Remix : Making art and commerce thrive in the hybrid economy by Lawrence Lessig is a book that discuss about copyright law and creativity in the Internet era.

I chose this book simply because I feel like I’m part of the music industry or “creativity”, although not at the professional level. I think that this book could help me see the world (in terms of creativity industry) in new perspectives that I never know or experienced before.

Main idea

The main idea about the first part of this book is RO and RW cultures.

RO culture is when you only consume ie. listen to music, read music scores

RW culture is when you contribute or do something with the creative works. ie. re-creating the music

The author has mentioned that remix (or RW) is not a new thing. Only the techniques are new. ie. technology of sharing remixes, new platforms




The technology that the author has been talking about are Internet and Media.

Internet is probably the most popular communication technology. People from all around the world can interact through different platforms.

  • Taking blogs as an example, internet allows readers to bookmark or tag or share a blog that they find useful for others who might need the same thing to be able to see it. This is a way of connecting with other people.

The author stated that the internet is the place where all writings are RW. Anything you write on the internet is open to debate. Anyone has access to it and there are able to comment, rate and criticise. 

Media are channels where people can spread music, films etc. They are seems to be more important than “text” or writings. These media are around us. You see them everywhere.

Nowadays, images and sounds that get remixed into a new video are far more powerful than a long essay. It can also effectively make an impact on the audience. 

–> Media remix = creativity supported by technology


Social and ethical issues

The main issue discussed is intellectual property.

Copyright is the main point of this book. The author stated that “Whether RW culture flourishes depends at least in part upon the law”

Copyright law still inhibit new form of ‘writing’ such as film, music from developing. The author is questioning that if we can quote a text from a book then we should be able to quote lyrics from a song because the only difference is that it is just from a different source.


Things I found interesting so far…

1. The author stated that why can’t the remixer create something new by themselves? Why do they need to use someone else’s (eg. famous singer, actor) images or audio for remixes?

The answer is that those “original” things from famous people have “power” in it. 

I found this really interesting as it reflects how most people value work created by people who has different level of skills and how those amateur or non-professionals would need to try much harder to get their work out there.


2. Remix can create “education”

  • It is “internet based learning” where you can learn from things you are passionate in doing and it is usually more effective.   –> For example, when remixing audios and videos from a movie, you will definitely learn how to use different tools in a software you are using but at the same time, you will also learn something new from that specific audios or videos you have use to do the remix.
  • There are both good and bad remixes out there. Those poor ones can be use for education as a case study.

Agree or disagree with the main idea?

I think the author’s main idea is that RW culture, especially using media because it is becoming ubiquitous, should be developing and people should be able to do it without worrying about copyright or license.

I agree with this to some extent. I think that it would be great if you can pick out some songs to use to play around and learn from the song itself and also from recreating it to make it yours.

BUT I think that there should be a limit to this as well. Having a clear separation of sources would be good :

  1. Where you can only listen to music that has copyright or license and
  2. Where you can pick out some songs to use for whatever you might need it for.
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