"This deeply researched book documents the fundamental changes in the ways in which we produce and share ideas, information, and entertainment. Then, drawing widely on the literatures of philosophy, economics, and political theory, it shows why these changes should be welcomed, not resisted. The trends examined, if allowed to continue, will radically alter our lives--and no other scholar describes them so clearly or champions them more effectively than Benkler."--William W. Fisher III, Hale and Dorr Professor of Intellectual Property Law, Harvard University, Director, Berkman Center for Internet and Society --William W. Fisher III
With the radical changes in information production that the Internet has introduced, we stand at an important moment of transition, says Yochai Benkler in this thought-provoking book. The phenomenon he describes as social production is reshaping markets, while at the same time offering new opportunities to enhance individual freedom, cultural diversity, political discourse, and justice. But these results are by no means inevitable: a systematic campaign to protect the entrenched industrial information economy of the last century threatens the promise of today's emerging networked information environment. In this comprehensive social theory of the Internet and networked information economy, Benkler describes how patterns of information, knowledge, and cultural production are changing - and shows that the way information and knowledge are made available can either limit or enlarge the ways people create and express themselves. He describes the range of legal and policy choices that confront us and maintains that there is much to be gained, or lost, by the decisions we make today.