Copyright Laws, Lawrence Lessig on Terry Gross’s Fresh Air

Nice radio show interview of Lawrence Lessig by Terry Gross on Fresh Air. About 37 minutes.

Copyright laws strike me as having a fundamental effect on our democracy and economy, especially in the sense that (1) the free and accurate flow of information is necessary to enabling citizens to make informed decisions, and (2) as copyright laws help provide creators with a base livelihood that enables them to keep creating.

Read the comments too, which provide some counter point to Lessigs' argument that free sharing has provided more benefits than harm.

Also, note that the interview gets into some major forces in society and issues related to the learning field, which may be of interest to those of you in the learning field who like to ponder the intersections between economy, power, discourse, politics, and the citizenry.

Lessig makes the case that copyright laws are primarily intended to provide incentives for creators to create new works. I find this argument intriguing, but too narrow. To me, creators ought to have some control over their work. I admit that nothing is created in a vacuum–that all creators draw upon others for ideas and inspiration–so we are all in this together. Still, even a compiler puts in time and effort. Shouldn't this effort be protected? Since Lessig is a principal behind the Creative Commons Copyright efforts, and since Creative Commons includes many flexible options that creators control, perhaps I am reading too much into the argument Lessig makes in the interview. On the other hand, Lessig's new book seem to promote the idea of remixing, so maybe I am right to worry just a little. For example, maybe remixing a song is fine, but taking concepts or ideas out of context can be ripe for a real mess, of the type a creator may not want to encourage.

Lessig's interview by Terry Gross is worth a listen. Perhaps the new book, Remix, he is hawking is worth a read as well. The Amazon Link is available below: