Free culture

From Media Technology and Culture Change

The idea of Lawrence Lessig’s Free Culture is how we are in a tradition of “free” as in “free speech,” “free markets,” “free trade,” free enterprise,” and “free will.” A free culture supports and protects creators and innovators through intellectual property rights. These property rights protect the creator by controlling follow-up creators and limiting them. It is important to understand this notion to fully appreciate free culture because with this understanding, we might resist it, especially with the internet. Piracy laws and ownership laws are hindering our free culture. Lessig describes the difficulties when dealing with piracy and how open –ended the rules have been traditionally. Lessig points out that piracy has survived generation to generation, and that only now are we trying to stop it. Thus, a new question arises, should we stop it? Who owns the internet has been, and continues to be a major problem with free culture. We do not know how to accurately answer these questions and should not attempt to institute regulation laws that would solve them. Show why regulation of culture is needed and show how it does any good. Until then, keep the lawyers away.

James Boyle, professor of law at Duke, also sees free culture as being threatened. He argues that our copyright laws are in response to the material, not the digital. Boyle thinks that instead of adapting our laws to make them more suitable for the changing technology, we've kept them the same as when we were afraid of people walking on our farm. Now we have a cognitive bias towards the protection of property and overestimate the danger of openness. That is, we are more likely to remember cases when intellectual property was abused than when it was embraced for creative expression. According to Boyle, the main problem with copyright is that people aren't aware of this cognitive bias, creating a blindness which is preventing Free Culture from blossoming. In the end, only the collaboration between the corporate and the people can generate a balance between intellectual protection and openness.

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