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Remix: Making Art and Culture Thrive in the Hybrid Economy"

Lawrence Lessig
November 2008

For more than a decade, we’ve been waging a war on our kids in the name of the 20th Century’s model of “copyright law.”

In this, the last of his books about copyright, Lawrence Lessig maps both a way back to the 19th century, and to the promise of the 21st.

Our past teaches us about the value in “remix.” We need to relearn the lesson.

The present teaches us about the potential in a new “hybrid economy” — one where commercial entities leverage value from sharing economies.

That future will benefit both commerce and community.

If the lawyers could get out of the way, it could be a future we could celebrate.


  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • Part I: Cultures
  • Chapter 1: The Cultures of our Past
    • RW v. RO Culture
    • Limits in Regulation
  • Chapter 2: Cultures of our Future
  • Chapter 3: RO, Extended
    • Nature remade
    • Re-remaking Nature
    • Recoding Us
  • Chapter 4: RW, Revived
    • Writing beyond words
    • Remixed: Text
    • Remixed: Media
    • The Significance of Remix
    • The Old in the New
  • Chapter 5: Cultures Compared
    1. Differences in Value — and “values”
    2. Differences in Value (as in $)
    3. Differences in Value (as in “Is it any good?”)
    4. Differences in Law (as in “Is it Allowed?”)
  • Lessons about cultures
    1. RO culture is important and valuable
    2. RO culture will flourish in the digital age
    3. RW culture is also important and valuable
    4. Whether RW culture flourishes depends at least in part upon the law
    5. The law’s current attitude is both destructive and self-defeating — to values far more important than the profits the culture industries
  • Part III: Economies
  • Chapter 6: Two Economies: Commercial and Sharing
    • Commercial Economies
    • Three Successes from the Internet’s Commercial Economy
      • Netflix
      • Amazon
      • Google
    • Three keys to these three Internet successes
      • Long Tails
      • Little Brother
      • Lego-ized Innovation
    • The Character of Commercial Success
    • Sharing Economies
    • Internet sharing economies
    • The Paradigm Case: Wikipedia
    • Beyond Wikipedia
    • What Sharing Economies Share
  • Chapter 7: Hybrid Economies
    • The Paradigm Case: Free Software
    • Beyond Free Software
      • Type 1: Community Spaces
        • Dogster
        • Craigslist: “Like, Peace, Man”
        • Flickr
        • YouTube
      • Type 2: Collaboration Spaces
        • Declan
        • Slashdot
        • Microsoft
        • Yahoo Answers
        • Wikia
        • Hybrid Hollywood
      • Type 3: Communities
        • Second Life
  • Chapter 8: Economy Lessons
    1. Parallel economies are possible
    2. Tools help signal which economy a creator creates for
    3. Crossovers are growing
    4. Strong incentives will increasingly drive commercial entities to hybrids
    5. Strong Incentives will push “sharing economies” to hybrids
    6. Perceptions of fairness will in part mediate the hybrid relationship between sharing and commercial economies
    7. Sharecropping is not likely to become a term of praise
  • Part IV Enabling the Future
  • Chapter 9: Reforming Law
    1. Deregulating Amateur Creativity
    2. Clear Title
    3. Simplify
    4. Decriminalizing the Copy
    5. Decriminalizing File-sharing
  • Chapter 10: Reforming Us
    • Chilling the Control Freaks
    • Showing Sharing
    • Rediscovering the Limits of Regulation
  • Conclusion
  • Acknowledgments
  • Endnotes


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