Ok, so first–he provides the book as a free pdf download. I printed it off, and now after finishing it, intend to ask Santa for the print version this Christmas. Take that RIAA and other publishers of copyrighted content! The book itself is a good read. I actually took a month or so to read it casually-remember I have two young daughters, so a page here, a page there, and I’m happy. I really liked the pdf version, as I wrote notes throughout the book (see the side picture for proof of my lack of skills!). Would I want to do that with a traditional book? Definitely not, but I could use this to write ideas, ask questions, and make it a workbook. How novel for a novel!
What most impressed me is not his speech toward ideas being free. Yes, he supports the ease of using ideas and media, but he really does see the need for copyright and patents, only feeling they often are misused, which I definitely agree with.
Another point many people miss is that these free resources are not necessarily inferior. In many cases, Linux, the open source operating system, many will argue, are far superior to the proprietary versions (Vista anyone?) I truly believe we are starting to see this paradigm shift, especially in education as budgets continue to dwindle. Photoshop may be a great program, but The Gimp will do all but about 3 things, so what not shift some tools to open source.
What I like is that Lessig divides his commons into three areas or layers: content, logical/code, and the physical layer. Those of us running Linux on desktops/laptops with Broadcom cards know how essential the open hardware layer needs to be. And of course the code layer, talking about HTML, VoIP, etc, should be open. But I agree that the content area, our pictures, videos, and music, should have restrictions, if we want restrictions. Again, not to the extent of 90 years or more, but twenty years is a good amount of time for a business to turn a profit, then allowing materials into the public domain. One of the best points in the book talks just about that,
But the benefit for creativity from more works falling into the commons would be large. If a copyright isn’t worth it to an author to renew for a modest fee, then it isn’t worth it to society to support-through an array of criminal and civil statues-the monopoly protected. (252)
I could go on and on, but you should definitely look at this as a good read and make your own conclusions (and images in the margins!)
(bibliography by: bibme.com, a great new auto-bibliography tool)
Lessig, L. (2002). The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World. New York: Vintage.