What a pile of drivel. No matter how many business models the record industry and hollywood create, no matter how many ways they distribute their products, no matter how many opportunities are created for you to publish and create your own work - free is always going to be preferred. Free always crowds out for-pay. Lessig's book is an elaborate hoax - a pseudo-philosophical, rambling series of half truths and rationalizations for why creators of so-called "technology" (i.e. computer programmers) should have the right to build industries and businesses using the decades of investment by so-called "creatives" such as composers, songwriters and filmakers, without paying them for the privilege. Why should the work of creative people be free because you figured out how to steal it? Why is it MY work that won't be paid for? What intellectual BS. The music industry has created what is without question the greatest and most successful consumer product in the history of commerce which enjoys worldwide acclaim and success and releases thousands of records every year in every conceivable genre and at every conceivable price point. But free is better!!!! So let's kill them dang record companies!
Compulsory royalties is garbage. I've asked every computer programmer I know if they would work knowing their only compensation was to submit a claim to a tribunal once a year and wait three years to see what piece of the royalty pool was theirs. They all just laughed and said, "what, are you kidding? That's what we want YOU to do!" But somehow Lessig thinks musicians, authors and filmakers will be happy to spend tens of millions creating their products, allowing them to be endlessly copied and distributed over the internet and then earn their living by filing annual claims with a royalty tribunal. And all those companies that claim a compulsory license - like they're all going to just line up and pay on time and account fairly to something over fifty thousand creators? They don't do it now and they have the threat of major corporations going against them - you think they're going to do it for me? You think Fox is going to put up $150mm to make Spiderman 2 hoping the royalty tribunal will give them back their investment - why doesn't Microsoft make its product public domain instead. This is one of those ideas that sounds so logical and sensible that it seems no-brainer until someone tells you that its YOUR job that is going to be paid this way instead of mine.
You say they "don't get it" - so we should steal your stuff! "You didn't react fast enough!" - so we should be able to steal your stuff! "Your services are poor substitutes for Napster" - so we should steal your stuff! "There aren't enough songs on your service" - so we should steal your stuff! "I want to copy them on more devices" - so we should steal your stuff! "You make too much money" - so we should steal your stuff! "You screw the artists (buying that hoakum lock stock and PR machine)" - so we should steal your stuff.
So an industry that employs millions of people and has created one of the greatest cultural and business models the world has ever known is now subjected to death by techno-babble. Why? For no better reason than THEY CAN! Free music is just sampling and actually grows record sales - my God you would believe there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and Sadaam Hussein ordered the planes into New York. 35% drop in unit sales, over 500 bands released by their labels, thousands of layoffs and now the companies are giving up and merging what's left.
Congratulations idiots - but I guess it doesn't matter because it wasn't YOUR job downsized due to internet theft and Lessig's convenient arguments to justify theft.
Lessig says the old tries to control the new - I say the new wants a free lunch and should step up and earn their way just like everyone else before them.
Don't buy into this twaddle - it's only about one thing - the tech industry doesn't want to pay for the products it is exploiting. It's really that simple.
The rest of the book - all the scarry stuff - is just Lessig's fertile imagination watered by half a dozen or so anecdotes which he wants you to believe are just indicative of a huge wellspring of insane corporate behavior - but there is no fountain of litigation, there is no big brother, there is no corporation shooting itself in the foot by chasing stupid minor infractions because of a bizarre adherence to micro-managing copyright enforcement. Post Bart Simpson and Fox could sue you - but how many have they sued? Probably none, or one or two at most who probably tried to sell cartoons illegally. Last I checked every third web site was about The Matrix - zero lawsuits. Name any suits over this issue? Anyone? Anyone? Still looking.......
Technology moves fast - so we should be able to steal. Technology is cooler than writing songs - so we should be able to steal. Technology will defeat your efforts to earn a living - so we should be able to steal and you should find a new job.
And somehow, somewhere the mysterious fairy of goodwill and generosity is going to magically compensate songwriters, authors, composers, performers, the grips on the set, the musicians on the session, the printers, booksellers, video stores and theater ushers. Why? Because in the land of Silicon make-believe they can simulate logic and make you believe it just like they made you buy a Windows operating system.