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About this weblog
Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this weblog are those of the authors and not of their respective institutions.

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March 30, 2004

The Annotated Lessig and Other Stories of Free Culture

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Posted by Ernest Miller

Last week, ubercyberlawprof Larry Lessig released his most recent book, Free Culture, with an attribution, non-commercial Creative Commons license. Consequently, all sorts of interesting variations have been made, in less than a week. First, there were the multiple formats (Free Culture Formats), then the audio version (Listening to Larry) and now a couple more interesting projects.

Uberlayerslawprof Larry Solum is running a virtual legal theory book club on his Legal Theory Blog devoted to Free Culture. The club is running this week, so start here, Legal Theory Bookclub: Free Culture by Lawrence Lessig: Part One, and participate. Could such have happened so soon if the book wasn't freely available on the internet?

Jeff Jarvis has an excellent idea for another use of Larry's work - the annotated version (Free debate). Those familiar with my writings know that I am a huge fan of annotations, which I also call recipe files or client-side remixes. Jeff asks,

But wouldn't it be great to take a book and break it open at the spine for some back-and-forth?
Why not turn a book into a conversation?

Why not, indeed? Lessig would certainly favor such a concept, I believe. And if he didn't, too bad, the book is already licensed for such a thing. Poor arguments can be pointed out, but so can additional evidence on behalf of particular arguments. In a way, Solum's work is a step in this direction. Who will be the first to add Solum's book club to an edition of Lessig's book? (I don't see a license on your blog, Solum, is that okay with you?) Wouldn't it be great, also, to append all the reviews, negative and positive, as well as Lessig's promotional interviews to the book for easy future reference?

Jeff also notes that many other books would benefit from such annotations. Of course, some of the authors Jeff cites as being chief beneficiaries, such as Ann Coulter or Michael Moore, probably wouldn't like to have their books torn apart like that.

I like this idea. I like it alot.

And don't forget to check out JD Lasica's review (My review of Lessig's 'Free Culture').

Comments (2) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: IP Use


COMMENTS

1. Cypherpunk on March 30, 2004 2:49 PM writes...

What are the licensing options for an annotated version of Lessig's book? Can I take it, make my own critical commentary and re-spin the book into something that argues exactly the opposite of what Lessig wanted, then release that under a license that forbids further such modifications applied to my work?

Or is the license "viral" like the GPL, so that if I make a derivative version of his work, I am required to obey the same license and allow others to modify my own additions?

BTW I've only read the first day of Solum's review but it was refreshingly free of the fawning which is so widespread online. Where Lessig is sloppy, Solum is calling him on it, which is far more helpful to the reader.

Permalink to Comment

2. Ernest Miller on March 30, 2004 2:55 PM writes...

Lessig hasn't used the "Share Alike" clause so, presumably, you could make your own edit and not permit others to make further derivatives. Of course, you could not make commercial use of your derivative.

Permalink to Comment


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