Free debate

Free debate

: After Lawrence Lessig put his new book up for free under the Creative Commons license, Akma came up with the great idea to have folks volunteer to read it as a permitted derivative work.

As I was reading the book via PDF on the flight yesterday, I got another idea for a derivative work:

Take a book and annotate it with contrary evidence and arguments and questions.

Call it the fisking edition.

Mind you, I’m not saying that because I’m going after Lessig or have any intention of doing that edition — he’s too damned smart and too good at arguing his ideas and, as I’ve said before, I’m too smart to find myself on the losing end of a debate with him even if I do disagree with him. Fisking is just an easy way to describe what I mean.

Or maybe I should call it the Talmudic editions.

I’d love to see someone who does know what he or she is talking about dive into the book and give me either more facts to help me make up my mind or more facts to help me make my arguments. I’d love to hear two sides.

I’d love to see Tim Blair create the annotated edition of any Michael Moore book. Or Matthew Yglesias create a civilized response to the rantings of Ann Coulter. Those would be pure entertainment. I wouldn’t mind taking on the blatherings of What books would you take on?

And once we take on these books, the authors can create their next derivative works, replying. And, I know, I’m creating a ringing endorsement of Creative Commons with this. But wouldn’t it be great to take a book and break it open at the spine for some back-and-forth?

Why not turn a book into a conversation?

: UPDATE: Inspired by this post and Ernie Miller‘s, Aaron Swartz has put the entire book into a wiki. Also way cool.

My suggestion was that people annotate the book.

A wiki also allows people to edit the book. Hmmmm. Not sure what Lessig would think of that. Not sure what I would think if I could no longer tell what came from him and what came from his debaters.