Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in a Hybrid Economy

Intellectual Property and Copyright and Trademark

Article Snapshot


Lawrence Lessig


Penguin Press, October 2008


This book looks at how new forms of creativity mesh with copyright law.

Policy Relevance

Copyright law should be reformed to legalize remixing and other amateur creativity.

Main Points

  • New technology makes it easy for ordinary people to copy and remix bits and pieces of copyrighted works to create new “remixed” content.

  • Created works can easily be shared online, giving rise to voluntary ventures like Wikipedia, free software, and craigslist. “Hybrid,” businesses can try to bridge the gap between sharing and selling content for profit. Other businesses, like Amazon, just sell content.

  • Fan usage and sharing of Harry Potter web sites can benefit authors.

  • Many types of sharing of created works online, including sharing music, are illegal under copyright law. Creating new works like mash-ups can also be illegal.

  • Criminalizing sharing does not work; one result is that many young people do not respect the law.  

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