There's a famous question that asks: "If you could choose just three famous people to have dinner with, who would they be?" At the top of my list would be Lawrence Lessig. His biggest influence is on the balance between copyright ownership and culture's requirement for freedom of information. From his writings, he truly seeks a balance, not abolition of ownership. His understanding of musicians like us who depend on copyright, but also require some measure of freedom in order to be able to be creative is very insightful.
Unfortunately, the scales have tipped too far in the ownership side, rather than of a free culture, and the arguments that Lessig makes to restore the balance is truly absorbing. This is best explained in his book, Free Culture. Beatnik Turtle HIGHLY recommends this book, which is available free from his website.
A dinner conversation with someone like Professor Lessig would be fascinating. Certainly, Beatnik Turtle found his ideas to be compelling. We quote him actually multiple times in our Indie Guide. And, in some ways, the File Sharing section was inspired by Lessig's Free Culture book (and OSCon Presenation).
Professor Lessig was good enough to mention us in a blog entry, and for that, we want to tell him, "Thanks!" And also for all of the hard work that he is putting in to restore balance.
For those of you who have wandered over to our website from Mr. Lessig's, welcome! We realize that not all of you are musicians, so the part that you most likely to find interesting is the chapter on File Sharing for Independent Bands, where we assert that File sharing is good for indies and put together a very careful argument about it, starting with how File sharing works in the first place, and moving on to the economics of file sharing for indies (rather than the same, tired economic arguments that are from the point of view of the large labels, who have never been a friend to indie bands, or, arguably, musicians in general.) The file sharing section was inspired by Lessig, but also Eben Moglen of the FSF, Professor Ed Felten, and others that discuss file sharing and DRM in a more balanced manner.
The Survival Guide is--of course!--released under a Creative Commons license, so feel free to share it with anyone you wish!