posted Jan 31, 2001

Code + Law: An Interview with Lawrence Lessig Misc.1/31/2001; 11:21:07 AM One of many interesting statements:'There are two stages in Internet history so far, which are important to distinguish. The first stage climaxes around 1997, when the Supreme Court decided Reno v. ACLU (the case striking down the Communications Decency Act). This case represents a time when the world looked at the Internet and said, "This is an amazing new technology that we've got to be extremely respectful of." The overriding tone of the opinion is, "Congress, you must go extremely slow when you regulate in this area to make sure that you don't muck up this extraordinarily important First Amendment free-speech context, which is the Internet."... 'But now, in the second stage of Internet evolution, when it comes to copyright issues, that attitude has disappeared. So with the emergence of P2P architectures (which are being used to exchange music in ways that upset the music industry), rather than the court responding in the way that it did in Reno v. ACLU, the courts are in a knee-jerk way acting to shut down this emerging technology on the view that unless you stop it, it will be the end of copyright... 'So much of the legal battle that's going is just to get the court to be as deferential and patient with this emerging architecture as it was in the context of pornography. If you had to choose between protecting children and protecting Hollywood, you would think you would make an exception (to the law) to protect children. But, perversely, our legal system has said children are going to be left to the winds of the Internet and parents have to take care of that themselves, but we're going to march in and back up the power of Hollywood with the courts as quickly as we can to make sure that copyright interests aren't invaded.'

 

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