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Code: And Other Laws of Cyberspace, Version 2.0
     

Code: And Other Laws of Cyberspace, Version 2.0

by Lawrence Lessig
 

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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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

bn.com
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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786721962
Publisher:
Basic Books
Publication date:
07/31/2008
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
432
File size:
755 KB

What People are Saying About This

Jack M. Balkin
Jack M. Balkin, Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment, Director, the Information Society Project at Yale Law School

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.

Julie E. Cohen
Lawrence Lessig exposes the limits of prevailing views about how cyberspace is (and is not) regulated, and makes a compelling case for the urgency of learning to transcend those limits. Code is essential reading for those who care about the future of cyberspace, and of the human society within which "cyberspace" plays an increasingly central role.
Mark A. Lemley
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.
Julian Dibbell
From the Author of My Tiny Life: Crime and Passion in a Virtual World

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.

Stewart Brand
From the Author of The Media Lab and The Clock of the Long Now

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.

Charles Fried
This fascinating and provocative book is a fine introduction to the brave new world of the Internet, to the novel issues it raises, and to the old issues it poses in a new light.
Andrew L. Shapiro
From the Author of The Control Revolution

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.

Jeffrey Rosen
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. This dark, exhilarating work is the most important book of its generation about the relationship between law, cyberspace, and social organization.
Daniel Bell
From the Author of The Coming of Post-Industrial Society

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.

Bruce Ackerman
Code penetrates the cyberfluff to reveal the deep structure of our brave new world.
William. J. Mitchell
Lawrence Lessig takes seriously the proposition that, in cyberspace, code is the law, and he traces out the consequences in a lucid and insightful way. If you want to know what daily life will be like in the computer-mediated twenty-first century, this is essential reading.

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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