Digital Read-Write-Reuse for the Web Worker

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Being able to reuse and remix others’ online content means opportunities for both creative expression and profit. But once you start down that web working path, you’ll almost certainly confront legal issues around copyright and fair use.

In a TED video made available this month, Stanford law professor and intellectual property expert Larry Lessig offers a passionate plea for common sense concerning reuse and remixing of digital content.

After describing a brief history of property rights, Lessig proposes that we need two changes in our current approach:

  1. Artists and creators should choose that their work be made available more freely, for example, making it reusable for non-commercial use.
  2. Businesses building out the read-write culture need to embrace this opportunity and enable it.

Lessig serves on the board of directors of the Creative Commons effort that provides a framework for item one. Item two might be promoted by features and norms on services allowing social sharing of photos, writing, videos, music, and other digital creations.

On the TED video page, you can read some interesting comments pro and con on what Lessig proposes. Some cheer the read-write culture and expansion of rights around reuse of digital content. Others claim that this will harm people’s ability to profit from their creations. Where do you stand?

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