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The Future of Ideas

The Fate of the Commons In a Connected World

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The Internet revolution has come. Some say it has gone. What was responsible for its birth? Who is responsible for its demise?
In The Future of Ideas, Lawrence Lessig explains how the Internet revolution has produced a counterrevolution of devastating power and effect. The explosion of innovation we have seen in the environment of the Internet was not conjured from some new, previously unimagined technological magic; instead, it came from an ideal as old as the nation. Creativity flourished there because the Internet protected an innovation commons. The Internet’s very design built a neutral platform upon which the widest range of creators could experiment. The legal architecture surrounding it protected this free space so that culture and information–the ideas of our era–could flow freely and inspire an unprecedented breadth of expression. But this structural design is changing–both legally and technically.
This shift will destroy the opportunities for creativity and innovation that the Internet originally engendered. The cultural dinosaurs of our recent past are moving to quickly remake cyberspace so that they can better protect their interests against the future. Powerful conglomerates are swiftly using both law and technology to "tame" the Internet, transforming it from an open forum for ideas into nothing more than cable television on speed. Innovation, once again, will be directed from the top down, increasingly controlled by owners of the networks, holders of the largest patent portfolios, and, most invidiously, hoarders of copyrights.
The choice Lawrence Lessig presents is not between progress and the status quo. It is between progress and a new Dark Ages, in which our capacity to create is confined by an architecture of control and a society more perfectly monitored and filtered than any before in history. Important avenues of thought and free expression will increasingly be closed off. The door to a future of ideas is being shut just as technology makes an extraordinary future possible.
With an uncanny blend of knowledge, insight, and eloquence, Lawrence Lessig has written a profoundly important guide to the care and feeding of innovation in a connected world. Whether it proves to be a road map or an elegy is up to us.

Publishers Weekly Review

Nov 05, 2001 – In his previous book, Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace, constitutional scholar and former Industry Standard columnist Lessig offered a wary assessment of both the burgeoning architecture of the Internet and the work of those seeking to control its growth. In this sprawling follow-up, Lessig takes his arguments in Code to the next level. Warning of a digital future that, despite all its promise, could in fact turn out quite darkly, Lessig argues that while most of the world is still pondering a digital revolution, a counterrevolution is already underway. Programmers are closing off Internet innovation through code. And lawmakers, lobbied by entrenched commercial interests, are applying overly broad interpretations of copyright and intellectual property laws. To fully realize the cultural and economic benefits of our technological revolution, Lessig urges the creation of a public "commons" for the Internet, an open system that would allow for quicker exchange of intellectual capital and offer future innovators the ability to freely build upon the innovations of others. Some of Lessig's sweeping proposals are sure to spark a lively debate, but his well-reasoned, clearly written argument is powerful. If we fail to deal appropriately and immediately with the intellectual, legal, cultural and economic issues associated with rapid technological change, Lessig asserts, we risk not only squandering the promise of the digital future, but reverting to "a dark age" of increased corporate and government control. Although some readers may find parts of the book rather dense, Lessig has authored another landmark book for the digital age.


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The Future of Ideas
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  • Free
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Social Science
  • Published: Nov 11, 2012
  • Publisher: Puomo Digital Publishing & Marketing, LLC
  • Seller: Fred Jame
  • Print Length: 353 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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