Feed on

I finished Part II of Lessig’s book earlier today, and I figured I should probably post about this section before I read/post on the final chunk, because he covers so much in here.

So, right at the end of part one, after comparing the past/future of RW and RO cultures, he circles back around to the issue of piracy (mostly focusing on music because that seems to be where an industry has suffered the most damage).  Then he does what I had been waiting for him to do, which is propose an alternative to the model followed over the last decade which decriminalizes us downloaders and leaves the artists with more money.  He talks about a “compulsory license” system, but his description is brief and it doesn’t really seem like he thinks that would be the best system.  Side note, though: I did think it was interesting how he said this system wouldn’t give artists/labels as much as if everyone had bought their music, but they would’ve had more than they ended up with by trying to sell DRM-encrypted mp3s and force $20 CDs down people’s throats (am I alone in thinking that paying more than $15 for a CD is ridiculous?).

Anyway, I suppose Pt. II accounts for the tacked-on feeling of that bit at the end of Pt. I; this idea of “hybrid economies” are what he thinks are the real key for this kind of thing.  And I’m guessing he’ll connect these two ideas more in the final part (as he begins to in Chapter 8), which I’m about to read, but most of Chaps. 6 & 7 are spent giving us an idea of exactly what a hybrid economy is/can be.  We had some overlap with Shirky, especially when Lessig talks about Wikipedia and freeware/Linux, but we got plenty of new stuff too.  I especially liked the quote from Jimmy Wales where he compared Wikia to a bowling alley:  sure, they are profiting off people’s free time, but like a bowling alley, “people are given a context in which to do something they want to, and noone begrudges the owner of the alley his profits.”  This seems to exemplify a certain approach to a hybrid economy quite well.

So this just leaves the question of how Lessig will tie hybrid economies and copyright law together in Part III, which I’m quite interested to see, because he’s explained everything else so well in this book that I’m sure it’ll be enjoyable.

Leave a Reply

Sites DOT MiddleburyThe Middlebury site network.