NYT: Sympathy for Paris?
Lawrence Lessig on remix culture and freedom of culture:
- So the principle is that the law ought to protect people who need exclusive rights in order to enable their creativity. I believe copyright continues to be an important part of the story. But there's a vast amount of content that is locked up by copyright now for no purpose at all. It's just locked up because the system has become lazy about distinguishing between content that needs the benefit of an exclusive right and content that doesn't...
In 1976 the law changed to basically make copyright automatic. The consequence of making copyright automatic is that our whole culture becomes copyrighted automatically and you're only allowed to use it, or remix it, or share it, or spread it, if you have permission from the copyright owner. Now that rule of get-permission-first makes sense if what you're talking about is Britney Spears' work or the work of John Grisham--commercially available work where the copyright is serving a function to promote progress by creating incentives for stuff to be produced--but there's tons of stuff that has no continuing commercial life at all but continues to be locked up by copyright. And the basic point we're making there is, the system is not doing any good for anybody, and in a context where we have an extraordinary amount of creative potential out there, the idea that all creativity has to be channeled through a lawyer just doesn't make First Amendment sense.