Lawrence Lessig is well known for making the argument that looser copyright laws allow for a huge amount of derived creativity, and that this, in turn, earns more money and fame for the original works. He has once again put his money where his mouth is by making his latest book available for free. He’s hardly the first (or even most successful) author to give his book away for free electronically, but today’s New York Times: Practicing the Liberty He Preaches reports (links added):
Lawrence Lessig wants to make intellectual property more widely available. So he has decided to offer some of his own at no charge.
His new book, “Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity,” is available online, free. But a bound version from Penguin Press costs $24.95 (list).
Since the book’s publication on March 25, 21 editions of the free digital version have been created. Among them are two volunteer efforts: a collective project in streaming audio (akma.disseminary.org/archives/001253.html) and another in HTML (www.easylum.net/book/view/12), with handy links that explain details in the text like who Ub Iwerks was (a master animation artist for Walt Disney). …
Mr. Lessig said he was gratified that remixes of his book had popped up (free-culture.org/remixes), although it took some getting used to. “I confess when it first happened, I had to take a deep breath and reconvince myself of the principles here,” he said.
The book is available under a Creative Commons license and can be downloaded in PDF format from the book’s site, FreeCulture.org, or from LegalTorrents.com. (The NYT article says it can also be downloaded from Amazon.com, but I can’t see how.) (Hat tip to Rachel Boyce.)