Code: And Other Laws of Cyberspace

By Lawrence Lessig | Go to book overview

THREE
is - i s m

The rise of an electronic medium that disregards geographical boundaries throws the law into disarray by creating entirely new phenomena that need to become the subject of clear legal rules but that cannot be governed, satisfactorily, by any current territorially based sovereign.

David Johnson and David Post, "Law and Borders—The Rise of Law in
Cyberspace," Stanford Law Review 48 (1996): 1367, 1375

Some things never change about governing the Web. Most prominent is its innate ability to resist governance in almost any form.

Tom Steinert-Threlkeld, "Of Governance and Technology,"
Inter@ctive WeekOnline, October 2, 1998

THERE'S A MEME ABOUT CYBERSPACE THAT MARKS NATIVES FROM ITS FIRST GENERAtions—an idea that defines first-generation thought about the place. Cyberspace, it is said, cannot be regulated. It "cannot be governed"; its "innate ability" is to resist regulation. That is its nature, its essence, the way things are. Not that cyberspace cannot be broken, or that government cannot shut it down. But if cyberspace exists, so first-generation thinking goes, government's power over behavior there is quite limited. In its essence, cyberspace is a space of no control.

Nature. Essence. Innate. The way things are. This kind of rhetoric should raise suspicions in any context. It should especially raise suspicion here. If there is any place where nature has no rule, it is in cyberspace. If there is any place that is constructed, cyberspace is it. Yet the rhetoric of "essence" hides this constructedness. It misleads our intuitions in dangerous ways.

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Code: And Other Laws of Cyberspace
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace *
  • Contents *
  • Preface *
  • Part One - Regulability *
  • One Code Is Law *
  • Two - Four Puzzles from Cyberspace *
  • Three - Is - I S M *
  • Four - Architectures of Control *
  • Five - Regulating Code *
  • Part Two - Code and Other Regulators *
  • Six - Cyberspaces *
  • Seven - What Things Regulate *
  • Eight - The Limits in Open Code *
  • Part Three - Applications *
  • Nine - Translation *
  • Ten - Intellectual Property *
  • Eleven - Privacy *
  • Twelve - Free Speech *
  • Thirteen - Interlude *
  • Fourteen - Sovereignty *
  • Part Four - Responses *
  • Fifteen - The Problems We Face *
  • Sixteen - Responses *
  • Seventeen - What Declan Doesn't Get *
  • Appendix *
  • Notes *
  • Index *
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