Skip to the main content
Reflections on ten years of Code

Reflections on ten years of Code

From Jonathan Zittrain's Future of the Internet blog:

Larry Lessig wrote the epic Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace ten years ago. Cato is marking the anniversary with a debate at Cato Unbound. Declan McCullagh’s lead essay is here. My response is here, and below.

OK, enough with who doesn’t get what. The arguments over cyberlibertarianism sparked by the release of Code aren’t due to gaping ignorance or even dueling ideologies. They’re more about emphasis. It didn’t have to be that way: there’s a separate, straightforward anti-libertarian case that lots of people would want to make for increased government policing of the Internet because of the bad things that can and do take place on it. This week’s example is the “Craigslist killer,” who assaulted people he met through that site. In his wake, several U.S. state attorneys general are pressuring Craigslist to shut down its “erotic services” section. There are hundreds of others of examples, not least of which have been the various efforts by the music industry to shut down peer-to-peer technologies and sue users who share copyrighted songs without permission.

The debate between Larry and the libertarians is more subtle...


Professor Zittrain isn't the only Berkman director participating in an online debate this week. Through May 15, Berkman faculty director William Fisher is debating Justin Hughes on the question of whether "existing copyright laws do more harm than good" on Copyright and wrongs.

Publications 01

Dec 30, 2006

Code: Version 2.0

Lessig's "Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace" was published in 1999. The book quickly began to define a certain vocabulary for thinking about the regulation of cyberspace. More…