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 than any other
social space, cyberspace would be controlled or not depending
upon the architecture, or "code," of that space. And that meant
regulators, and those seeking to protect cyberspace from at
least some forms of regulation, needed to focus not just upon
the work of legislators, but also the work of technologists.
Code v2 updates the original work. It is not, as Lessig writes in
the preface, a "new work." Written in part collectively, through
a Wiki hosted by JotSpot, the aim of the update was to recast the
argument in the current context, and to clarify the argument
While Lessig himself has strong views about preserving important
liberties that cyberspace originally protected, this book does
not push any particular set of values. Unlike Lessig's other
books, The Future
of Ideas, and Free
Culture, this book has no particular political agenda.
Instead, the objective of Code v1 and Code v2 is to introduce and defend a
particular way of understanding regulation, and to describe the
trend that we should expect regulation in cyberspace to take.
His conclusions are eclectic: Simple libertarianism will not
preserve liberty in cyberspace. As the code changes in light of
the values of both commerce and government, cyberspace will
become an increasingly regulable space. The aim of anyone
concerned to protect a particular mix of liberty in cyberspace
must therefore account for this mixture of code and law that
currently exist, and how it is likely to evolve. As he argues,
that mix will tend to overprotect intellectual property. It will
underprotect privacy. And paradoxically, the failure of
effective regulation in the context of at least two speech
contexts will tend to weaken free speech values in cyberspace.
Finally, Lessig describes how the emerging architecture of the
Internet will enable the reemergence of local regulation of
behavior on the Internet.