The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World (2001) is a book by Lawrence Lessig , at the time of writing a professor of law at Stanford Law School , who is well known as a critic of the extension of the Copyright term in US. [1] It is a continuation of his previous book and other Laws of cyberspace , which is about how computer programs can restrict freedom of ideas in cyberspace .

While copyright helps artists get rewarded for their work, Lessig warns that a copyright regime is too strict and grants copyright for too long a period of time (eg the current US legal climate) can destroy . [2] Lessig and discuss the recent movements by corporate interests to promote and tighter protection of intellectual property in three layers: the layer, the layer and the physical layer.

The code is controlled by computer programs. One instance is Internet censorship in mainland by outward geographical IP addresses . The content layer is notoriously illustrated by Napster , a peer-to-peer file sharing service. Lessig criticizes the reaction of music companies and Hollywood . [3] The physical layer is the one that actually conveys information from one point to another, and can be either wired or wireless. He discusses the regulation of radio spectrum in the United States.

In the end, he stresses the significance of existing works in the public domain in a reasonably short period of time, as the Founding Fathers intended.

On 15 January 2008, Lessig annoncé On His Blog That His publishers Agreed to license the book under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license , and the book in PDF formats can be downloaded freely. [4]


  • US 1st hardcover edition ( Random House ): ISBN 0-375-50578-4
  • US paperback (Vintage books) ISBN 0-375-72644-6
  • On-line version (PDF, free, under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license)


  1. Jump up^ Starr, Sandy (July 2, 2004). “Culture warrior” . Spiked . Retrieved December 15, 2011 .
  2. Jump up^ Gelernter, David (December 12, 2001). “The Computer World, Inside and Out” . Books of the Times . The New York Times . Retrieved December 15, 2011 .
  3. Jump up^ Stalder, Felix (January 8, 2002). “The excess of control” . Telepolis . Retrieved December 15, 2011 .
  4. Jump up^ Lessig, Lawrence. The Future of Ideas is now Free. Last accessed on January 16, 2008.

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