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Lawrence Lessig is a top-notch lawyer with a calm wit and a big heart. I'm sure that there are other books that could succinctly teach someone interested in copyright history about the major arguments and legal traditions from Anglo-Saxon tradition to Eldred v. Ashcroft. The first 3/4 of the book is mostly argumentative: setting up the case for why free culture is important and demonstrating the historical shift from a free culture in America to a permission culture. The last quarter deals with the Eldred case and Lessig's close involvement with it, providing most of the original material for this book. I thoroughly enjoyed the storytelling in this part. As much as Lessig is careful to avoid legalese throughout the work it is here that we finally see Lessig as a narrator and not a lecturer (paradoxically these passages highlight Lessig himself as a lawyer). If you find yourself bogged down or uninspired by the historical lecture just skip ahead to the description of the Eldred case (although when reading the Afterword be aware that Lessig alludes to arguments and anecdotes presented earlier in the book).