The law professor Lawrence Lessig This book is an outgrowth of the U. Supreme Court decision in Eldred v. Ashcroftwhich Lessig lost. Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the U.
Rather, it is a carefully crafted legal brief demonstrating the urgent need for reforms to current laws that favor the few who now hold copyright to materials that ought to be available in some reasonable fashion to those who wish to use them.
Lessig believes that the old rules governing rights to intellectual property are inadequate tools for governing the use of such property by those he calls creators. Old laws were designed when the principal items being copyrighted were print materials.
Accommodations made during the early years of the twentieth century to cover films and recorded music were barely adequate at the time, and the dawn of the Internet—with the attendant ability to store, retrieve, and manipulate mass amounts of data instantaneously—makes current copyright law totally outmoded.
The Internet, Lessig says, makes it possible to share information at a rate far exceeding anything human society had available in past ages.
His review of the history of creativity in the arts and sciences in the United States suggests that the country has, until recent times, been relatively permissive in allowing those who want to build on the work of the past to create new art or invent new items of practical use.
What he calls the Progress Clause of the U. Constitution, in which the government is required to promote the useful and creative arts by assigning and limiting copyrights and patents, unfortunately was ignored in the latter decades of the twentieth century by members of Congress who have gone along with proposals to extend protections far beyond limits set by the Founding Fathers.
Practically speaking, Lessig argues, the current copyright laws prevent intellectual property from ever passing into the public domain, where they may be used without compensation to creators or their heirs.
The problem, as Lessig sees it, is that those holding the copyright on a work can strangle creativity by denying individuals not only the right to copy the work but also the right to use it in any fashion to produce new, original works that may be seen as deriving in some way from the work under copyright.
The issue is twofold. First, the requirements for recording copyrighted materials have led to chaos when individuals try to secure permission to use printed materials; there is no practical way to determine who must grant permission for the use of many books, pamphlets, and other documents produced long ago but still protected by law.
Second, in the realm of films and music, the growing concentration of ownership in fewer and fewer firms is giving a limited number of organizations the right to determine who will be free to create new art inspired by the artwork of the past.
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Lester Lawrence Lessig III (born June 3, ) is an American academic, attorney, and political activist. He is the Roy L. Furman Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and the former director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University.
Free Culture (). That might well have served as an epithet for attorney Lawrence Lessig's Free Culture, for lawyers are first among the cast of villains identified as the modern enemies of creativity. May 10, · Lawrence Lessig, "the most important thinker on intellectual property in the Internet era" (The New Yorker), masterfully argues that never before in human history has the power to control creative progress been so concentrated in the hands of the powerful few, the so-called Big Media/5.
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.
Lessig offers various remedies for this worsening predicament, but as a whole, they are less compelling than his analysis of the problems." - Heather Green, Business Week "Ultimately, Free Culture is about neither law nor technology, the author's areas of expertise.
It is about power.