View Full Version : Is Lawrence Lessig's "Free Culture" biased?

February 9th, 2007, 12:26 AM
Is Lawrence Lessig's "Free Culture" biased (biased enough so that I would have to read the other side of the argument)?

February 9th, 2007, 12:32 AM
Well of course it is. Moderates rarely write books on subjects like that.

February 9th, 2007, 03:40 AM
so what would be a good read to view the opposite point?

February 9th, 2007, 02:16 PM

You can also look up how and why he lost the case:
http://video.google.ca/url?vidurl=http%3A%2F%2Fvideo.google.ca%2Fvideopla y%3Fdocid%3D7661663613180520595%26q%3Dlessig&docid=7661663613180520595&ev=v&esrc=gvpl&usg=AL29H21OU-hjL1LACmPrpiEwrm0Q_RStmw

February 9th, 2007, 06:21 PM
See these:



When I originally read your question, I was going to only answer by asking exactly what argument's opposite point you wanted.

I thought the main theme of the book involved copyright law but upon further reflection, I think it's appropriate to discuss the other controversial topics that surround free culture.

Mako argues that the CC licences provide a neat toolkit for authors of cultural works to use to distribute them. However, the lack of a single standard by which freedom can be compared leads to most people using clauses that restrict the use of those cultural works. To not be able to engage fully with a work because to do so would violate the non-commercial clause is an example of this.

Lessig answers that the free culture movement must come to these conclusions themselves. To have "somebody" define their golas withouth them having to explose and discover them themselves would be counterproductive. The free software movement had to go through the process for years only to now have the infrastructure in place to tackle these moral/legal/ethical questions as they occur.

I can see that. Fair enough.

That doesn't mean that the free culture movement cannot (and should not) build upon what the free software culture has done, though.

Lessig also points out that cultural works are different from software.

I don't buy this.

Lessig says that the GPL protects hackers against freeloaders. Freeloaders are those who take the code without giving something back. A freeloader, in terms of cultural works, can take a CC-licenced (attribution, share-alike) song, put it on a cd and sell that cd without compensating the author.

Yeah, so?

I don't see how this is any different than Linksys or Netgear selling wireless routers which run linux on the inside. Sure, if you fork some GPLed software, you have to make the code available under the GPL as well, but this does not prevent company B from making more money that company A, both of which sell support for the same product.

Mako also opposes the CC way of handling DRM. Although not directly related to free culture, but more of an nit-picking of the Creative COmmons workings, it is probably relevant here, too.

February 9th, 2007, 06:39 PM
Is Lawrence Lessig's "Free Culture" biased (biased enough so that I would have to read the other side of the argument)?
Lessig was lead counsel for the plaintiff in Eldred v. Ashcroft. He was a party to the matter, and thus cannot be said to be "unbiased."

That said, I think Free Culture is probably the best general critique of the present copyright regime out there.