#1. The Constitution states that copyright terms should be ‘limited.’ Discuss the books view on what is happening to the term ‘limited’?…
A: Since 1923 large companies have been lobbying with Congress to extend their copyright terms…We see several examples of Congress stretching their power to protect the big companies’ interest throughout the book..An example is Mr. Eldred’s fight to be allowed to use Robert Frost’s writings in his free library…The major problem here is, If companies (Goliaths)are paying the big $’s to extend rights, then in return Congress has been granting the extensions ….unconstitutional or just downright greed, which could hamper cultural development.
#2. How would people benefit from a registration requirement?…Something that Lessig mentions..
A: Filmmakers more specifically could benefit the most. We saw an example from the book where one filmmaker, Else, who had to clear several creative works before his use of them in his Documentary on Clint Eastwood…It to the filmmaker 12 months to do this….Utilizing a registration requirement would be most cost & time efficient for all filmmakers, small or large..No small filmmaker can afford to take 12 months to clear footage. This registration requirement could open the door for many / potential filmmakers to create works more timely. It would allow for greater cultural development because a filmmaker could concentrate more on developing documentary / movies then running around to make sure they have covered all copyrighted material.
#3. What was author/writer David Pogue’s view on the Internet and what is Lessing’s reaction to it?
A: Unlike actual law, Internet software has no capacity to punish. It doesn’t affect people who aren’t online (and only a tiny minority of the world population is). And if you don’t like the Internet’s system, you can always flip off the modem….Lessing’s reaction; ” Pogue might have been right in 1999—I’m skeptical, but maybe. But even if he was right then, the point is not right now: Free Culture is about the troubles the Internet causes even after the modem is turned off. It is an argument about how the battles that now rage regarding life on-line have fundamentally affected “people who aren’t online.” There is no switch that will insulate us from the Internet’s effect”.
#4. Describe briefly what Lessig’s main theory of his book, that our tradition is on built on Free…not as in free beer, but free as in free speech, free elections, free trade, free markets, etc….really means, what is he afraid of?
A: Lessig argument in Free Culture, is not just on the concentration of power produced by concentrations in ownership, but more importantly, if because less visibly, on the concentration of power produced by a radical change in the effective scope of the law. The law is changing; that change is altering the way our culture gets made; that change should worry you—whether or not you care about the Internet, and whether you’re on left or on the right.
#5. Who inspired Lessig to write this book, and how does Lessig describe his use of this inspiration?
A: Lessig’s inspiration comes from the work of Richard Stallman and the Free Software Foundation. Lessing does realize that all of the theoretical insights he developed in the book are insights Stallman described decades ago. Lessig then states, “One could thus well argue that this work is “merely” derivative”.
Lessing accepts that criticism, if indeed it is a criticism. He goes on to state, “The work of a lawyer is always derivative, and I mean to do nothing more in this book than to remind a culture about a tradition that has always been its own. Like Stallman, I defend that tradition on the basis of values. Like Stallman, I believe those are the values of freedom. And like Stallman, I believe those are values of our past that will need to be defended in our future. A free culture has been our past, but it will only be our future if we change the path we are on right now”.
#6. What is the importance of Chapter 4 to the book?
A: Chapter 4 states that if piracy means using the creative property of others without their permission—if “if value, then right” is true—then the history of the content industry is a history of piracy. Lessing states that our “big media”, Film, Radio, Cable and Records. Lessig goes on to describe how Film, Radio, Cable and Records were formed form a kind of piracy…the importance is how our culture has developed in the past and how now the law is stifling its grow.
#7. Talk about what happened in the Fall of 2002…the Jesse Jordan story. What was Lessing’s take/
A: Jesse Jordan was a freshman at PolyTech and started tinkering with a search engine that was readily available to him. Jesse’s “tinkering” landed him a lawsuit which gave him a “mafia-like choice”…$250,000 and a chance at winning, or $12,000 and a settlement. Jesse eventually settled with his life savings, the $12,000. Lessig’s take; Let’s put the law aside for a moment and think about the morality. Where is the morality in a lawsuit like this? What is the virtue in scapegoatism? The RIAA is an extraordinarily powerful lobby. The president of the RIAA is reported to make more than $1 million a year. Artists, on the other hand, are not well paid. The average recording artist makes $45,900.  There are plenty of ways for the RIAA to affect and direct policy. So where is the morality in taking money from a student for running a search engine?
#8. What is the Statue of Annes, when was it established?
A: The Statute of Anne was an act that stated, that all published works would get a copyright term of fourteen years, renewable once if the author was alive, and that all works already published by 1710 would get a single term of twenty-one additional years.
#9. Building off question #7, what is its significance to Romeo & Juliet, English copyright law?
A: In 1774, almost 180 years after Romeo and Juliet was written, the “copy-right” for the work was still thought by many to be the exclusive right of a single London publisher, Jacob Tonson.  Tonson was the most prominent of a small group of publishers called the Conger  who controlled bookselling…The Conger claimed a perpetual right to control the “copy” of books that they had acquired from authors. That perpetual right meant that no one else could publish copies of a book to which they held the copyright. The significance of this is , Under this Statute, Romeo and Juliet should have been free in 1731. So why was there any issue about it still being under Tonson’s control in 1774?
The reason is that the English hadn’t yet agreed on what a copyright was. At the time the English passed the Statute of Anne, there was no other legislation governing copyrights. The last law regulating publishers, the Licensing Act of 1662, had expired in 1695. That law gave publishers a monopoly over publishing, as a way to make it easier for the Crown to control what was published. But after it expired, there was no positive law that said that the publishers had an exclusive right to print books.
#10. What large issue was Britain’s Parliament faced with in 1710?
A: The issue was how best to limit the monopoly power of publishers.
#11. What was the Parliament’s strategy?
A: The strategy was to offer a term for existing works that was long enough to buy peace in 1710, but short enough to assure that culture would pass into competition within a reasonable period of time. Within twenty-one years, Parliament believed, Britain would mature from the controlled culture that the Crown coveted to the free culture that we inherited.
#12. During the Donaldson vs. Beckett case, what was the decision of the Parliaments, “law of lords”?
A: By a two-to-one majority (22 to 11) they voted to reject the idea of perpetual copyrights. Whatever one understands of the common law, now a copyright was fixed for a limited time, after which the work protected by copyright passed into the public domain.
#13. When was the term “public domain” established, what did it mean for the great works of the time?
A: It was established in 1774 and for the first time in Anglo- American history, the legal control over creative works expired, and the greatest works in English history— including those of Shakespeare, Bacon, Milton, Johnson, and Bunyan—were free of legal restraint.
#14. In Chapter 8, Transformers. Lessing mentions Camp Chaos, what is it and what is his solution to it?
A: Camp Chaos is a site in Sweden that takes images of politicians and blends them with music to create “biting’ political commentary. These works are technically illegal…Lessig’s solution is this, “Let’s alter the mix of rights so that people are free to build upon our culture. Free to add or mix as they see fit”. Lessing goes on the state that we could even make this change without necessarily requiring that the “free” use be free as in “free beer.” Instead, the system could simply make it easy for follow-on creators to compensate artists without requiring an army of lawyers to come along: a rule, for example, that says “the royalty owed the copyright owner of an unregistered work for the derivative reuse of his work will be a flat 1 percent of net revenues, to be held in escrow for the copyright owner.” Under this rule, the copyright owner could benefit from some royalty, but he would not have the benefit of a full property right (meaning the right to name his own price) unless he registers the work.
#15. What is film-sampling and what actor was defined by this?
A: Film Sampling is an exciting way to put an original spin on existing films and allow audiences to see old movies in a new light. The actor that this relates to is Mike Myers.
#16. What important develop took place in San Francisco in April of 1996?
A: In April 1996, “the Way Back Machine” created millions of “bots”—computer codes designed to “spider,” or automatically search the Internet and copy content. Page by page, these bots copied Internet-based information onto a small set of computers located in a basement in San Francisco’s Presidio. Once the bots finished the whole of the Internet, they started again. Over and over again, once every two months, these bits of code took copies of the Internet and stored them. Thus the creation of the Internet Archive, in which, you could enter a Web page, and see all of its copies going back to 1996, as well as when those pages changed.
#17. Who is the founder of the Internet Archive and what is the motive behind the idea?
A: Brewster Kahle is the founder of the Internet Archive which would be a place to access past television and film events. He wanted to more importantly establish a place where he could archive human knowledge. Kahle wants to enable free access to this content, but he also wants to enable others to sell access to it. His aim is to ensure competition in access to this important part of our culture.
#18. Who is Jack Valenti and what is his influence on American Culture?
A: Jack Valenti has been the president of the Motion Picture Association of America since 1966. In his almost forty years of running the MPAA, Valenti has established himself as perhaps the most prominent and effective lobbyist in Washington. The organization represents not only filmmakers but producers and distributors of entertainment for television, video, and cable. In defending artistic liberty and the freedom of speech that our culture depends upon, Jack and the MPAA has done important good. In crafting the MPAA rating system, it has probably avoided a great deal of speech-regulating harm. But there is an aspect to the organization’s mission that is both the most radical and the most important. This is the organization’s effort, epitomized in Valenti’s every act, to redefine the meaning of “creative property.”
#19. In 1982, what was Jack Valenti’s testimony to Congress about?
A: “Creative property owners must be accorded the same rights and protections resident in all other property owners in the nation.” There are no second-class citizens.
#20. What is stated in our Constitution in Article I, Section 8, Clause 8?
A: “Congress has the power to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.
#21. From what we now know from question 19, what has happened since 1962 , then in ’72 until the present?
A: Congress started a practice that has defined copyright law since….Eleven times in the last forty years, Congress has extended the terms of existing copyrights; twice in those forty years, Congress extended the term of future copyrights…and in 1976 Congress extended all existing copyrights by another nineteen years…. from there, all works created after 1978, there was only one copyright term—the maximum term….Then, in 1992, Congress abandoned the renewal requirement for all works created before 1978… All works still under copyright would be accorded the maximum term then available, that term was ninety-five years.
#22. Looking at questions 19 & 20 what does the book say has happened?
A: “The law created an astonishing power within a free culture—at least, it’s astonishing when you understand that the law applies not just to the commercial publisher but to anyone with a computer”. It is unclear whether it is even possible to put works into the public domain. The public domain is orphaned by these changes in copyright law. Despite the requirement that terms be “limited,” we have no evidence that anything will limit them.
#23. Explain the famous story between the Marx and Warner Brothers?
A: The Marx’s intended to make a parody of Casablanca. Warner Brothers objected. They wrote a nasty letter to the Marx’s, warning them that there would be serious legal consequences if they went forward with their plan. This led the Marx Brothers to respond in kind. They warned Warner Brothers that the Marx Brothers “were brothers long before you were.” The Marx Brothers therefore owned the word brothers, and if Warner Brothers insisted on trying to control Casablanca, then the Marx Brothers would insist on control over /brothers. But ultimately they both knew that no court would ever enforce such a silly claim.
#24. What is Chimera and how does the author intertwine its meaning to the book?
A: Chimera is a single creature with two sets of DNA. The relation to the book is revealed through the copyright wars…Lessing’s example is P2P sharing. One side says, “File sharing is just like two kids taping each others’ records…while the other side says “File sharing is just like walking into a Tower Records and taking a CD off the shelf and walking out with it.
#25. What is your favorite analogy/example Lessig tells?
A: My favorite would have to be this; So here’s the picture: You’re standing at the side of the road. Your car is on fire. You are angry and upset because in part you helped start the fire. Now you don’t know how to put it out. Next to you is a bucket, filled with gasoline. Obviously, gasoline won’t put the fire out. As you ponder the mess, someone else comes along. In a panic, she grabs the bucket. Before you have a chance to tell her to stop—or before she understands just why she should stop—the bucket is in the air. The gasoline is about to hit the blazing car. And the fire that gasoline will ignite is about to ignite everything around. A war about copyright rages all around—and we’re all focusing on the wrong thing. No doubt, current technologies threaten existing businesses. No doubt they may threaten artists. But technologies change. The industry and technologists have plenty of ways to use technology to protect themselves against the current threats of the Internet. This is a fire that if let alone would burn itself out.