Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy: Lawrence Lessig: Bloomsbury Academic

Chapter Summary, 4-5
Lessig continues where he left off in Chapter 3, with his own revision of the definition of RW culture, giving examples of how it is used in education, and how companies attempt to stop piracy, or as Lessig describes, Anti – Piracy Measures. Lessig then goes on to compare the Value of RW culture, in both senses of the word Value, and discussing the Legal repercussions and management of copyright laws. This review will be a bit shorter, due to both of the chapters being a bit longer, as well as Chapter 6 being the longest in the book.


Brief Chapter Summary:

Chapter 4:
Starting off the chapter with an example of Lessig’s English Major College-friend, Who Lessig described as one of the best writers he has ever met, whilst he primarily used quotes and examples in his writing to emphasize and explain his points,  Lessig views as a prime example of RW culture being accepted in society, through the use of quoting, something that takes what someone else has said, and whilst not taking for your own, (Which qualifies as plagiarism, something Lessig brings up later),  you use it to aid with your work, and often don’t need to ask permission, like you do with music or other forms protected by copyright. Lessig discusses the hypocrisy of it being perfectly fine to use the writings of other authors when credit is given, and not paying them, but when taking samples from music or video, it becomes stealing if you don’t pay the creator. He argues that there isn’t much of a separation between quoting and remixing, so why should they be handled differently under copyright? Lessig ends the chapter with queries for the reader to ponder, such as how the norms for creativity should change, and asking what actually separates forms of media. The chapter is less Lessig attempting to change your views himself, and more him giving you the chance to think for yourself by planting small ideas about RW culture.

Chapter 5:
The first half of this chapter is focused on Lessig’s discussion of Value, both in terms of money, and personal value. Starting with the idea that RO only culture, such as Hollywood-esque  movies are made by professionals, to be consumed by the common person, or ‘amateurs’. Whilst Lessig RW culture as made by amateurs, for amateurs, or the common audience. Lessig discusses the idea that RW culture could have intrinsic economic value, through the potential ability for creators to, ironically, copyright their creative culture, as well as profit from the sale of it. He gives an example of websites like BandCamp, where music artists can sell their music, or put it on their for free, meaning remixers can choose to sell their music. He discusses the emotional and personal value of remixes, starting with with stating that ‘Most remixes are crap’, but points out that the main source of its value is the participation of rewriting and reevaluating culture and its meaning. such as changing the entire meaning or tone of a song by swapping the tempo or words around.

Lessig then goes on to discuss the legal side of RW culture. pointing out as he did in Chapter 1, that the current copyright laws in most countries, were written before the creation of most digital technologies, even today this point is still accurate, and the laws are still widely outdated. he gives examples of companies using the the current copyright laws in increasingly predatorial and downright absurd ways, such as Disney suing a nursery for painting a mural with Disney characters on it, or a father using a clip from Superman in his home movie, both of these examples are not profited on by anyone, and should qualify as fair use, with RW culture being preyed upon by megacorporation’s, Lessig views the current laws as more malicious than helpful. He uses the example of Creative Commons as a potential replacement for copyright law. Lessig strongly believes that the current laws need to be changed in order to keep up to date with current technology and encourage the growth of RO and RW culture, as they are increasingly valuable in a modern era.


Notable Quotes
“Old Cases are Remixed. The remix is meant to do something new. In both instances, of course, citation is required. But the cite is always efficient payment.”

“While writing with text is the stuff that everyone is taught to do, filmmaking and record making were, for the most of the twentieth century, the stuff that professionals did.”

“No one would expect Disney, to have any problem with a father taking a clip from Superman and including it in a home movie, or with kids at a kindergarten painting mickey mouse on a wall.”

“Remix is an essential act of RW Creativity.”

“Companies usage of copyright has disabled RW Creativity, or at the very least made it only accessible by highly trained or rich people.”

“Through Technology not even conceived of when this system began, this RW culture for texts has built an ecology of content and an economy of reputation.”

“The invention of the World Wide Web was intended to be a RW Medium.”

“But with TV Tuned to the attention span of an increasingly ADD public, who can afford to be a journalist.”

“The RW internet is an ecosystem.”

“The internet is the one context that encourages the ethic of democracy that they exemplify.”


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