Free Culture by Lawrence Lessig

I’m working on a new book, Free Culture by Lawrence Lessig. Dumb me, I actually paid for the book. It’s available for under the Creative Commons to download for free. :)

It looks to be an interesting read. It deals with the current situation with ”property rights”, property being intellectual, creative, and otherwise. I’ve made it through the first chapter, and Lessig has an interesting style. His writing could be more concise, but he seems to be a thorough writer and wants to insure that his readers fully understand the points he makes. He’s a law professor at Stanford, so what should I have expected? He does have a habit to start to make excellent points and at the very instance your head wraps itself around the idea and says, “Ah-ha, I see where he’s going…” he drops it.

At one point towards the end of the first chapter he mentions building and I have the sudden flash of insight. The discussion on “building” upon what has come before is mentioned in a way that building briefly seems as though it is meant in its noun form. This split-second image of a building gives me the insight that current property laws work along these lines: A lumber yard licenses the wood for a specific building, but any other use of the wood is prohibited. The scraps can not be turned into trinkets for the house, as the wood was only licensed for framework and structure purposes. Many of the ”licenses” that popular culture - software, music, movies - come under have just the same purpose. Here, you have purchased our product but you can only use it this way. Any other use might get the RIAA (insert appropriate other ”association

The work is available completely under the Attribution / Non-Commercial license, so anyone who so desired could take the book and “simplify” it. My judgement might be premature. Time will tell…