Lessig’s Remix

by Devanshu Mehta

Larry Lessig

Lawrence Lessig

I will pick up Lawrence Lessig’s newest (and last) book on intellectual property- Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy– pretty soon.

For more than a decade, we’ve been waging a war on our kids in the name of the 20th Century’s model of “copyright law.” In this, the last of his books about copyright, Lawrence Lessig maps both a way back to the 19th century, and to the promise of the 21st. Our past teaches us about the value in “remix.” We need to relearn the lesson. The present teaches us about the potential in a new “hybrid economy” — one where commercial entities leverage value from sharing economies. That future will benefit both commerce and community. If the lawyers could get out of the way, it could be a future we could celebrate.

Lessig also recently wrote an article called “In Defense of Piracy” (a pretty strongly worded title) for the Wall Street Journal, where he proposes the following five changes to copyright:

  • De-regulate the amateur remix.
  • De-regulate the “copy”. Instead, focus on the uses- in a digital world, we are making copies all the time.
  • Simplify
  • Restore efficiency
  • Decriminalize Gen-X

The article is typical Lessig- clear, concise and powerful. His book should also be available as a Creative Commons licensed online version on the book’s site soon. Which reminds me… I need to write about Markos Zuniga’s (of DailyKos) Taking On the System, which I recently finished (in short: good book).

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