Code: Version 2.0 / Edition 2

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There’s a common belief that cyberspace cannot be regulated-that it is, in its very essence, immune from the government’s (or anyone else’s) control. Code, first published in 2000, argues that this belief is wrong. It is not in the nature of cyberspace to be unregulable; cyberspace has no “nature.” It only has code-the software and hardware that make cyberspace what it is. That code can create a place of freedom-as the original architecture of the Net did-or a place of oppressive control. Under the influence of commerce, cyberspace is becoming a highly regulable space, where behavior is much more tightly controlled than in real space. But that’s not inevitable either. We can-we must-choose what kind of cyberspace we want and what freedoms we will guarantee. These choices are all about architecture: about what kind of code will govern cyberspace, and who will control it. In this realm, code is the most significant form of law, and it is up to lawyers, policymakers, and especially citizens to decide what values that code embodies. Since its original publication, this seminal book has earned the status of a minor classic. This second edition, or Version 2.0, has been prepared through the author’s wiki, a web site that allows readers to edit the text, making this the first reader-edited revision of a popular book.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig argues that cyberspace is not inherently a libertarian's dream come true. The architecture underlying cyberspace determines its character. If and when that architecture is changed, cyberspace can become highly regulated. Already issues of privacy and tracking are of major concern. Lessig explains how cyberspace is evolving. A must-read for those interested in the laws surrounding cyberspace, as well as concerned private citizens.
Carl Shapiro
Code and Other Laws of CyberspaceLawrence Lessig makes the case that important gains in liberty promoted by the Internet, such as freedom of speech, are now at risk. Code is both mind expanding and entertaining.
Harvard Business Review
Michael Himowitz
[T]his brilliant, scholarly but eminently readable examination of the laws, rules and customs that govern the Internet should be required reading for anyone who spends more than a few minutes a week online.
Baltimore Sun
Library Journal
Code, Lessig's seminal examination of the interrelationships among the Internet, privacy, and intellectual property, was published in 2000. It invigorated scholars of constitutional law with a fresh perspective on the nature, level, and extent of technology's reach into the realm of jurisprudence. Now this work has been collaboratively revised: Lessig (founder, Ctr. for the Internet & Society, Stanford Univ. Law Sch.; The Future of Ideas) and his readers call the shots alongside one another, with readers editing the original text via the author's wiki. The thesis of 2.0remains essentially the same: the Internet's infrastructure will become increasingly controlled and regulable through digital identity technologies, enabling a partnership between government and commerce that will shape the characteristics and determine the boundaries of cyberspace in a manner favorable to these two powerful forces of social order. Drawing upon and expanding the works of first-generation cyberspace theorists, Lessig foresees an extension of control and regulation that cybernauts of the 1990s would have found Orwellian. He also delineates the legal and ethical values inherent within three major categories increasingly under assault by the nontraditional vagaries of cyberspace: privacy protection, free speech, and intellectual property rights. His solution here is the creation of a creative or intellectual Commons, a resource that anyone within a relevant community can use without seeking the permission of anyone else. Highly recommended for academic libraries and legal collections.
—Philip Y. Blue
Basic Books
"Lessig's exposition reads like a Stanley Kubrick film, with the menace made palpable by new technologies…It is a troubling book, and one that needs to be taken seriously."
-- Daniel Bell, author of The Coming of Post-Industrial Society

"This may be the most important book ever published about the Internet, as well as one of the most readable. Lessig's ideas are deep and insightful, and they will shape the way the future develops. He is a master at seeing the important ideas lurking behind things we all take for granted."
--Mark A. Lemley, Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkley

"Lessig's book is an astonishing achievement. The nation's leading scholar of cyberspace has produced a paradigm-shifting work that will transform the debate about the architecture of cyberspace. Lessig challenges us to make choices about freedom, privacy, intellectual property, and technology that most of us didn't recognize as choices in the first place."
--Jeffrey Rosen, Legal Affairs Editor, The New Republic

David Pogue
In Code, the Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig, freshly famous from his role as friend of the court in the Microsoft antitrust suit, makes an alarming and impassioned claim: that the Internet will indeed soon be regulated. ''Left to itself,'' he says, ''cyberspace will become a perfect tool of control'' -- not by the government, which he characterizes as clueless and inadequate, but by software programmers. In a book that's sometimes as brilliant as the best teacher you ever had, sometimes as pretentious as a deconstructionists' conference, Lessig plays digital Cassandra: he predicts that the Internet will become a monster that tracks our every move, but that nobody will heed his warning.
The New York Times Book Review
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465039142
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 1/28/2007
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 687,661
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Lawrence Lessig is a professor at Stanford Law School and founder of the school’s Center for the Internet and Society. After clerking for Judge Richard Posner on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and for Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court, he served on the faculties of the University of Chicago, Yale Law School, and Harvard Law School before moving to Stanford. He represented the web site developer Eric Eldred before the Supreme Court in Ashcroft v. Eldred, a landmark case challenging the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act. His other books are Free Culture and The Future of Ideas. Lessig also chairs the Creative Commons project and serves on the board of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. In 2002 he was named one of Scientific American’s Top 50 Visionaries. He lives in Palo Alto, California.

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Table of Contents

Preface ix
Part 1 Regulability
Chapter 1 Code Is Law 3
Chapter 2 Four Puzzles from Cyberspace 9
Chapter 3 Is-Ism 24
Chapter 4 Architectures of Control 30
Chapter 5 Regulating Code 43
Part 2 Code and Other Regulators
Chapter 6 Cyberspaces 63
Chapter 7 What Things Regulate 85
Chapter 8 The Limits in Open Code 100
Part 3 Applications
Chapter 9 Translation 111
Chapter 10 Intellectual Property 122
Chapter 11 Privacy 142
Chapter 12 Free Speech 164
Chapter 13 Interlude 186
Chapter 14 Sovereignty 188
Part 4 Responses
Chapter 15 The Problems We Face 213
Chapter 16 Responses 222
Chapter 17 What Declan Doesn't Get 231
Appendix 235
Notes 241
Index 289
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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2008

    Understanding Internet regulation

    Before Larry Lessig began teaching a course on ¿cyberlaw¿ in the 1990s, few people knew this awkward term for ¿regulation of the Internet.¿ But Lessig, now a professor at Stanford Law School, has always kept close to the bleeding edge of technology. He started programming in high school and later helped the U.S. Supreme Court go digital. Even this book¿s development shows the author¿s geek //bona fides:// He revised it using a ¿wiki,¿ a software platform that allows multiple users to edit the text simultaneously via the Web. While the book¿s details have changed a bit since the first edition, Lessig¿s main point is the same. Because of its design, the Internet is perhaps the most ¿regulable¿ entity imaginable and, unless its users are careful, it will morph into something that diminishes, rather than enhances, liberty. Moreover, trying to keep the Internet ¿unregulated¿ is folly. While this book is sometimes bloated and repetitive, we find that it is still required reading for anyone who cares about the social impact of the most important technology since electrification.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2011

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