Remix - Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy

Lawrence Lessig

Published by

The Penguin Press




$17 (paperback) $25.95 (hardback)

Reviewed by

Jude Umeh, FBCS CITP


10 out of 10

RemixIn Remix, Lawrence Lessig lays out possibly the best case for embracing the burgeoning Read/Write (aka Remix) culture that has emerged as a result of the heady mix of ubiquitous digital content, internet technology and the current generation of young people.

He clearly spells out how, instead of criminalising young people, the creative industry lawyers and their rights owner clients should look to try and engage with the youth in redefining both existing and emerging content usage/behaviour patterns in order to maximise and reap the opportunities and benefits they promise.

According to Lessig, this means that they’ll need to

  1. understand the differences between Read Only and Read/Write cultures;
  2. recognise the parallel existence of commercial and sharing economies, and how they can be combined to form exciting hybrid economies with both commercial and sharing elements;
  3. act promptly to address the wide-ranging reforms required in both legal machinery and society-at-large in order to better enable the future, and to cement their place and relevance in it.

The book provides ample case studies and examples of successful online ventures, mostly derived from interviews with their now famous founders, which are representative of the three key economic models (i.e. commercial, sharing and hybrid) that are currently thriving online.

It also highlights some useful nuggets such as the fact that a key characteristic of the more successful ventures relate to how they’re designed to derive core value almost as a by-product of enabling people to do what they want (e.g. search, share content, information or opinions with others). 

Overall, the arguments for embracing Remix culture are well structured and presented in a language that is accessible to all and sundry. This is perhaps not too surprising, given that Lessig is both Professor of Law at Stanford University and co-founder of the Creative Commons.

He is also a respected writer/commentator/critic of the dysfunctional systems of copyright, legal and business machinery, and their impact on the evolving landscape of digital content usage and access at this stage of human cultural evolution.

This book deserves its maximum score of 10, and is highly recommended to everyone with an interest and stake in the future of our online content, economy and culture.

Further Information: The Penguin Press

January 2010