Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy Info

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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 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.

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Reviews for Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy:

4

Jan 09, 2009

I'd recommend Remix to anyone who creates content, whether as part of their day job or simply as a hobby in their basement. Lawrence Lessig takes the complicated issues surrounding modern copyright and explains them in terms laypeople can comprehend. Moreover, he makes a compelling argument from an economic standpoint as to why less copyright could lead to more profit.

My favourite quotation from this book is:

Copyright law has got to give up its obsession with "the copy." The law should not I'd recommend Remix to anyone who creates content, whether as part of their day job or simply as a hobby in their basement. Lawrence Lessig takes the complicated issues surrounding modern copyright and explains them in terms laypeople can comprehend. Moreover, he makes a compelling argument from an economic standpoint as to why less copyright could lead to more profit.

My favourite quotation from this book is:

Copyright law has got to give up its obsession with "the copy." The law should not regulate "copies" or "modern reproductions" on their own. It should instead regulate uses—like public distributions of copies of copyrighted work—that connect directly to the economic incentive copyright law was intended to foster.

Lessig succinctly reveals the flawed premise from which most corporations approach the concept of copyright in our digital age. Thanks to the Internet, it's now possible to distribute an infinite number of copies of a digital work. Regulating that work like it's a physical object doesn't work, as we saw empirically through the failed experiment of Digital Rights Management (DRM). Focusing on copying is a doomed tactic. Focusing on usage is a much better way to exercise one's control over one's content.

Never does Lessig advocate the abolition of copyright. I've often struggled with the very existence of this legal quagmire we've constructed. As a content creator in general, I am happy to release as much of my content as possible under a Creative Commons license. I love to let people benefit from my content by reusing it wherever possible. Yet, as a writer, I'm reluctant to do that for everything I produce, since traditional publishing still requires (at least in some cases) a traditional, all rights reserved copyright. So either I must accept copyright in some form, or I must abandon any hope of being published through "traditional" means.

Lessig's stance reassures me that there is nothing wrong with the concept of copyright itself--indeed, so-called "free" licenses, like Creative Commons and "copyleft" are also copyright, just of a different breed--the core dilemma we face is that copyright has become distorted during the twentieth century by increasingly restrictive regulation. Lessig argues that we need new legislation to remove our copyright quagmire and update our laws to reflect current cultural values. But how effective is his argument?

Having never read his previous works, I was in the dark regarding Lessig's rhetorical style, so I went into Remix with no expectations and an am unable to compare it to his other arguments. I found Remix both compelling and accessible. What truly surprised me was the types of premises Lessig used to advance his argument. Although both points of legality and appeals to ethos appear in Remix, Lessig's primary concern is one of economics. Would less restrictive copyright be better or worse for the economy? Is it still possible to derive value (i.e., make money) off a work with a less restrictive copyright? Lessig's answer is an unequivocal yes.

I admire this strategy more than I admire the argument itself, for I think it will go a long way toward convincing economists, lawyers, and business people--anyone concerned with making money from their content or the content of their clients--that less copyright isn't as scary as it seems. Remix is not the manifesto of a copyright revolutionary attempting to storm the Bastille of commerce and tear down the walls of sane legislation. Rather, Lessig points out that sometimes more control is less desirable--for instance, it can often bring unwanted liability to the copyright holder or stifle possible opportunities for fan-based revenue. Although making money is always a concern, it isn't necessarily the only concern--sometimes it's better to build customer loyalty or cultivate what Lessig terms a "sharing economy" than just reap profits.

I won't attempt to summarize all of Lessig's arguments here. Remix is short enough--perhaps my largest complaint about the book--and well-organized enough that anyone should be able to muddle through, and anyone with interest in these issues will derive enjoyment from it. Those of us who agree with Lessig's perspective are lucky to have such an eloquent and sharp voice for remixing. As for our opponents--well, if Remix doesn't persuade you, I at least hope that it opens your eyes as to why why some people promote remixing, beyond a twisted desire to steal profit from other content creators. Copyright certainly isn't a black and white issue; Remix succeeds in showing that it doesn't need a black and white answer. ...more
2

Aug 31, 2010

We live in a remix culture. We share, exchange, spread, criticize, and build upon numerous creative works. Because of the increasing digitization of our culture, every use of a work produces a copy; hence copyright laws are more far-reaching. Too far, Lessing says. He says that copyright laws need to be redefined.
He proposes:
1. Deregulate Amateur Creativity
2. Clear Title
3. Simplify
4. Decriminalize the Copy
5. Decriminalize File Sharing

What does this mean for librarians? (I ask this because I We live in a remix culture. We share, exchange, spread, criticize, and build upon numerous creative works. Because of the increasing digitization of our culture, every use of a work produces a copy; hence copyright laws are more far-reaching. Too far, Lessing says. He says that copyright laws need to be redefined.
He proposes:
1. Deregulate Amateur Creativity
2. Clear Title
3. Simplify
4. Decriminalize the Copy
5. Decriminalize File Sharing

What does this mean for librarians? (I ask this because I had to read this for Intro to Library Science).
According to the ALA web site: "DRM, if not carefully balanced, limits the ability of libraries and schools to serve the information needs of their users and their communities."
It limits or could limit secondary transfer of works (this is what libraries do with legally acquired content); it could prevent copying content onto new formats, this will prevent libraries from preserving and providing long-term access; it could eliminate fair use, such as printing and quoting.
This is a sticky situation and Lessig makes a good argument and also offers solutions. I appreciated being made to think on the big inpact this has on access of information, but I did not understand his three chapters on economy. He talks about Wikipedia and Youtube but I didn't understand how this tied in to his argument.

...more
5

Jul 31, 2018

Why are we criminalizing our youth with copyright wars? That is the central question Lessig asks. The creative process and the tools that now exist to make the art of today's times should not be stifled the way it currently is. If the objective is to reward artists and the corporations which sponsor them and to limit the ways that others could infringe upon their ability to sell their original work, then there are more productive and less litigious methods of meeting those ends. Copyright law Why are we criminalizing our youth with copyright wars? That is the central question Lessig asks. The creative process and the tools that now exist to make the art of today's times should not be stifled the way it currently is. If the objective is to reward artists and the corporations which sponsor them and to limit the ways that others could infringe upon their ability to sell their original work, then there are more productive and less litigious methods of meeting those ends. Copyright law has not always operated at its current level of dysfunction. Models exist (Creative Commons) which show what a healthier solution might look like. Lessig provides justification for change and spells out the dangers of continuing along the current trajectory. Highly readable and still quite relevant ten years after publication. ...more
5

Mar 11, 2013

Every time I pick up a book by him, I am always impressed by Lawrence Lessig's capacity at storytelling. There aren't many people who are simultaneously talented academics and lawyers - expert enough to argue cases before the supreme court - who can also tell stories relevant to their subject in a manner that would be captivating to any audience and at the same time manages to explain technical legal, economic, and philosophical points. This book by Lessig focuses on recent changes in the legal Every time I pick up a book by him, I am always impressed by Lawrence Lessig's capacity at storytelling. There aren't many people who are simultaneously talented academics and lawyers - expert enough to argue cases before the supreme court - who can also tell stories relevant to their subject in a manner that would be captivating to any audience and at the same time manages to explain technical legal, economic, and philosophical points. This book by Lessig focuses on recent changes in the legal rules surrounding access to and use of culture and knowledge of various sorts in the US - forms of information and innovation often thought of as "intellectual property." This book does a beautiful job explaining the dangers of an overly stringent intellectual property regime and the benefits for society - and our children - that come from permitting greater access to and ability to build further upon the innovations of others.

I can't speak to what this book has to add over Lessig's "Future of Ideas" and "Free Culture," as I've only read pieces of these books and some years ago. Certainly his narrative style in this book lived up to the engaging style of his classic "Code" from a decade ago. I selected to read this over the less recent books on the knowledge economy, as this field changes so quickly that I was interested in his most recent work on the subject. Having enjoyed this book, I would recommend it highly, as I would his previous works on the topic.

The subject of this book - which Lessig dedicates to our country's youth and their need to have the ability to access and build from our intellectual and cultural heritage - became more salient immediately after I completed this book, with the sad suicide of Aaron Schwarz, an incredibly talented 26 year old computer genius and political activist who had been legally persecuted for his efforts to make JSTOR academic research articles available for free to those who do not have membership in elite academic communities. ...more
4

Jun 04, 2017

Written in 2008, this book uses classic examples to illustrate how the government needs to lessen the regulations of copyrighting, specifically loosening restrictions on P2P (peer-to-peer) filesharing. A good read for those who are interested in government affairs and how it mixes with technology. I hope, though, the author writes a second edition version in the next years, especially with the advent of meme culture and the rapid growth of streaming and viral videos.
3

Dec 06, 2008

Larry Lessig beckons us in his new book, Remix, to think about the future of a generation weaned on pirated media. In his usual elegant style, he clears the bramble around thorny issues of gift economies, fan labor (though he doesn't use the term), and what he calls the "Copyright Wars." (Here's video of the author reading the book's introduction.)

If you regularly read books in this genre you will recognize many of these examples; accordingly, Lessig works to reinvigorate the Potter Wars Larry Lessig beckons us in his new book, Remix, to think about the future of a generation weaned on pirated media. In his usual elegant style, he clears the bramble around thorny issues of gift economies, fan labor (though he doesn't use the term), and what he calls the "Copyright Wars." (Here's video of the author reading the book's introduction.)

If you regularly read books in this genre you will recognize many of these examples; accordingly, Lessig works to reinvigorate the Potter Wars anecdote by focusing Warner Bros.'s continued waffle acknowledging profit margins from fan sites dedicated to Harry, Hermione, and the Weasley brood.

The young creator network that fought in the Potter War skirmishes are part of Lessig's most interesting argument: deregulating amateur creativity. The distilled argument begins chapter nine---the chapter that will appear on syllabi and circulate online (especially as it's a list, which bodes well for bookmark-sharing site Digg, and a list that ends with decriminalizing filesharing, a topic dear to Digg users)---and Lessig defines amateur creativity as different from professional creativity. A silly family video would be the former, the remix artist GirlTalk the latter, and he proposes flipping the model so a site host like YouTube absorbs responsibility for copyright fees in uploaded files instead of the user. Sexy, but I'm not convinced Big Brother aspires to be Daddy Warbucks.

Think of Clay Shirky's work on cognitive surpus and how he argues it was masked for decades ("Did you ever see that episode of Gilligan's Island where they almost get off the island and then Gilligan messes up and then they don't? I saw that one. I saw that one a lot when I was growing up.") and about how Shirky argues that the internet runs on love. Lessig teases out some (he could go further) of the legal usage implications of these production/consumption patterns--ceding that money pollutes gift economies, but pointing out absurd "user-generated content" sites for commercial entities like the Star Wars franchise that own the remixed fan products added to the "community" site.

On page 248 of Remix, he writes "the agreement between media companies, or media companies and artists, are not love letters. They do not express mutual respect." Lessig is not a copyright abolitionist--the movement concerns him greatly; neither does he promote filesharing (he responded to a filesharing question last night in this way). Respect for the laws governing copyright will work, he suggests, when the laws reflect the current culture (read his distinction between thin-sharing and thick-sharing). Without alteration, the regulations will continue to be ignored and this disregard may bleed into other areas of regulation, a dangerous trend for an entire generation.

At an event last night near Los Angeles, Lessig spoke on protecting use of amateur performance and the dangers of read-only societies.

And speaking of silly family videos, last week I posted a Thanksgiving dance clip, a Taylor tradition we now share with friends by posting online. As the cruise director of this particular family activity that was destined for YouTube, I made sure we used a remix of a Jackson 5 song, one I like better than the original spun by a Japanese DJ. We researched the original choreography on YouTube--the 1972 head bobs, the 1977 spinning Spaceship Earth moves. And instead of dubbing over, I left our voices and the scuffles of our shoes, adding a layer that adds value for the audience of this video: the small circle of family and friends who enjoy watching five white kids wear Afro wigs and dance around the garage.


I agree with Lessig that trying to live without the love of amateur remixers in an online world filled with video will be "one long sleepless night." Let's hope the new copyright czar will know wrong from right.

More Lessig on admins exercising judgment on video-sharing sites. ...more
3

Nov 25, 2012

Lessig is a lawyer and law professor who has been at the forefront of questioning copyright controls in the digital age. He presents a number of ideas about how the internet, crowdsourcing, and artistic remixing are the modalities for economic and cultural development in the 21st century.

Unlike other books that I've read about the digital revolution,* Lessig comes down squarely on the side of technological innovation and all that it has spurred: presenting a picture of the internet as a vast Lessig is a lawyer and law professor who has been at the forefront of questioning copyright controls in the digital age. He presents a number of ideas about how the internet, crowdsourcing, and artistic remixing are the modalities for economic and cultural development in the 21st century.

Unlike other books that I've read about the digital revolution,* Lessig comes down squarely on the side of technological innovation and all that it has spurred: presenting a picture of the internet as a vast frontier of fodder for art, music, activism, education, and altruism. His primary objective with Remix is to demonstrate why 20th century copyright law and the uncompromising definition of property serves neither company nor consumer in the 21st century.

In Lessig's "hybrid" economy consumers are not just consumers, they are empowered to take an active role in shaping and advancing the things they consume. Images, music, movies, text: all are easily rendered into binary and therefore easily mixed up (or mashed up, for those of you who prefer more contemporary lingo) into a potentially cross-cultural and interdisciplinary form of new creative expression. This "remixing" is taken on by the very people who formerly just bought such entertainment to be entertained. It is, in some ways, the ultimate triumph of fan fiction (just applied to every art form in addition to writing).

But Lessig isn't espousing a world where passive consumers simply become more active consumers and the wheels of the free market just fall into the fresher ruts formed by the digital world. Lessig believes that remix culture is a means by which democracy is enriched and ensured because it honors the way a new generation has learned to "write." As writing was fundamental to formulating our democracy (July 4th is ultimately about a written document, not beer or fireworks), democracy can only be ensured so long as a culture continues to be free to write. It's his definition of writing that is so intriguing:

Text is today's Latin. It is through text that we elites communicate . . . For the masses, however, most information is gathered through other forms of media: TV, film, music, and music video. These forms of "writing" are the vernacular of today. They are the kinds of "writing" that matters most to most. (68)

So, in my reading of Lessig's definition, it isn't an issue of the modern world becoming less text based so much as redefining what we mean by text. Like so much in contemporary life, access to more information and more context forces the critical mind to accept broader definitions for previously accepted ideas. At heart, that is a very democratic thing to do.

Whether or not you should read Lessig's book depends on your interest in contemporary culture or if you're in the profession of projecting business models into the future. It isn't a difficult text to read but it can be a bit dry and, for those of you who've subscribed to Wired magazine for the past ten years, you might be disappointed by the lack of material that hasn't already been a part of information-age-discourse. The most salient points in Remix center around the need for an updated approach to copyright law. As this is Lessig's area of expertise, it only makes sense that his best moments are devoted to the ways in which new forms of copyright could benefit both artist and audience. As a founding member of the Creative Commons he has already done much to prove that he practices what he preaches.

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* Such as Morris Berman's The Twilight of American Culture or Sven Birkert's Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age ...more
4

Sep 27, 2016

I was introduced to Lawrence Lessig during Brett Gaylor's 2008 documentary RiP!: A Remix Manifesto, where Lessig provided some much-needed academic rigour to Gaylor's thesis on intellectual property and culture.

In that same year, Lessig published Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy. The book serves as an expansion and meticulous delineation of Lessig's thoughts provided in Gaylor's documentary, and it serves not as a call to arms as some have described it but rather as a I was introduced to Lawrence Lessig during Brett Gaylor's 2008 documentary RiP!: A Remix Manifesto, where Lessig provided some much-needed academic rigour to Gaylor's thesis on intellectual property and culture.

In that same year, Lessig published Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy. The book serves as an expansion and meticulous delineation of Lessig's thoughts provided in Gaylor's documentary, and it serves not as a call to arms as some have described it but rather as a careful appeal for social and legal reform of the restrictive intellectual property regime. The book is divided into three parts: Part I is an analysis of two cultural attitudes which he labels as Read/Only Culture (RO) and Read/Write Culture (RW). Lessig presents an interesting (albeit excessively simplistic at times) exposition of the underlying factors driving the cultural clash that took place with the advent of the internet. Whilst it would appear that Lessig is perpetuating the polarisation of the debate, Lessig stresses that 'the evidence promises an extraordinary synthesis' of these two cultures. He expertly explains how technology has fundamentally changed the manner in which we experience art, juxtaposing the structural differences between LPs and iTunes, for example, and conventional television and Netflix. He makes a convincing case that at the bottom of the debate the question is one of access. Our expectations of access have shifted significantly, whilst industry and political leaders have stayed behind.

Part II focuses on Economies, specifically what Lessig labels 'Sharing Economies' and 'Commercial Economies'. Admittedly, I was highly sceptical of Lessig's ability to discuss economics without a specific background in the discipline. It is always disappointing to read misinformed economic analysis that would have benefited from further research. Lessig, however, navigates the topic with great prowess. Again, Lessig writes about balance; about creating hybrid economies in which the legitimate profit-maximising interests of the industry are fulfilled in light of the nuanced requirements of the people who not only consume but also interact with the industry's products. What is fascinating about this part of the book is how true it rings today, 8 years since publication, particularly in the context of digital disruption and entrepreneurship.

Lessig finishes the book in Part III by discussing the ways in which we can enable the cooperation and co-existence of culture and commerce in the future. His legal analysis of intellectual property regulation is second to none, making a fiercely convincing case for law reform. In addition to the law, Lessig also writes about reforming our norms and expectations surrounding the control of culture. Most striking — considering his curiously silent race for the 2016 Democratic nomination — is his comment on the limitations of government regulation. Means are always subject to measure, Lessig writes, leaving for the reader some powerful final thoughts that reverberate to this day.
...more
4

Jul 09, 2015

In this book, Lessig does not challenge that copyright is necessary to provide economic incentive for the creation of new works, but rather argues that copyright law has become outdated due to technological advancement. In framing his argument, he starts with the topic of music “piracy,” which, he claims, is rampant despite its illegality. His primary concern is that because this activity is so prevalent among the American youth, the outdated copyright law has created a nation of scofflaws. He In this book, Lessig does not challenge that copyright is necessary to provide economic incentive for the creation of new works, but rather argues that copyright law has become outdated due to technological advancement. In framing his argument, he starts with the topic of music “piracy,” which, he claims, is rampant despite its illegality. His primary concern is that because this activity is so prevalent among the American youth, the outdated copyright law has created a nation of scofflaws. He finds it unnecessary to wage a war on piracy, when criminalizing the behavior has failed to deter the action in young people. The implication is that as young people begin to think of themselves as criminals, they will lose respect for the legal system and for intellectual property.

Lessig also argues that the current copyright system harms society by unnecessarily inhibiting creativity, stifling innovation, and missing economic opportunities for copyright holders. He uses computer technology as a metaphor for different types of creative cultures: Read-Only (RO) and Re-Write (RW) cultures. In an RO culture, products are produced and then consumed. In a RW culture, creative products are remixed to create further creative products.One of Lessig’s main arguments for how copyright law should be revised is to limit copyright regulation where RW culture flourishes. Lessig asserts that it is possible to not only have a better RO culture, but also a more vibrant RW culture and a flourishing world of hybrids.

Lessig’s overall points seem fairly convincing, but not always realistic. For instance, he proposes that the law should not allow (or require) copyright owners to police uses of their works in noncommercial instances. This, he claims, would enhance RW culture and would end lawsuits, or fear of lawsuits, against users whose use posed no economic threat to the copyright owner. In some instances, this may be highly undesirable for copyright owners, who may not want their creative work exploited, especially if the exploitation caused a work to be overexposed in the marketplace. While the nonprofit use may not have had an immediate negative effect on the market of the original, this overexposure may end up causing economic damages for which the copyright owner had no recourse. For instance, if a copyrighted song was used in an offensive video that went “viral,” the market for the original may be adversely affected if the copyright owner could not issue a takedown notice.

I liked his solution to change copyright to an “opt in” system after an initial period of automatic protection. This would be very effective in solving the orphan works problem, and, if all renewals were searchable in a database, would also result in a much clearer system for determining copyright status. As useful as this solution might be, I think it is very unlikely to actually occur, since there has been a lot of money put into litigating for extending copyright durations, not the other way around.

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5

Apr 25, 2012

At the end of this book Lessig ends with a brief explanation of why our government acts irrational when it comes to copyright, education, war, and a slew of other items. To paraphrase, he says it's because our kids have less money to give to corporate campaigns than the RIAA, big oil, war profiteers, et al. I posit that if our system was sane right now, Lessig would be one of the top spokesmen for items like the legality of public expression on the net. He would be someone who would often show At the end of this book Lessig ends with a brief explanation of why our government acts irrational when it comes to copyright, education, war, and a slew of other items. To paraphrase, he says it's because our kids have less money to give to corporate campaigns than the RIAA, big oil, war profiteers, et al. I posit that if our system was sane right now, Lessig would be one of the top spokesmen for items like the legality of public expression on the net. He would be someone who would often show up on outlets like CNN to explain why we need to rethink copyright in an age of the Internet and how it's literally making whole forms of expression illegal for no good reason. Instead Lessig is a fringe figure that those of us that know about Free Software follow. In the age of the corporate media much of our country is now conditioned to think that copyright, file sharing, and the like is a simple black and white issue when its not. The rational arguments of Lessig, the Free Software movement, Open Source, and others never reach anyone's ears because the corporate media has a definite stance and they have no desire to present the other side.

The only slight markdown that Lessig gets is that he falls into the RIAA's trap by believing that if the RIAA companies get paid then artists get paid. This is a falsity that has gotten disproved time after time. Only the biggest artists make money in the record industry. Some artists never get paid because of legalities and some out and out are refused payment. This is a small point (so it thus doesn't mean it deserves a star off) but it comes up at the end of the book. Even very famous and successful artists like Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails fame have documented cases of the record companies stealing from them. So another reason to reform copyright that is missed by Lessig is to make sure artists get compensated because the argument that the RIAA companies take care of artists is bunk.

Here's hoping that we are only at the far end of a cycle and the mass political stupidity we're living through lightens up so we can have rational discussion about creativity. While it's not our number one priority it's importance is very high. ...more
4

Dec 28, 2011

I had high expectations for this book and was generally pleased to that end. I have known about Lawrence Lessig for awhile because of some involvement in past virtual communities he helped establish and because of his work in helping establish the Creative Commons, an alternate to standard copyright.

In the book Lessig argues that modern communication and information technology has reached a point where what was once an esoteric, highly expensive and exclusive set of activities (creating things I had high expectations for this book and was generally pleased to that end. I have known about Lawrence Lessig for awhile because of some involvement in past virtual communities he helped establish and because of his work in helping establish the Creative Commons, an alternate to standard copyright.

In the book Lessig argues that modern communication and information technology has reached a point where what was once an esoteric, highly expensive and exclusive set of activities (creating things videos, songs, interactive sites) has become "democratized"--in the sense that it is open to many to participate in. He distinguishes between what he calls "Read-Only" culture, or high culture/commercial culture containing movie producers, musicians, programmers, who create, license and sell their work and "Read-Write" culture, or amateur culture that involves individuals or small groups, sometimes making unique content sometimes "Remixing" content from RO (or RW). Pointing out the obvious, that RW culture is generally criminalized in the U.S. at least, he argues for ways that both cultures might thrive and feed into each other, through economic models like Google who share many of their resources but then rely on user data to build value into their services. He also makes a larger argument about copyright changes that on one hand balance copyright as a mechanism for allowing RO culture to invest into projects and profit (without giving them seemingly unending control they presently have) while on the other hand decriminalizing and promoting a stronger "Remix" culture, but I won't say more about that and instead encourage reading the book itself.

Sometimes Lessig does simplify things, like this discussion of economies, but I think this mostly has the effect of allowing him to expand his argument without spending an inordinate amount of time explaining the facets of this or that phenomena. Lessig's writing style is very approachable and enjoyable and I plan on picking up some of his other books after this one. Ultimately he puts forth an interesting argument and a potential way to bridge "RO" and "RW" that is worth reading through, especially for anyone interested in media and intellectual property "battles." ...more
5

Feb 02, 2009

Lessig does it again, and does it better.

My Amazon.com review says it all, but here's what I'll say here:

What is completely new about Remix is that it finally and fully embraces the human context that was always present in Lessig's writing, but always subordinated to facts and arguments. In Remix it becomes clear that we can no longer dismiss his writings as "of the elite for the elite by the elite". More dramatically, and speaking as a father myself, I believe that the experience of fatherhood Lessig does it again, and does it better.

My Amazon.com review says it all, but here's what I'll say here:

What is completely new about Remix is that it finally and fully embraces the human context that was always present in Lessig's writing, but always subordinated to facts and arguments. In Remix it becomes clear that we can no longer dismiss his writings as "of the elite for the elite by the elite". More dramatically, and speaking as a father myself, I believe that the experience of fatherhood has fundamentally altered Lessig's perspective (for all our benefits) and focused the full power of his intellect on the question: how do the errors in our present legal constructs of copyright not only destroy the vitality of our culture and the value of our creative industries, but what are the consequences of finally and fully criminalizing the entire generation of Americans born after the birth of the VCR?

Lessig's thoughts move beyond argument to constructive advocacy: 5 positive reforms that can remedy what we "lefties" believe are a great travesty of law and free culture, potentially reverse what has become a precipitous decline in the value of the creative industries (movies, music, and recorded media especially), and most importantly, give our children the kind of rich cultural heritage that was the birthright of every American born before 1909. Moreover, these 5 positive reforms are expressed with a level of brevity simplicity that even a Congressperson can understand them.

Most provocative and encouraging to me is the way he marries the history of civil rights legislation (including the Civil Rights Act of 1964) to a possible way we could make copyright reform harmless and helpful to all concerned parties--the traditional rights holders in Hollywood and the creative remixers in Brooklyn. His synthesis of the legal mechanics of that great struggle with the great creative/cultural struggle in front of us is true genius. ...more
5

Dec 03, 2010

Remix represents my first book read on my nook. Needless to say, that fact was pretty symbolic for me. Someone who truly shares my visions and thoughts on culture and content. Lawrence Lessig brings a ton of common sense into the debate about Copyright and the 21st Century media remixes our society expects. This book did not disappoint.

He starts out by looking at these 21st Century children, referencing his own and of course I started to think of my own. But he says, in reference to how they use Remix represents my first book read on my nook. Needless to say, that fact was pretty symbolic for me. Someone who truly shares my visions and thoughts on culture and content. Lawrence Lessig brings a ton of common sense into the debate about Copyright and the 21st Century media remixes our society expects. This book did not disappoint.

He starts out by looking at these 21st Century children, referencing his own and of course I started to think of my own. But he says, in reference to how they use content, 'What does it mean to a society when a whole generation is raised as criminals?' Interesting choice of words and view, but Lessig is spot on by that question. Later in the book he receives some info of a 'pirate,' who indeed knows he does wrong, but that's just how he rolls, if you will.

Throughout the book, as in his public speeches, blogs, and other venues, he argues that we do need Copyright, but it needs to be changed. Later, in reference to this 'war,' he cites,' It is time we call a truce, and figure a better way.' And that's what he wants--a better way to fight Copyright infractions, while keeping creativity through the remixes alive. One of the points he made, that just blew me away, is the thought that through the 90s and 00s, how much money was spent on lawyer fees fighting this way. How much money was lost on lost cd sales. And then, how much money could have been generated if the RIAA, MPAA, and others changed their business plan.

That is really what we all think needs to happen. He references Warner and some other groups 'getting' it, by allowing the fan-fiction and other things, allowing for remixes, as the fans drive sales. Only then will we move on as a society, and only then will the 'industry' make money.

...more
4

Sep 24, 2011

Larry Lessig offered me a very inspiring thought in his book, which is "The law is a way of speaking and thinking and, most important, an ethic. Every lawyer must feel responsible for the law he or she helps make ... the law is made as it is practiced. How it is made depends upon the values its practitioners share."

In Remix (published in 2008), he puts copyright and IP law into perspective vis a vis the digital age. Where laws are created without the anticipation that entirely new operating Larry Lessig offered me a very inspiring thought in his book, which is "The law is a way of speaking and thinking and, most important, an ethic. Every lawyer must feel responsible for the law he or she helps make ... the law is made as it is practiced. How it is made depends upon the values its practitioners share."

In Remix (published in 2008), he puts copyright and IP law into perspective vis a vis the digital age. Where laws are created without the anticipation that entirely new operating frameworks could supersede older ones (i.e. print vs. digital, 'professional authorship' vs. citizen reporting/content creation/sharing), then such laws ought really to be reviewed in new light. Mashups, audio remixes etc all present difficult questions to assertion of competing rights.

Think about it ... why do we compliantly credit rightful authors in our dissertations/papers in order to avoid plagiarism but not so when mashing up bits and pieces of music created by others? Isn't it strange that the immediate reaction is to launch into arguments of what's being used vs. whether something totally new has been created? ...more
4

Jan 22, 2016

Copyright and fair use have become confusing and confounding. Not only is it unclear today what exactly we can copy and create, but it seems incredulous that record companies and movie studios would resort to suing children.

In Remix, Lawrence Lessig cuts through the confusion and details how American copyright laws have ceased to perform their original role of protecting artistic creation and allowing artists to build on previous creative works. Today, Lessig contends, digital technologies make Copyright and fair use have become confusing and confounding. Not only is it unclear today what exactly we can copy and create, but it seems incredulous that record companies and movie studios would resort to suing children.

In Remix, Lawrence Lessig cuts through the confusion and details how American copyright laws have ceased to perform their original role of protecting artistic creation and allowing artists to build on previous creative works. Today, Lessig contends, digital technologies make it as easy for media artists to remix, as it does for writers to quote from other sources. Unfortunately, such remixing is in violation of the current laws and creates a stifling climate for creativity.

Lessig stridently argues against the continuation of such a limited "read only" culture and suggests five major changes to our copyright laws:

1. Deregulation of amateur creativity
2. Opt-in copyright
3. Simplification of the copyright laws
4. Decriminalizing copying
5. Decriminalizing file sharing

Note: Remix, published in 2008, does not include any information about the purported looming Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. ...more
0

Mar 09, 2010

Lessig's book is the first I've read regarding copyright that examines preferable alternatives to the current system: one that might reward artists and allow for collage-remix creativity. His alternate version of file-sharing sounded hopeful but was not fleshed out enough to seem totally believable. I think I would favor his proposed tax on digital technology that would be distributed to artists according to the frequency of their work being downloaded but wasn't entirely convinced it would work Lessig's book is the first I've read regarding copyright that examines preferable alternatives to the current system: one that might reward artists and allow for collage-remix creativity. His alternate version of file-sharing sounded hopeful but was not fleshed out enough to seem totally believable. I think I would favor his proposed tax on digital technology that would be distributed to artists according to the frequency of their work being downloaded but wasn't entirely convinced it would work and seemed like it would require some serious technology-intensive overhaul current P2P systems. It seems Lessig's opponents often accuse him of either being a Communist or a craven Capitalist, but his perspectives often seemed almost Libertarian or leaning a little too hard on the wisdom of the free market. I would describe it as technophillic, but I guess we're all technophiles these days.

Overall, Lessig's goals seem totally admirable and he attempts them with a better than average degree of success. I would also recommend the book "Copyrights and Copywrongs" for readers interested in these issues. ...more
3

Nov 13, 2012

A clear and simple but not simplistic view of where copyrights law is doing to creativity, to innovation, to an entire generation of people who are 'pirates' by default.

The examples are dated, even if this was written in 2008. Digital content, technologies and how we interact, play, learn, create on this great universe of the Internet changes constantly but the basic principles of Lessig argument are interesting and do make clear that the Read Only industry has had its hour of glory and that A clear and simple but not simplistic view of where copyrights law is doing to creativity, to innovation, to an entire generation of people who are 'pirates' by default.

The examples are dated, even if this was written in 2008. Digital content, technologies and how we interact, play, learn, create on this great universe of the Internet changes constantly but the basic principles of Lessig argument are interesting and do make clear that the Read Only industry has had its hour of glory and that the RW (Read Write) generation enabled by digital technologies will change the business models. It's inevitable. The RO industries will and are trying to delay the changes but at what price.

Food for thoughts, especially since reading it now with the distance of a few years and new business models emerging gives the reader a possible critical point of view of what has already happened, what is happening now and what the future of creative economy is shaping up to be.

...more
4

Sep 24, 2014

What does it mean to turn an entire generation into criminals?

This is the essential question Lessig asks in his book, and I think it is a good one. I challenge you to find one person in my generation who has not in someway violated someone's copyright. I doubt you could do it.

Lessig argues that the current copyright system is broken, and it is actually hurting our society. He discusses many of the interesting ways that people have made something new out of copyrighted material. Personally, I What does it mean to turn an entire generation into criminals?

This is the essential question Lessig asks in his book, and I think it is a good one. I challenge you to find one person in my generation who has not in someway violated someone's copyright. I doubt you could do it.

Lessig argues that the current copyright system is broken, and it is actually hurting our society. He discusses many of the interesting ways that people have made something new out of copyrighted material. Personally, I know the section on Girl Talk made me smile.

I liked this book because of Lessig's style. The tone is very conversational, and witty little comments are hidden throughout the piece. It especially appealed to me, however, because Lessig actually likes my generation. He thinks we are interesting and creative. After reading Lanier last week, it was really nice to read a book by someone who looks at us and sees potential. ...more
4

May 01, 2009

Remix, the latest from Larry Lessig, is in essence a well-organized long essay/argument from one of the captains of the Copyleft movement. Anyone wanting a springboard to understand the compromise embodied in the Copyleft and/or the Creative Commons licensing, as well as their relationship to the commercial and sharing economies, should pick this up. Remix is thought-provoking, often suggesting further analysis and consideration without specific solutions. After comparing and contrasting Remix, the latest from Larry Lessig, is in essence a well-organized long essay/argument from one of the captains of the Copyleft movement. Anyone wanting a springboard to understand the compromise embodied in the Copyleft and/or the Creative Commons licensing, as well as their relationship to the commercial and sharing economies, should pick this up. Remix is thought-provoking, often suggesting further analysis and consideration without specific solutions. After comparing and contrasting "read-only" and "read/write" culture, Lessig sets out the continued development of those cultures in new technology, specifically through the nurturing of hybrid economies. Hybrid economies, Lessig argues, are the best means to bring the law's relationship to creativity and art in line with ever-expanding technologies. A fun and easy read, chock full of examples from the 20th and 21st centuries. ...more
4

Aug 04, 2013

Lawrence writes a compelling argument as to why our current legal system surrounding electronic data, file sharing, and information written copyright is in need of serious reform. Discussing a wide range of topics from music to art to copyrighted text and crowd sourcing; Lawrence weaves an interesting web in his discussion of how copyright law and rights to information is going to have to change as the internet makes sharing informatoin easier. He not only argues why our system is flawed but Lawrence writes a compelling argument as to why our current legal system surrounding electronic data, file sharing, and information written copyright is in need of serious reform. Discussing a wide range of topics from music to art to copyrighted text and crowd sourcing; Lawrence weaves an interesting web in his discussion of how copyright law and rights to information is going to have to change as the internet makes sharing informatoin easier. He not only argues why our system is flawed but also offers solutions as to how we can overcome certain challenges and create a legal system that is not only more realistic but also one that honors those who create their work.

A must read for anyone even remotely interested in books, media, the internet, art, music, and the global file sharing, media loving community of enthusiastic information lovers. ...more
3

May 13, 2011

This was a solid introduction to some of the problems with our current cultural and legal systems when it comes to encouraging culture. Lessig calls our current culture "Read Only," and argues that this is the expression of professional culture and commodity culture, but that true culture building comes from what he calls "Read/Write" culture; that is, the freedom to "mash-up" parts of culture into new forms. He says that our laws serve to protect RO culture to the prosecution, destruction and This was a solid introduction to some of the problems with our current cultural and legal systems when it comes to encouraging culture. Lessig calls our current culture "Read Only," and argues that this is the expression of professional culture and commodity culture, but that true culture building comes from what he calls "Read/Write" culture; that is, the freedom to "mash-up" parts of culture into new forms. He says that our laws serve to protect RO culture to the prosecution, destruction and dismay of RW culture, which is formed by passionate individuals doing what they love and posting the result on the internet for all to see and enjoy. RO culture tries to block innovators from tinkering with the new technological devices, while RW culture flourishes in the open source and "Creative Commons" culture online. Good stuff. ...more
3

Jul 17, 2009

An interesting perspective on the current state of American Copyright law that easily gets off topic, but none-the-less makes valid points. The book doesn't clearly lay out a solution, but if it could, I imagine the law itself would be easier to change - and as it stands now, it is not.

While the book is about law, it is written for the layman and is easy to understand. Lessig talks about economies and society as well as law and none of his points are particularly confusing. At times, I wish he An interesting perspective on the current state of American Copyright law that easily gets off topic, but none-the-less makes valid points. The book doesn't clearly lay out a solution, but if it could, I imagine the law itself would be easier to change - and as it stands now, it is not.

While the book is about law, it is written for the layman and is easy to understand. Lessig talks about economies and society as well as law and none of his points are particularly confusing. At times, I wish he delved a little deeper into his thoughts before going off an a tangent.

Unfortunately, and this surprised me coming from a law professor, Lessig sometimes doesn't make clear the difference between the copy rights on an original work and the derivative works coming from those originals (the remixes). ...more
4

Mar 11, 2013

The content of this book will be largely familiar to anyone who knows Lessig's work or even has passing familiarity with Lev Manovich's and/or Henry Jenkins' ideas about "remix." This said, Lessig does a nice job here explaining such concepts in an accessible way that will help contextualize these issues for someone outside media studies. Moreover, he animates his work with an argument not only to inform his readers, but to convince them that based on what he explains, copyright and our approach The content of this book will be largely familiar to anyone who knows Lessig's work or even has passing familiarity with Lev Manovich's and/or Henry Jenkins' ideas about "remix." This said, Lessig does a nice job here explaining such concepts in an accessible way that will help contextualize these issues for someone outside media studies. Moreover, he animates his work with an argument not only to inform his readers, but to convince them that based on what he explains, copyright and our approach to it must change. I'm planning to use chapters of this in an undergrad class next quarter, and I imagine that it will concretize and historicize concepts they otherwise have only passing familiarity with (if any). ...more
3

Mar 25, 2016

I liked the premise of the book, but I think the author's tone was more bias than he is willing to admit. The most hysterical part of the book for me was the mention of Blip as it is now a non-entity, having shut down recently. The intellectual thoughts on hybrid economies was intriguing as were the examples given in the book. But I feel like the downer on this book was he kept saying "This book is not about (insert issue here)" and I feel like that hurt a little bit of his credibility. He was a I liked the premise of the book, but I think the author's tone was more bias than he is willing to admit. The most hysterical part of the book for me was the mention of Blip as it is now a non-entity, having shut down recently. The intellectual thoughts on hybrid economies was intriguing as were the examples given in the book. But I feel like the downer on this book was he kept saying "This book is not about (insert issue here)" and I feel like that hurt a little bit of his credibility. He was a bit long winded in his explanations as well. However, I am glad I read it and I did learn quite a bit about the history of hybrid economies online as well as some history about the nature of copyright in the United States. ...more
4

Mar 30, 2012

I was drawn to this book as an elementary school teacher who loves to use video/music mash-ups in my classroom to enliven content material, yet fear I am somehow a criminal according to the letter of the law. I thoroughly enjoyed this; although, much of the technical economics discourse was beyond me. I loved Lessig's basic argument -- that we are currently stuck in a "read only" cultural model and need to be shifting to a more accepting "read/write" culture to advance and grow in meaningful I was drawn to this book as an elementary school teacher who loves to use video/music mash-ups in my classroom to enliven content material, yet fear I am somehow a criminal according to the letter of the law. I thoroughly enjoyed this; although, much of the technical economics discourse was beyond me. I loved Lessig's basic argument -- that we are currently stuck in a "read only" cultural model and need to be shifting to a more accepting "read/write" culture to advance and grow in meaningful ways. His explanation regarding less copyright laws creating more economic gains was convincing (although, people with more knowledge in this area might disagree). All in all I thought this was extremely interesting. ...more

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