- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Basic Books; 2nd Revised ed. edition (December 5, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0465039146
- ISBN-13: 978-0465039142
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 61 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #433,680 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Code: And Other Laws of Cyberspace, Version 2.0 2nd Revised ed. Edition
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"[Lessig] is fast emerging as the nation's most original thinker in the new field of cyberspace."
"In this remarkably clear and elegantly written book, [Lessig] takes apart many myths about cyberspace and analyzes its underlying architecture."
"A remarkable work on the philosophy of this new medium, his latest book asks all the big questions about the role of government, commerce and the invisible hand of technology in shaping life as it is increasingly lived online."
"A book that's sometimes as brilliant as the best teacher you ever had, sometimes as pretentious as a deconstructionists' conference."
The "alarming and impassioned" book on how the Internet is redefining constitutional law, now reissued as the first popular book revised online by its readers.
"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." -- Stewart Brand
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But Lessig's words are much more poetic:
"We build liberty...by setting society upon a certain constitution...an architecture...that structures and constrains social and legal power, to the end of protecting fundamental values - principles and ideals that reach beyond the compromises of ordinary politics.... There is no reason to believe that the grounding for liberty in cyberspace will simply emerge."
He examines how the relationships of the technology, which he also refers to as 'architecture' or 'code', along with social norms, markets and laws regulate people's behavior and explains how each of these limit individuals' actions. These forces work directly or in combinations where improvements in technology can dramatically alter the constraints on people's conduct. The competition for control continues today under the banner of 'network neutrality' where Congress is being asked by business to decide about who will control the Internet. Network neutrality would return to communications law and regulation the concept of non-discrimination that was always, until recently, part of communications law since the original 1934 Communications Act [and was partially repealed for high speed services]. Not only does big business wants to control the Internet, with recent interpretations of net neutrality they are trying to improve their grip on copyright issues and control who is allowed to innovate in this country. In some cases they have already hijacked the legal system and are misusing our enforcement systems to control dissent.
Historically, AT&T was the telecommunications industry of this country and the 'Big Three' networks controlled the airways until new technologies and innovative regulatory policies broke the hold that these corporations had held onto for so long. Markets, services and competition grew exponentially and the new giants have struggled fiercely since to regain that power that the Bell System once held. With SBC's purchase of what used to be AT&T Longlines, the cycle has come full circle. As Lessig pointed out, the obvious point that many might miss is that when government steps aside, it's not as if private entities have no interests or have no agendas that they pursue. We can't leave the market to regulate the Internet of the future. Our constitutional values check and limit what the markets do also. If you think that no government involvement is the more appropriate path to take, consider Lessig's warning:
"Unless we interrogate the architecture of cyberspace as we interrogate the code of Congress, the relevance of our constitutional tradition will fade and the importance of our commitment to our fundamental values ... will also fade."
Lessig's seminal work will continue to provide the foundation for the evolution of cyberspace law for years to come. My original summary of this book can be found on his website.
Bob Magnant is the author of The Last Transition... - the ultimate Internet adventure, a fact-based novel.
Lessig doesn't advocate this change -- he argues that it is happening and can't be stopped -- but he is concerned about its impact on intellectual propery, privacy, free speech, and effectiveness of local government. There are several different ways the new system might treat each of these areas, but some of those are much less attractive than others, and he argues that we must be actively involved -- now -- if we are to have any influence on which way things go.
Lessig further argues that government is not the only agency that can take people's liberty away. Technology, cultural norms, and the market are all capable of doing this too, and he is especially concerned that allowing the ultimate structure of cyberspace to be dictated by commercial entities may result in a world with much less freedom than most of us would care to imagine -- and that neither our courts nor our legislatures as currently constituted is prepared to influence the outcome in a major way. To prevent that, we, the people, need to be actively involved in building the new cybernetic world -- in a way we haven't been since the US Constitution was drafted.
More of law book that a technical one, Lessig is nevertheless thoroughly readable, and his many illustrations with stories both in and out of cyberspace make it entertaining throughout.
This is a very important book.
One of the fascinating things about the book, that was recently written, is that the future problems the book foresees are already passe. Internet privacy is now an illusion. Any email or message in cyberspase can appear the next day on the front page of the New York Times. Lessig would like to control the misuse of cyberspace, but his suggestions are merely theoretical and because of the chaotic state of conflicting tribes and governments, these methods have no teeth. As is so often the case, it may take a catastrophe, like breaking the code oCode: And Other Laws of Cyberspace, Version 2.0f an encrypted lethal message between nations, to generate international regulation of cyberspace.
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Code 2.0 by Lawrence Lessig focuses on cyberspace’s evolution and how the four major themes of “Regulability”, Regulation by code, Latent Ambiguity and...Read more