Lessig Readings for Week 2

January 26th, 2008 coye

On Tuesday, Jan 29th we are going to discuss a few chapters from Lawrence Lessig’s book, “Code and other Laws of Cyberspace.” Lessig’s views have been an important part of the debates surrounding Internet copyright, IP, and privacy. It is also worth pointing out that Lessig writes in an incredibly accessible and engaging style. For the purposes of our course, we want you to read these chapters and think about the role that “code” plays in the social uses of the Internet and surrounding technologies. If you have any opinions at all about issues like open source software, net neutrality and/or digital surveillance, then you will likely find this reading quite interesting.

As Lessig argues, at opposite ends of the spectrum we can think of code as something that could enable perfect freedom, or at the other end—perfect regulation. Our goal will not be to debate copyright law and IP rights specifically (you will find that in our ischool law/policy course); rather, we want to talk about the relationship between the code and how it relates to users (and vice versa). To take it a step further, we then want to think about how this relationship might connect to the larger institutions that attempt to provide regulation and structure to digital information technologies.

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