- Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace
The primary idea, as expressed in the title, is the notion that computer code (or "West Coast Code", referring to Silicon Valley) may regulate conduct in much the same way that legal code (or "East Coast Code", referring to Washington, D.C.) does. More generally, Lessig argues that there are actually four major regulators -- Law, Norms, Market, Architecture -- each of which has a profound impact on society and whose implications must be considered.
The book includes a discussion of the implications for copyright law, arguing that cyberspace changes not only the technology of copying but also the power of law to protect against illegal copying (125-127). It goes so far as to argue that code displaces the balance in copyright law and doctrines such as fair use (135). If it becomes possible to license every aspect of use (by means of trusted systems created by code), then no aspect of use would have the protection of fair use (136). The importance of this side of the story is generally underestimated and, as the examples will show, very often, code is even (only) considered as an extra tool to fight against "unlimited copying".
The Future of Ideas is a continuation of this part of the book; where Lessig argues that too much long term copyright protection hampers the creation of new ideas based on existing works, and advocates the importance of existing works entering the public domain quickly.
- US paperback edition: ISBN 0-465-03913-8
- Architectures of Control - looking at the embedding of 'code' in physical products and systems to control users' behavior
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