2http://www.pewinternet.org/reports/toc.asp?Report=88.
3http://www.s-t.com/daily/08-96/08-23-96/b02li056.htm
4http://wso.williams.edu/~dgerstei/cartoonmusic
5http://writ.news.findlaw.com/commentary/20020305_sprigman.html
6"Copyright Registration and Renewals"
7http://www.cadalyst.com/solutions/adt/0202adt/0202adt.htm
8http://www.eonline.com/news/article/index.jsp?uuid=810574d5-1caf-4ca0-b6ae-e2c063faf29e
9http://pc.ign.com/articles/135/135330p1.html
10http://www.ojr.org/ojr/kramer/1044260857.php
11http://www.cobbles.com/simpp_archive/edison_trust.htm
12http://web.archive.org/web/20030223012726/ http://www.silentsmajority.com/Bison/article1.htm
13http://www.nmpa.org/music101/copyrights.asp
14http://www.ifpi.org/content/library/piracy2003.pdf
15http://www.riaa.com/news/marketingdata/pdf/year_end_2002.pdf
16http://www.riaa.com/news/newsletter/062503_c.asp
17http://www.interaction-ivrea.it/theses/2002-03/m.chiesa/websites/07/07.htm
18http://www.futureofmusic.org/images/FMC_testimony_4.3.01.pdf
19http://www.bookhunterpress.com/index.cgi/survey.html?id=IYimYaeP
20http://www.narm.com/research_stats/annualsurveys/annualreport.pdf
21http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/napster/transcript071101.pdf
22http://www.acquisition.gov/comp/seven_steps/library/SevenSteps_execversion.pdf
23http://www.businessweek.com/1999/99_31/b3640098.htm
24http://www.forbes.com/2003/10/06/cz_cs_1006kodak.html?partner=cmp
25http://www.dklevine.com/archive/copyright1790.pdf
26http://www.legalaffairs.org/issues/July-August-2003/feature_zittrain_julaug03.html
27http://www.eff.org/IP/DMCA/Felten_v_RIAA/faq_felten.html
28http://wc.wustl.edu/cg/HillSpeech.PDF
29http://streaming.wustl.edu/weidenbaum/conferences/entertainment-economics/
30http://www.senate.gov/~commerce/pdf/kimmelman052203.pdf
31http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=15768
32http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2003/06/16/BA205637.DTL
33http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/home/uploads/254/2003-05.pdf
34http://www.latimes.com/la-fi-berman17jul17,0,6392172.story
35http://media.www.redandblack.com/media/storage/paper871/news/2003/08/26/News/Downloading.Could.Lead.To.Fines-2578287.shtml
36http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/220/business/ RIAA_steps_up_bid_to_force_BC_MIT_to_name_students+.shtml
37global.mci.com/news/news2.xml?newsid=8030&mode=long&lang=en&mode=long&width=530&root=/ca/&subroot=news/news2.xml
38http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2003/07/28/gvl10728.htm
39http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/07/08/politics/main562133.shtml
40http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,59501,00.html
41http://www.illegal-art.org/
42http://dir.salon.com/tech/feature/2001/06/01/digital_music/index.html?sid=1032634
43http://www.free-culture.cc/notes/43.pdf
44http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/home/uploads/254/2003-05.pdf
45http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/JZCARP.pdf
46http://www.pewinternet.org
47Dead link-- current location unknown
48http://www.internetnews.com/bus-news/article.php/1577101
49Dead link-- current location unknown
50http://www2.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1998/08/10/cq/disney.html
51http://eon.law.harvard.edu/openlaw/eldredvashcroft/supct/opp-amici/nashville.pdf
52http://eon.law.harvard.edu/openlaw/eldredvashcroft/supct/opening-brief.pdf
53http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/openlaw/eldredvashcroft/cert/archive-amicus.html
54http://www.lessig.org/blog/archives/jasonfinal.pdf
55http://www.iprcommission.org
56http://www.wipo.org/about-ip/en/studies/pdf/iipi_hiv.pdf
57http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/1999/05/24/MN104738.DTL
58http://www.foreignpolicy-infocus.org/briefs/vol4/v4n23aids.html
59http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A23422-2003Aug20.html
60http://nationaljournal.com/cgi-bin/ifetch4?ENG+ALL-_-ALL_PUBS+7-cr0199+1188370-DBSCORE+256+28+30821+F+1+3+1+Global+AND+Group%27s+AND+Shift
61http://nationaljournal.com/cgi-bin/ifetch4?ENG+TECHNOLOGY_DAILY-_-TD_SITE+7-techdaily0199+1175186-REVERSE+0+0+30822+F+2+2+1+u%2es%2e+AND+official+AND+opposes+AND+open+AND+source
62http://www.aei.brookings.org/publications/abstract.php?pid=296
63http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/exec/craig/05-03sharedsource.asp
64http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A23422-2003Aug20.html
65http://news.com.com/2100-1023-5072564.html
66http://money.cnn.com/2003/09/08/technology/riaa_suits/
67http://www.wired.com/news/digiwood/0,1412,60366,00.html
68http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1478649/20030917/eminem.jhtml?headlines=true
69Dead link-- current location unknown
70http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/ 2003/08_august/24/dyke_dunn_lecture.shtml
71http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/3788
72http://stlr.stanford.edu/STLR/Articles/01_STLR_1/index.htm
73http://www.willfulinfringement.com
74http://www.economist.com/opinion/displayStory.cfm?story_id=1547223
75http://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/21-526.pdf
76http://www.japaninc.com/mmw12
77http://www.law.harvard.edu/faculty/tfisher/Music.html
78http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/people/tfisher/PTKChapter6.pdf
79http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=468180
80http://www.ipuf.org/ipuf/BidenReportLetterBA.htm
81http://www.ipuf.org/ipuf/ipuf.htm
82http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2002/05/14/music-kazaa.htm
83http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/iel5/6/21153/981857/981857.html?tp=&arnumber=981857&isnumber=21153
84http://news.com.com/2008-1082-955417.html
85http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/1.03/1.3_stallman.copyright.html
86http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=414162

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You may redistribute, copy, or otherwise reuse/remix this book provided that you do so for non-commercial purposes and credit Professor Lessig.

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