Reading Assignment: Free Culture

One aspect of music education and culture today that does not receive enough attention is intellectual property. Broadly speaking, I believ that there are nearly insurmountable tensions between intellectual property/content holders, and educators.

To begin our work in this area, you have a big reading assignment for Tuesday. Luckily, what you will read is by one of the deepest thinkers and best writers in this space. Lawrence Lessig is a lawyer and law professor, and also a great writer on the intersection of law and technology. He is also one of the creators of the Creative Commons, which we’ll talk about more in the future.

For now, we begin with parts of one of his best books, Free Culture. This book is freely available as a download (or you can buy a hard copy):
http://www.free-culture.cc/freecontent/

Here’s your assignment (read for Tuesday):
“Piracy” (page 15 through 21)
Chapters 1, 4, and 5

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7 Comments on “Reading Assignment: Free Culture”

  1. geigegirl Says:

    Wow! this is really interesting! I’ve never heard this argument quite like this. I do have a question…I’m not very well versed on this topic, but was wondering, do groups like Kazaa buy the music that then is available online or do they “pirate” it as well?

  2. jlaw2 Says:

    I also think this was a very well thought out argument. I agree that pirating should be punished, however i think the punishment in effect right now does not fit the crime.

  3. adamschlipmann Says:

    Kazaa, and other programs like it, are known as P2P (peer to peer) file sharing programs. They take the collective files that the users agree to share, and make them available to the masses. Kazaa simply provides the service of allowing you to see what the other users have available. In this sense, Kazaa and other P2P programs represented the “type A” variety of file sharing that Lessig writes about. That is, until they were sued for $100 million by the Recoding and Motion Picture Industry.

    Though I have no recent knowledge of Kazaa and the like; supposedly users may now only share non-copyrighted material, which has reduced the user base exponentially.

  4. Matt O Says:

    I also enjoyed the article on the whole. I felt it showed a healthy degree of skepticism and helped me to understand the pros and cons of p2p file sharing. I personally have not participated much if at all in file sharing or even purchasing music online, I prefer purchasing music, and any downloading that I might do would not fall into the type A piracy because I find mp3s to be inferior, and enjoy ‘discovering ‘ enitre albums rather than having a library of hit songs. So I suppose it would be beneficial to the recording industry to make downloads more readily available to a consumer like myself since I might decide to purchase something I otherwise would not have bought… an argument I had not previously considered.

  5. thomas22 Says:

    With technology advancing so quickly (especially via the internet), I find it surprising that the government hasn’t enforced copyright laws more aggressively. I know many people who really like being able to get any program, music, video, or whatever on the internet for free. All you have to do is find a p2p program that connects you to the right database. Still, it is stealing in some ways at least, right? The book explains both sides of piracy pretty well; piracy is wrong to a degree, because everyone’s creations should be theirs. I like how Lessig has presented his argument. I never knew that piracy had occurred in other forms so extensively. As a last thought, it’s almost scary as a teacher how easy it will be to break copyright laws…

  6. bhillho2 Says:

    Although piracy is “wrong,” it has opened the eyes of millions to different types of music. It in a way has set music back financially but grown it in a different aspect with genres. And to punish everyone who has pirated music is like punishing everyone who has ever owned a song they have not bought the rights to, which is near everyone, whether you have done it to one cd in your life, or 50 songs a day, you’re still considered a pirate.

  7. aldog10 Says:

    This article opened up my eyes to some of the effects of piracy. Considering the fact technology has moved so fast, It is not surprising that they have not been able to enforce the laws with the ball moving as fast as it is. P2P servers should be shut down not the people using them. I feel that people are not inherently pirates. if they are offered the programs which are easy, legal and, reasonably priced like itunes.


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