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Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy

Publication Date: 
August 25, 2008
Source: 
Publishers Weekly

Professor Lawrence Lessig's new book "Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy" is reviewed in Publishers Weekly:

Should anyone besides libertarian hackers or record companies care about copyright in the online world? In this incisive treatise, Stanford law prof and Wired columnist Lessig (Free Culture ) argues that we should. He frames the problem as a war between an old "read-only" culture, in which media megaliths sell copyrighted music and movies to passive consumers, and a dawning digital "read-write" culture, in which audiovisual products are freely downloaded and manipulated in an explosion of democratized creativity. Both cultures can thrive in a "hybrid" economy, he contends, pioneered by Web entities like YouTube. Lessig's critique of draconian copyright laws-highlighted by horror stories of entertainment conglomerates threatening tweens for putting up Harry Potter fan sites-is trenchant. (Why, he asks, should sampling music and movies be illegal when quoting texts is fine?) Lessig worries that too stringent copyright laws could stifle such "remix" masterpieces as a "powerful" doctored video showing George Bush and Tony Blair lip-synching the song "Endless Love," or making scofflaws of America's youth by criminalizing their irrepressible downloading. We leave this (copyrighted) book feeling the stakes are pretty low, except for media corporations.