From Consumer to Creator - The Lego Generation in the Digital Age

Speaker: Nikolaj Hald Nielsen

In recent years technical advances, the Internet not least of which, has started to allow ordinary people to contribute to our shared culture in ways that have previously been impossible or very difficult. The Internet provides an easy and cheap means of distribution that makes it possible for people to reach a wide audience without needing the backing of a large commercial entity. We see the results of this on sites like youtube, on blogs and in music self produced and released by independent artists. We are even starting to see community produced full length feature films. What is also becoming clear, is that technical advances alone are not enough to drive this wave of creativity. Nearly all culture builds on the works of others which are then remixed, referenced and added upon to create something new. With so much of our shared culture locked up behind long term copyright restrictions, this becomes a real limitation to the potential of independently created culture. In this talk I will try to explore some of the significant changes happening to our shared culture and the ways in which our culture grows, where this desire to create comes from and how the Free Culture movement is critical to this cultural change. The talk is based on an essay by the same title I wrote for the "Free Beer" book available as a free Creative Commons licensed download from:

Nikolaj Hald Nielsen

Nikolaj Hald Nielsen is an independent software developer currently freelancing for the Creative Commons record label, Magnatune also sponsors part of his work on the popular Free Software music player and manager Amarok (, where he has been one of the core contributors since 2006. Additionally Nikolaj is a frequent speaker at Free software and Free Culture conferences, both in his native Denmark and in the rest of Europe.