Lawrence Lessig, a law professor at Stanford, has made a big name for himself by developing a sustained critique of how Congress, at the behest of corporate America, has progressively stifled cultural and scientific innovation by extending the duration and scope of copyright laws. Out of this critique, Lessig founded Creative Commons, a non-profit which issues copyright licenses that allow authors and innovators to retain some control over their works yet “dedicate [them] to the public domain” where they will contribute to the flourishing of new culture. And, even better, Lessig has published some of his own important works under these licenses, including Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity. What this means is that you can freely access the book in a variety of different formats (click here to pick), even an audio book version. This makes it utterly easy to find out what Lessig’s groundbreaking arguments are all about. It gets his thinking out there, into the commons, and vigorously shapes the debate on copyright law. It brings about a free flow of ideas, the very thing that Lessig cares most about.
Finally, you may also want to check out the recent work published by Lessig’s peer at Yale, Yochai Benkler: The Wealth of Networks. Though released in hardcover, it is also freely available in wiki and PDF formats.