Lessig’s “Free Culture” is Free
Stanford University law professor Lawrence Lessig has just released his new book, Free Culture (2004, Penguin; ISBN:1594200068), and he and the publisher have arranged to make the entire book available for free.
The book is available in many formats, including Adobe’s PDF, ZIP file, and Microsoft’s MS-Reader. The multiple format translation is made available courtesy of Blackmask Online, a publisher of HTML books focusing on mystery and horror using content borrowed from the Gutenberg Project.
Additionally, the book is available in several audio-only versions.
The manufacturing and distribution of the audio-only versions are possible because the book’s copyright is governed by a Creative Commons license. Free Culture‘s license allows people to to copy, distribute, display, and perform the book, as well as make derivative works as long as people give credit to Lessig and do not look to make commercial uses of the work or its derivations.
It will be very interesting to see what, if any, effect Lessig’s approach has on sales of the physical book. The publisher, Penguin, should be commended for allowing Lessig to follow this approach.