Chapters 11 and 12 of “Free Culture” by Lawrence Lessig

My reading has two sections, the first talks about how both the music industry and piracy community have got bits and pieces of the situation, with regards to what is morally right, correct. Therefore, we need to create laws that acknowledge this. The chapter also says that if we don’t try to change the laws as they currently are, we will probably lose a large number of creative masterpieces that could not be created in our current legal environment. The second chapter talks about the amount of power that the music industry exerts over the legality and costs of piracy. Students that invented music search engines that enabled people to pirate music were threatened with a $98 billion lawsuit where the most that a doctor who accidentally removed the wrong leg during surgery could be sued for would be $250,000. Essentially, the costs of getting caught for something that is called piracy are way to high and the legal process is also extremely pricey for ordinary people to participate in.

Lessig, L. (n.d.). Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity. New York, NY: The Penguin Press.

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Economic models and how they change

Increasing Returns and the New World of Business is an article about the ways in which economic models have changed over the past several decades to account for the drastic changes in the way that we develop technology. It talks about two distinct models, one of increasing returns and one of decreasing returns.

The model focused on decreasing returns is older and is applicable to industries of mass production. It states that as businesses attempt to take more and more of a given market, they will see diminishing returns on their investments as either the market becomes overfull with their products or they run out of resources to create the product. This would ensure balance between competing companies and stability in the market. In today’s information business, however, the game has changed. As companies invest more into their product, they can expect to see more returns. Products that are more established for a generation of products will steal resources in the form of developers from their competitors and will become increasingly dominant over the market.


Arthur, W. B. (1996). Increasing Returns and the New World of Business.Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from

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Paywalls and the Consumer

Nolan, C. (2005, November 3). Internet Fees Can Take a Toll. eWeek. Retrieved from|A139629949&v=2.1&u=inspire&it=r&p=PPMI&sw=w

This source discusses the reasons that companies would wish to use paywalls on their websites. Sense of security and perception of value that are induced in the consumer are some of the reasons.



This source discusses the decision of the New York Times to add a paywall to their site, which had previously been free to access, and its effects upon their user base. It also discusses ways that other newspapers might wish to emulate or deviate from their strategy.

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Prices of Performances Over Time

abagond. (2007, May 2). Money in Shakespeare’s time. Abagond. WordPress Blog. Retrieved from

In this source, Abagond(the blog author) gives the average wages of workers around the time the Shakespeare would have been writing plays.


Alchin, L. (2005). The Old Globe Theater History. William Shakespeare: The Complete Works. Informative. Retrieved from

This source gives information about the cost of attending a Shakespearean play at the Globe.


McManus, B. (1999, October). Structure of the Greek Theater. CLS 267: GREEK TRAGEDY. Class Website. Retrieved from

This page has information about Greek theater, how much it would have cost to attend, who attended, what it looked like, etc.


Hopkins, K. (1983). Murderous Games: Gladiatorial Contests in Ancient Rome.History Today33(6). Retrieved from

This source discusses Roman entertainment, which was often gladiatorial combat. It also talks about how it was paid for, what was attractive about the sport, and a number of other things.


Trumbull, E. (2007, November 16). Medieval Theatre.NOVA. Educational. Retrieved from

This page looks at medieval theater in the tenth and eleventh centuries. It desribes how they were paid for and who hosted theatrical events.


Minimum Wage and What It Buys You: 1950s to Now. (n.d.).The Fiscal Times. News. Retrieved from

This slideshow discusses the prices of things in the 1950s and compares them to the prices of things today.


Manuel, D. (n.d.). What It Used To Cost. Informative. Retrieved from

This tool has information on what movie tickets, gold, and oil have cost every year since 1910.

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A Free Economy and What It Will Do to Us

Shapiro, C. (2000). Will E-Commerce Erode Liberty? Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from

In this article, Carl Shapiro discusses the effects of the evolution of the internet on the privacy rights of most Americans. Throughout the article, he notes that there is increasing pressure for information to made free of charge to the entirety of cyberspace. He states that because of this, businesses are scrambling to discover fresh business models that will enable them to continue operating while still providing their services to the public. His final analysis has to do with the somewhat popular practice of selling user information to other corporations, which is of course where his underlying question regarding liberty comes from.

Kaser, R. (2000, May). If Information Wants to Be Free . . . Then Who’s Going to Pay for It? D-Lib Magazine, 6(5). Retrieved from

In this article, Kaser examines the current trends of how the internet is affecting information price and distribution. He also examines the underlying cultural trends and attitudes towards freedom of information in our culture.

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Chapters Four and Five

Lessig, Lawrence. (2004). Free culture: How big media uses technology and the law to lock down culture and control creativity. New York, NY: The Penguin Press.

Chapter 4

Throughout chapter four, Lessig discusses how many of our modern media industry leaders have grown out of what were considered pirates in the industry.
The film industry, for instance, came into existance in California because the starting minds of the business wanted to escape the extreme restrictions present in the Eastern part of the US.
The music industry initially did not have any regulations concerning the copying of music using a fonograph in your own home. Congress amended this in 1909, but it set the minimum price that a publisher would pay the writer of the music.


Chapter 5

In this chapter, Lessig makes distinctions between different types of piracy of content that happens on the internet. He determines that there are four basic types of piracy, and that only one of them is strictly harmful.

Lessig then states that, in order for piracy to be properly regulated, there must be distinctions made between the different types. He also says that corporations must realize that piracy can be helpful in promoting awareness of a product. Finally, companies must be able to make more reaslistic assumptions about the income they are losing as a result of piracy.

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Chapter Two: “Mere Copyists”

Lessig, Lawrence. (2004). Free culture: How big media uses technology and the law to lock down culture and control creativity. New York, NY: The Penguin Press.

Lessig starts out the second chapter with a discussion of the invention of photography. In 1839, Louis Daguerre invented what was essentially photography; however, it was extremely expensive and complicated. There was a lot of demand for these “daguerreotypes” and so many people began looking to try and find a way to make the process cheaper. Finally, a man named George Eastman invented the film roll which allowed for film to be transported and developed very cheaply. Suddenly, film was able to take off as a hobby for the laymen. However, there was an argument over whether people should be allowed to capture pictures of whatever they wanted without permission. Lessig implies that, in today’s legal framework, the Supreme Court decision would have fallen so that photographers would have been required to acquire permission of the things they photographed.

The next part of the chapter details how blogging has taken the once high and mighty world of journalism and brought it to the people, so that they might communicate about current events themselves. The people are now able to discuss information and events among themselves, free of the societal shame that follows political discussion. This new communication method allows for true democracy and public forum by allowing people to promote the thoughts and ideas that they find worthy of the public eye.

The final part of the chapter discusses the importance of teaching children to become literate in the grammar of the new media. Lessig interviews John Seely Brown, chief scientist of the Xerox Corporation. Brown says that people learn by tinkering and, by extension, that we should allow people, especially students, to tinker with digital technologies instead of only physical ones.

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