*Read a SUMMARY: I have been grateful for the extraordinary response to my book -- especially the response of those who have worked extremely hard to understand what I am trying to say. Bob Magnant did that, and he then reduced his struggles to the following writing. His summary is an excellent -- and wonderfully clear -- reflection of the book. I am grateful to him for his effort, and I hope this might make the book a bit easier for others. I am sorry to have written a book that requires such a translation, but grateful that he believed it worth the effort. [read the summary in msword format]
"The book doesn't contain answers; it weaves a complex cloth of legal and social thought, designed in part to let us know that no clever one-liner is going to solve our problems. Using techniques from the legal world,
[Lessig] presents many of his ideas by recounting actual events that have tested real world law in confronting virtual world problems. He gives us case studies with problems that haven't been clearly resolved."
Review by Karen Coyle, Information Technology and Libraries, September 2000
"Lessig has the uncommon ability to sort through the endless spew of talk and news about the Internet to find what matters and why we should care. His recent book Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace is one of the most important works about the Internet to date, and it's a great relief that the book isfor a book about lawreadable, enjoyable, and, for the most part, dead-on accurate."
"Internet Decoder," Gary Chapman, in The American Prospect, June 5, 2000
"One of the most dearly held beliefs about the Internet is that it is a new, more urgent version of the American West. It is a new landscape where the rules have been rewritten and that is, finally, beyond regulation by mere governments.... Lessig argues that deciding that the Net has a fundamental, changeless "nature," when in fact the web is something wholly constructed from and driven by software code, is a serious mistake."
"Farewell to Net95?" Bill Zoellick, May 2000
"One of my all time favorite quotes is Edwin Schlossberg's "The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can think." Well, I've recently read a book that gave me a whole new set of tools for thinking: Larry Lessig's awesome Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace."
"You Must Read this Book: Lessig's Code," Tim O'Reilly, in Tim O'Reilly's Weblog, May 15, 2000
"While Code focuses on issues arising from Internet technology, it also discusses the more general relationship between technology and law. Code observes that four principal forces regulate people's behavior: laws, norms, prices, and technology (although it calls the latter forces 'market' and 'architecture'). It explains how each of these limit individuals' actions, how the forces can work directly or indirectly in combinations, and how improvements in techonology can dramatically alter the composite constraint on people's conduct."
"Book Review: Computer Code vs. Legal Code: Setting the Rules in Cyberspace," Mark S. Nadel, in Federal Communications Law Journal
"Lessig contradicts a central shibboleth of life in cyberspace, that it is inherently free.... Well, okay. From the beginnings of the net and the web, many of us have acknowledged the constraints of code.... We have counted on the skills and generosity of hardware and software innovators to maintain the freedoms of the net, always with the assumption that code would be king."
"Code, the Net, the Regulators, and Mr. Lessig," Tom Maddox, in PrivacyPlace
"In time, this book may be considered a landmark publication. Lawrence Lessig, a professor at Harvard Law School, confidently addresses the hotly contested issue of cyberspace regulation."
"The need for regulating the Net tackled in hard look at the future," Steve Powers, in Dallas Morning News, April 6, 2000.
"Code is not all theory. Indeed, constitutions are at the heart of th[is] book. Many of Lessig's thoughts about cyberspace concern how to "translate" or apply principles found in the U.S. Constitution to a virtual world."
"Code Red," James H. Johnston, in LegalTimes.com, April 3, 2000
"It is all a matter of "code": the software and hardware that rules the internet. Code can create either a world of perfect freedom or "a world of perfect regulation", says Prof Lessig. It can guarantee that no one knows who you are, where you go, what you read, what you say, or what you buy in cyberspace. Or it can do exactly the opposite."
"When Internet freedom means control," Patti Waldmeir, in Financial Times, March 19, 2000
"Lessig's chief message is aimed at those who view the Internet as some kind of democratic wonderland, a place of unfettered free speech, business competition, and creativity. Set the euphoria aside, he warns. Government and industry are already stripping privacy, free speech, and other liberties from the Internet in order to suit the needs of online commerce."
"The Net at what price?" Aaron Zitner, in The Boston Globe, March 19, 2000
"In a darkly pessimistic new book, Harvard University law professor Lawrence Lessig argues that the Internet is morphing from a libertarian's utopia to a place stifled and controlled by commercial interests. In Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace, Lessig says companies that were once "bastions of unregulability" are now producers of technologies that facilitate regulation of cyberspace."
"Who's controlling cyberspace? Q+A with Lawrence Lessig," Computerworld interview by Gary H. Anthes, in Redherring.com, February 29, 2000
"The federal government's wait-and-see attitude toward regulation of the Internet world, and the upcoming world of broadband in particular, could kill the culture that fostered all the innovation we are seeing now, argues Larry Lessig, Harvard Law School Berkman Professor for Entrepreneurial Legal Studies."
"Will carelessness kill the Internet?" Sarah Lai Stirland, in Redherring.com, February 29, 2000
"Lawrence Lessig, the Harvard Law School professor who has played a supporting role in the long-running legal drama known as U.S. vs. Microsoft, may end up the star of the last act."
"A Harvard Law School Professor Could Influence Microsoft Trial," David Bank, in The Wall Street Journal, February 23, 2000
"Lessig sustains his arguments beautifully, and he gives readers a concrete sense of the ambiguities of, say, applying 18th-century concepts of search and seizure to 21st-century methods of electronic snooping. You will understand both cyberspace and the Constitution much better after reading this book, which I recommend without reservation that you do immediately."
"Code, clues, and conscious clothing," Angela Gunn, in Seattle Weekly, February 10-16, 2000
"In Code, the Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig...makes an alarming and impassioned claim: that the Internet will indeed soon be regulated. 'Left to itself,' he says, 'cyberspace will become a perfect tool of control'not by the government, which he characterizes as clueless and inadequate, but by software programmers."
"Don't Just Chat, Do Something," David Pogue, in The New York Times, January 30, 2000
"But still the idea that liberty converges onto anarchy seems to me to be misguided. It is still possible to steal confidential information that is transferred on the net, and so we need at a minimum some law of privacy and trade secrets. It is possible to defame people over the Net, and to do so far and wide: The problem of multi-jurisdiction squabbles over libel and slander does not disappear It is possible to blackmail people over the Net, as well. And so it goes. As a libertarian, I don't see the Net as a safe harbor from government regulation. But I do see it as a place in which the social successes from following libertarian norms of force, fraud, and taxation, for example, yield pretty positive results. And if those principles work so well in cyberspace, then maybe we should have a greater attraction to them in our more earthbound behaviors as well. That said, it's over to Larry to explain why the same version of sensible libertarianism (private property, freedom of contract, some state supplied infrastructure, and easy taxation) should not guide our activities in cyberspace as it does on earth."
Richard A. Epstein in email exchange between Epstein and Lawrence Lessig, in Slate: The Book Club, January 17-20, 2000
FEED Magazine interview by Steven Johnson, January 5, 2000
"In his new book...Lessig explores at length his thesis that the existing accounts of the political and legal framework of cyberspace are incomplete and that their very incompleteness may prevent us from preserving the aspects of the Internet we value most."
Book Review, Mike Godwin, in E-Commerce Law Weekly, January 5, 2000
"Ziel seines Buches ist, seine Leser wachzurütteln. Er ist der Meinung, dass sich der Cyberspace von einer relative freien Welt zu einer Welt, die relativ perfekt kontrolliert wird, verwandelt. Und er fügt hinzu: 'Perfekter als die reale!'"
"Wer regiert den Cyberspace?" Christian Ahlert, in Telepolis, January 5, 2000
"Every age has its potential regulator, its threat to liberty. Our founders feared a newly empowered federal government; the Constitution is written against that fear....
"Ours is the age of cyberspace. It, too, has a regulator. This regulator, too, threatens liberty. But so obsessed are we with the idea that liberty means 'freedom from government' that we don't even see the regulation in this new space. We therefore don't see the threat to liberty that this
"This regulator is codethe software and hardware that make cyberspace as it is."
"Code is Law: On Liberty in cyberspace," Lawrence Lessig, in Harvard Magazine, January-February 2000
"Lessig believes that code is the great blindness of cyberspace libertarians, who believe that the Internet is a realm of liberty, and that the basic task of government is to stay out."
"Code Comfort," Cass R. Sunstein, in The New Republic, December 30, 1999
"Conventional wisdom says that the Net is unregulable, and by its very nature is immune from government control. Lawrence Lessig's new book argues that this belief is wrong, and that code, not law, controls what values we protect on the Net."
the WebReference Update, Andy King, December 30, 1999
"Because much of this review quarrels with Lawrence Lessig's new book, I must say at the outset that Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace is the most lucid and cant-free discussion of the Internet that I have encountered in some time."
"The Unacknowledged Legislators of the Digital World," Charles C. Mann, in Atlantic Unbound, December 15, 1999
Wide Open News interview by Anne Speedie, December 10, 1999.
"Lawrence Lessig...has written an excellent book, which I've taken my time reviewing because I felt I had to read it twice to grasp the full import. Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace covers the real future of your liberties on the internet, and it is not a happy book...."
Slashdot.org review, Posted by michael on December 7, 1999
"In Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace (Basic Books), Lessig, one of the nation's leading experts on law and cyberspace, plays the skeptic.... He sees a potential menace in the new technology of the Internet, and he issues a wake-up call...."
"Software Code Has Power of Law on the Internet, Author Says," Carl S. Kaplan, in The New York Times, December 3, 1999
"Code Rules the Net," Interview by Brian S. McWilliams, PC-radio.com, December 3, 1999
"What, then, is the "constitution" of cyberspace, and how does it relate to the structure of real, physical space? What fundamental values should be protected in cyberspace, and how? How is the explosion of electronic commerce affecting the Net, and what is the relationship between the accountability and traceability that business requires and other forms of social control? Code is less a set of answers to these questionsalthough Lessig is refreshingly explicit about what he things the right ones arethan a brilliant model of how to ask them in the first place.... The crux of Code is a more penetrating insight: that information technology requires us to rethink basic assumptions about free speech, privacy, and intellectual property rights and their relation to each other...."
"Controlling Cyberspace," Michael Stern, in The American Lawyer, November 1999
"In this remarkably clear and elegantly written book, [Lessig] takes apart many myths about cyberspace and analyzes its underlying architecturefrom AOL's power to spy on its users to the last mile of copper coming into your house...."
"The Law of the Code," Sara Miles, in Wired Magazine 7.11, November 1999
"...Code towers above the year's Internet books as a truly original and intellectually stimulating work. Lessig's nuanced argumentsthat "code is law," that self-governance is not the answer for the Net, that values matter more than regulationdevelop chapter by chapter into crystalline ideas about constitutional law and the Internet...."
"Intellectual Capital," Mickey Butts, in TheStandard.com, November 29, 1999
"Larry Lessig on Governing Cyberspace," Interview from WBUR's "The Connection," November 10, 1999.
"It's not that Code is poorly written, because Lessig isfor a lawyer, at leastan entertaining author.... And it's not that that Lessig is entirely mistaken, for he makes many well argued and cogent points. The real problem is that Lessig's proposed solution is no better...."
"Lessig Suffers from Bad Code," Declan McCullagh, in Wired News, October 6, 1999
"I don't know that Mr. Lessig has the right answer, but I am certain he's asking the right question: How do we get better governance in cyberspace, when there is no government in control there?"
"Little Brother," Thomas L. Friedman, in The New York Times, September 26, 1999
"We, the E-People," Amazon.com interview.