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Book Review: 'Remix' Discusses When Sharing Is Theft

Publication Date: 
November 23, 2008
Detroit Free Press
Andrew Dunn
Professor Lawrence Lessig is quoted in the Detroit Free Press in a review of his book Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy:

Who'd have thought one could be tarred a "terrorist" or "pirate" simply for sharing a Metallica song with a stranger or posting a YouTube of a tot dancing to Prince's "Let's Go Crazy"?

In "Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy," Stanford Law School professor Lawrence Lessig cites these examples of rhetorical and legal overkill while taking aim at a copyright regime he finds ill-suited for a digital world.

"We thus have a system of technology that invites our kids to be creative," he says. "Yet a system of law prevents them from creating legally."


Read-write has returned in the form of remixes, mash-ups, fan fiction and file sharing. It's time, says Lessig, for copyright law devised to protect read-only technologies to catch up.

Lessig recommends decriminalizing file sharing, thus ending a "war" that has done nothing to reduce the practice or resurrect the flagging fortunes of the record business. In its place, he proposes blanket licensing, with fees going to the most-swapped artists, or some other form of taxation.