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Wolfville, Nova Scotia


Free Culture

Chris Campbell

Lawrence Lessig is Stanford Law Professor who founded the Center for Internet Law and Society. He's a cogent writer on the intersection between intellectual property law and creativity. I first noticed him (although I now realize that I'd read him earlier) when he represented Eric Eldred in the U.S. Supreme Court case to overturn the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. He's also chair of the Creative Commons project which is how this very blog is licensed. His most recent book is Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity and in a great example of putting your money (or book) where your mouth is he's licenced the book (and made a freely downloadable version of Free Culture) under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License. You can also buy Free Culture in an old-style paper version with the pages all bound together. Derivative versions have started appearing already with one of the neatest ones that developed was AKMA's idea to have people read and record chapters, which is almost completely done after a couple of days. I've downloaded the PDF version and I'm reading it now. It's great and I'm going to buy the print version to finish reading it. I have to admit that I'm a bit of a policy wonk and I love the argument that he's making in contextualizing the development of law, culture and public policy. Maybe it's a Canadian trait with so much of our national identity wrapped up with communication technologies and being the birthplace of Marshall McLuhan and Harold Innis (who linked "Empire and Communications"). I'll end with a quotation from Free Culture by Lawrence Lessig:
"A free culture is not a culture without property; it is not a culture in which artists don