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The Future of Ideas

The Future of Ideas

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Add This - The Future of Ideas

Written by Lawrence LessigAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Lawrence Lessig

  • Format: Trade Paperback, 384 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage
  • On Sale: October 22, 2002
  • Price: $16.00
  • ISBN: 978-0-375-72644-6 (0-375-72644-6)
Also available as an eBook.
about this book

The Internet revolution has come. Some say it has gone. In The Future of Ideas, Lawrence Lessig explains how the revolution has produced a counterrevolution of potentially devastating power and effect. Creativity once flourished because the Net protected a commons on which widest range of innovators could experiment. But now, manipulating the law for their own purposes, corporations have established themselves as virtual gatekeepers of the Net while Congress, in the pockets of media magnates, has rewritten copyright and patent laws to stifle creativity and progress.

Lessig weaves the history of technology and its relevant laws to make a lucid and accessible case to protect the sanctity of intellectual freedom. He shows how the door to a future of ideas is being shut just as technology is creating extraordinary possibilities that have implications for all of us. Vital, eloquent, judicious and forthright, The Future of Ideas is a call to arms that we can ill afford to ignore.

“Dazzlingly inventive . . . It deserves to change the way we think about the electronic frontier.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review

“A manifesto that shakes you up, making you aware of how much is lost when a culture turns ‘ideas’ into ‘intellectual property.’” —The New York Times Book Review

“A breath of fresh air in a crowded field . . . This book is a public service.” —The New York Times

“Lessig is one of the brightest minds grappling with the consequences of the digital world today, as deft and original with technical intricacies as he is with broad legal theory. . . . The Future of Ideas succeeds marvelously.” —The Nation

“Lessig’s book will serve as an excellent guide.” —The Washington Post Book World


1: "Free"


2: Building Blocks: "Commons" and "Layers"

3: Commons on the Wires

4: Commons Among the Wired

5: Commons, Wire-less

6: Commons Lessons


7: Creativity in Real Space
Creativity in the Dark Ages

The Arts

8: Innovation from the Internet
New Products from the New

HTML Books
Lyric Servers and Culture Databases
New Markets
New Means of Distribution

New Demand
New Participation: P2P


9: Old vs. New

10: Controlling the Wires (and Hence the Code Layer)
The End-to-End in Telephones
Fat Pipe
AT&T Cable

Controlling the Wired (and Hence the Content Layer)
Increasing Control
Copyright Bots
Consequences of Control

12: Controlling Wire-less (and Hence the Physical Layer)

13: What's Happening Here?

14: Alt. Commons
The Physical Layer
Free Spectrum
Free Highways
The Code Layer
Neutral Platforms
The Content Layer
—Five-Year Renewable Terms
—Software Renewable Terms
—Protecting Innovation
—Protecting Music
—Rebuilding the Creative Commons
—Limits on Code
—Limits on Contract
—Limit Commercial Exploitation

15: What Orrin Undestands