The Internet revolution has come. Some say it has gone. In The Future of Ideas, Lawrence Lessig explains how the revolution has produced a counterrevolution of potentially devastating power and effect. Creativity once flourished because the Net protected a commons on which widest range of innovators could experiment. But now, manipulating the law for their own purposes, corporations have established themselves as virtual gatekeepers of the Net while Congress, in the pockets of media magnates, has rewritten copyright and patent laws to stifle creativity and progress.
Lessig weaves the history of technology and its relevant laws to make a lucid and accessible case to protect the sanctity of intellectual freedom. He shows how the door to a future of ideas is being shut just as technology is creating extraordinary possibilities that have implications for all of us. Vital, eloquent, judicious and forthright, The Future of Ideas is a call to arms that we can ill afford to ignore.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: The Future of Ideas|
|Release Date: 11-12-2002|
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|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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The Future of Ideas
Chapter OneDavis Guggenheim is a film director. He has produced a range of movies, some commercial, some not. His passion, like his father's before, is documentaries, and his most recent, and perhaps best, film, The First Year, is about public school teachers in their first year of teaching-a Hoop Dreams for public education.
In the process of making a film, a director must "clear rights." A film based on a copyrighted novel must get the permission of the copyright holder. A song in the opening credits requires the rights of the artist performing the song. These are ordinary and reasonable limits on the creative process, made necessary by a system of copyright law. Without such a system, we would not have anything close to the creativity that directors such as Guggenheim have produced.
But what about the stuff that appears in the film incidentally? Posters on a wall in a dorm room, a can of Coke held by the "smoking man," an advertisement on a truck driving by in the background? These too are creative works. Does a director need permission to have these in his or her film?
"Ten years ago," Guggenheim explains, "if incidental artwork ... was recognized by a common person," then you would have to clear its copyright. Today, things are very different. Now "if any piece of artwork is recognizable by anybody ... then you have to clear the rights of that and pay" to use the work. "[A]lmost every piece of artwork, any piece of furniture, or sculpture, has to be cleared before you can use it."
Okay, so picture just what this means: As Guggenheim describes it, "[B]efore you shoot, you have this set of people on the payroll who are submitti...