Code

Code is all about cyberspace, but Lessig does not define ‘cyberspace’ until chapter two. Cyberspace, according to Lessig, is a rich experience built on top of the Internet. Cyberspace pulls you in whether though intimacy or the belief that cyberspace makes you a part of a community.  Lessig explains that “no sharp line divides cyberspace from the Internet,” but there is an important difference in experience between the two. Some of the differences are generational. For example, the way I use the Internet compared to my 54-year-old father is completely different. I could spend hours on social networking sites or in this “alternative world,” while my father goes online to check email and sport scores in a matter of 15 minutes. This leads to my other question of, how does Lessig see the world in the next couple of decades when the older generations are the people who see cyberspace as their second life?

Lessig mentions that for kids, cyberspace has become their second life with hours on hours spent in the alterative world of cyberspace. He explains that the older generation now should spend time understanding cyberspace if they care to know anything about the world the next generation. With the frequent advancements in technology and about 80% of Internet users in the United States, it is obvious that next generation will become even more involved in this ‘second life.’ Maybe by the time I have children and they have children, laws will have caught up with technology. Will there be a time where there are certain laws for cyberspace and certain laws for the real world? It seems as though Lessig believe now that code is already law. It is written by programmers, communities, ourselves, basically anyone. We regulate these virtual spaces ourselves. People flag spam, report inappropriate comments to programmers, and vote on whether someone should be blocked from sites. The government does not really seem to be needed. Then why do we need copyright law? How does Lessig feel about copyright? It is so easy to take things off of the Internet for free. Is this wrong? Should be people be able to take content posted online?

Lessig states that property protected by copyright are the most vulnerable to the changes that cyberspace will bring. He says, “Many believe that intellectual property cannot be protected in cyberspace. And in the terms that I’ve sketched, we can begin to see why one might think this, but we will soon see that this thought must be wrong.” Copyright is at war with technology and with each spread of technology protection has been weakened. However, Lessig continues to prove this wrong by saying we are entering a time when copyright is more effectively protected since the power to regulate access to and use of copyrighted material is about to be perfected. Conversely, since this book was written in 2006, I think ways of stealing other people’s creative work has gotten easier. Now from youtube.com music videos I can copy the url and past it into a YouTube to mp3 converter.  Is there a way for me to be tracked? Aren’t thousands of other people using the same converter to steal music? Although I know this is not right and so do most other people, we still do it. If it weren’t for technology and someone who wrote the code for the site, society would not be performing illegal tasks like this. It is hard to say what is right and what is wrong in this age of technology. I am interested to see how things will change in the next couple of years. Is Lessig prepared to write Code 3.0? We shall see.

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