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The Future of ideas by Lawrence Lessig · 12 September 2005, 07:45 by Admin

Have you ever considered that if the telephone company had not been under monopoly constraints the Internet as we know it might never have happened? Did you ever think about how the rapid spread of the Internet was helped by the simple fact that most early web pages would reveal their construction through the ability to “view source”?

Lawrence Lessig has thought about these things, and more. Unfortunately, he is worried about the future, and sees many trends that could seriously change what the Internet is and will be. If you are at all interested in freedom, in copyrights, patents, and your own ability to survive in a world increasingly dominated by large corporations, you need to read this book. It’s important: I don’t think any of the people likely to be reading this review want the kind of future Lawrence Lessig envisions.

This isn’t all doom and gloom: there are some positive notes, and still some real opportunities for change in the right direction. But it is vitally important that we all be aware of the trends. Too often we are just too complacent, and too unaware of how things like changes in copyright law actually affect us.

By the way, this isn’t just a left vs. right issue. People on both sides of the political spectrum have reason to be concerned about these things, and in fact there are people we would normally consider “right wing” who agree with much of what Lawrence Lessig has to say here. This is not a rant against corporate power (not that I’d object if it were, of course).

Read this book. I know we are all pressed for time, but this is one of the most important books I’ve read in a few years. Buy it, read it, give it to your friends.

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