Code: And Other Laws of Cyberspace, Version 2.0by Lawrence Lessig
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.
Harvard Business Review
Philip Y. Blue
-- 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
The New York Times Book Review
- Basic Books
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- Hachette Digital, Inc.
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What People are Saying About This
In Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace, Larry Lessig compellingly demonstrates the central idea of cyberlaw: Software architecture can regulate our lives as much as any legal rule. This is, quite simply, the best book that has been written on the law of cyberspace.
Larry Lessig has taken an acute insight into the nature of law in and around cyberspace and turned it into a sweeping, powerful, and brilliantly lucid argument. For anyone passionate about securing the freedoms of thought and expression the Internet seems to promise, Code is a book full of challenging and galvanizing heresiesónot the least of them being Lessig's central insistence that computer code can be just as much a threat to those freedoms as legislative code. This is not just an interesting point; it demands a rethinking of the social contract as radical as any since the days of Locke. And with wit, rigor, and a graceful accessibility, Lessig here proves himself Locke's worthy heir.
Lawrence Lessig is a James Madison of our time, crafting the lineaments of a well-tempered cyberspace. This book is a primer of "running code" for digital civilization. Like Madison, Lessig is a model of balance, judgement, ingenuity, and persuasive argument.
Graceful, provocative, witty, and unpredictable, Code is a masterpiece that neither lawyers nor Internet mavens can keep for themselves. It is indispensable for anyone who wants to understand the digital age.
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.
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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