Both the reading from Lessig’s book and “Rip” touch on similar ideas regarding copyright and creativity; Lessig seems to offer a rather more moderate and balanced look at the current issues, but “Rip” makes some good points as well.
The main similarity between the two that I noticed was the how the issue of control affects creativity and industry. One of the four “rules” that Rip lays out is that “To build free societies we need to limit the control of the past” (or something close). Basically they are saying that the old way of doing things is stifling creativity by holding its control too tightly. Lessig also discusses the limitation of control in his discussion of hybrid economies. While talking about what have encouraged various open source software, Lessig mentions that Red Hat was able to succeed because it offered customers total access to the code, this gives the customer control over how they will use the product and encourages them to invest time and money into it (p. 181). Lessig also mentions the Wikia websites, Wikia Inc. hosts the sites and profits from the ads on them, but the users are free to alter the content and even to copy it to another site if they so chose (p. 205), again by freely giving up control of the “product” the business encourages user creativity and is able to prosper financially.
Taking this idea further also points out another connection between the film and the reading; the idea that the new creativities that technology has created cannot be stopped but can only “be driven underground.” Rip shows this in a number of ways from the amusing old coot who “stole that mouse fair and square” to mentioning that Brazil broke medical patents in order to provide AIDS medications to its citizens. The idea crops up in reading when Lessig discusses how hybrid economies can help “decriminalize youth” and in the story of the Harry Potter fansites. Teenage Heather Lawver was able to humble Warner after they decided to try and police Harry Potter themed fan creations. Through networking and boycott (and possibly because being mean to kids makes you look like a jerk), Lawver and others were able to stake their claim on the culture that they consumed and the creativity that came out of it (p. 206-210).
This brings me to the final connection which is the opportunities that can be found for both RW and RO culture in a hybrid economy. In the film we can see this most easily by looking at what opportunities were lost by trying to keep strict control over intellectual property. Gregg Gillis, the musician behind Girl Talk comments on how in his day job as a biomedical engineer (right?) there are many pathways for medical research that are effectively blocked because some company or other has a copyright in place. We can also consider how the pharmaceutical companies might have benefited if they had been more flexible and been able to figure out a profit rather than having the Brazilian government simply cut them out entirely. On a more positive not when Radiohead allowed fans to set a price to buy and remix their music they made a profit (and probably had fewer pirated copies floating around) and encouraged creativity. In the reading Lessig provides numerous examples of how hybrid companies are already able to support both profit and creativity. If we look at the Harry Potter sites again we can see how not only are the fans able to express themselves creatively, but their fervor spreads interest in the original franchise. Companies like Wikia and Red Hat prosper because they allow the user creative freedom.