Lessig's Free (as in download) Culture

Amazon.Com is offering a free PDF download of Lawrence Lessig's new book, Free Culture, for a short time.

Because the book criticizes corporate efforts to lengthen copyright terms, I was curious to see the book's copyright declaration. The PDF edition can be distributed and reused non-commercially under a Creative Commons license, but there's no language to put the book into the public domain earlier than the extended term Lessig fought against in the Eldred case.

I'm surprised the book does not use the Founders' Copyright -- 14 years with an option for another 14 -- as O'Reilly has done for hundreds of its books.

The boilerplate language of the book's copyright warning also seems a bit ironic, given Lessig's position:

Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author's rights is appreciated.

If the direct link stops working, the download offer also can be found on Amazon's Non-Fiction home page.


"Some have worried over the apparently conflicting text between the CC license and the copyright notice in the book. Please don’t. We simply took the pdf of the book and wrapped it in a CC license. Indeed, a CC license is embedded in the PDF as well. That license is the writing that supersedes the licensing text.


I know that only covers part of the copyright conundrum. Ask Lessig, I'm sure he will tell you why.

Thanks for the link. I poked around his weblog a bit looking for some kind of explanation.

I'm not knocking Lessig here as much as I'm wondering why he didn't go with Founders' Copyright or some other manner of freeing the book earlier than its life + 70 year term. It seems like an odd decision for one of our most public domain-minded advocates.

I suspect he'll release it under Foudners eventually:

The book is also available elsewhere as a free PDF (http://www.free-culture.org/freecontent/) and in other formats (http://free-culture.org/remixes/).

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