Anti-Lessig Reader

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The aim of this page is to build a collection of content that criticizes my work. I've mapped the chapters of Free Culture, but feel free to add any other work you'd like. Also, if there is stuff that adds support, of course that can be added. But please keep it separate from the criticism. My aim is to create a simple source for "the other side of the story."

For other reviews (positive, interesting, fun), please see Lessig Reader.


The monetization criticism

The monetization criticism is not a criticism on any particular position or content, but rather the general accusation that Lessig has no interest in freedom and liberty in the information age. His is interest is rather to make money from ("monetize") the frustrations that people have about copyrights by selling books and giving paid lectures. Lessig adopts strong positions on copyright abuse, but does not seem to care about "an individual's right to use and distribute information they have in their possession as they please in any way that is not fraudulent or coercive."

The cooperationist criticism

Background: The cooperationists were a political movement in the early 1800s that wanted the slave states to just get along with the free states. It had been said they were exploited by the plantation masters to keep opponents of slavery at bay while the plantation masters passed more radical laws (such as punishing people who taught slaves how to read).

The strong implication being, Lessig is 0wned (with a zero) by the copyright cartel. Intentional or not, it would mean that by refusing to want to kill copyrights in total, it just prolongs pain and suffering endured by everyone. The fact that Lessig's "rise" has had no effect of slowing down copyright abuse, which has in fact increased, lends strong credence to the cooperationist argument. In fact, DRM impositions may increase in scope and prevalence precisely because people think it could be used "beneficially" to enforce Lessig's "kinder" licenses.

The communist implementation criticism

Background: The communist implementation philosophy states that if communism were implemented properly — it wouldn't have failed and led to the tens and millions of deaths suffered under Stalin and Lenin nor the estimated 30 million starvation deaths caused by Chinese "land reform". The counter argument being, the very nature of systems that ignore fundamental individual rights, and create false ones are pre-destined to fail and cause great harm no matter how many new and clever ways they are tried.

In this case, the copyright equivalent would be: "copyrights are just implemented wrong". And ... "some kind of right to sue people who don't follow our terms on our creations is absolute". Arguments that sound very close to arguments forwarded by Lessig. Ones that stubbornly refuse to kill copyright in total, but rather always want to "re-implement" it.

Lessig is copyright supporter

From copyright abolitionists perspective, reformers like Lessig start in the right direction, but they inconsistently (and "incorrectly") stop middle-way, or actually support what they claim to be reforming.

Lessig is copyright abolitionist

From the perspective of corporate intellectual property advocates, Lessig is a copyright abolitionist, or anarchist that aims to "destroy incentives for authors". This appears a position held by publishers. [Personal bias: the last phrase is an addition considered necessary by a non-sympathizer of traditional publishing.]