Lessing on the Read/Write web

Richard MacManus at the Read/Write Web linked to this brilliant piece by Lawrence Lessig, author of Free Culture and law professor at Stanford, about the threat of the “Read-Only” web vs. the “Read/Write” web. This is something I discuss at great length in my Social Software for Social Change wiki — corporate interests that wish to dominate the web will do so at the cost of the free, open culture that the Internet has allowed to flourish. Lessig says that businesses like Apple, a constant target of my annoyance, are promoting a version of the web in which it’s amazingly easy to pay for something with a single click, but once you do, you have no right to do anything with it except consume it — the Read-Only web. This is a huge departure from the way culture organically develops — culture has always been about recycling and improving upon what came before. And the Internet allows this to happen in an amazingly fast and exciting way. We can interact with things and change them to make our own mash-ups and create communities around ideas and cultural artifacts (the Read/Write web). Some would like to think that Apple is part of this revolutionary aspect of the web. I don’t think they are; I think they’re out to make a profit, and unfortunately, as Lessig explains, the Read/Write web isn’t about profit-making.

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