Le livre est, comme "Code", très bien écrit, clair, bien argumenté et bien documenté. A lire absolument pour comprendre les implications de la législation actuelle et de ses évolutions sur l'innovation en général. Code mettait en avant une idée originale, le fait que l'ouverture et l'absence de contrôle des protocoles de base d'internet ont permis à internet de se développer, et à des applications inédites de voir le jour. Ce livre creuse l'idée en examinant davantage la législation américaine (la nôtre n'est pas très différente) et les structures de contrôles de la bande radio, des réseaux, des téléphones, ainsi que le mécanisme des brevets, pour montrer comment l'innovation doit franchir une barrière de plus en plus coûteuse pour se développer. Très bonne lecture.
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70 internautes sur 77 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
A sober awakening to the threats to innovation and freedom19 février 2002
David E. Rogers
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I well remember when I first entered the Internet. Even in those days of Gopher and early versions of Mosaic, I found an exciting and brand-new world, ripe with incredible possibilities. It was a world of free expression, rapid access to vast storehouses of information, instant contact with anyone who had the resources to connect. But a dark thought always lurked in the recesses of my mind: What will happen when "Big Money" wakes up to the power of the Web? I luridly imagined mega-corporations somehow buying up the Web, tying up content, and crying up to Big Brother when they didn't get their way. Those days seem to be closer than I ever imagined. That's what I learned in this intricately arresting book by Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig. It's an exultant yet sobering look at how the nature of the Internet sparked a new age of innovation--and how this is now seriously threatened. As Lessig writes: "The original Net protected fundamental aspects of innovation. End-to-end meant new ideas were protected; open code meant innovation would not be attacked; free distribution meant new ways of connecting would be assured. These protections were largely architectural. This architecture is now changing. And as it changes, as with the threats to liberty, there is a threat here to innovation." Lessig's purpose is awaken us to our untested belief in the value of control over commons before the Net is swallowed up. The Future of Ideas is nicely structured to that end--but you'll need to strap on your thinking cap before you dive in. Lessig is unrelentingly brilliant and his text is richly loaded with concepts you may never have considered He begins by introducting the concept of "commons"--most simply defined as a resource held freely in common for the overall good of society. He helps us understand that concept by repeatedly referring to the public roads and highways--they are held in common, we have free access to them, they bring value where they exist. He then takes this idea of commons and beautifully demonstrates how the Internet rapidly emerged as a new commons for innovation. Against the historical backdrop of controlled innovation that he calls the "dark ages" (well typified by AT&T's former stranglehold over U.S. telecommunications), Lessig shows us how the Web provides a gloriously free field for innovation and ideas--something undeniable in light of its impact over the last several years. He then explains--in what I found by far the most interesting part of the book--how the nature of the Internet itself, at its physical, code and content layers, created, enabled and empowered this new commons of innovation. I learned things I'd never known about the Net and felt that familiar leap of heart at what the Web could bring. The book then takes a dark turn as Lessig explains how each layer of the Net is falling under systems of control--systems that threaten to take away the values, norms and architecture of the Net that make it such a free field for innovation. Behind this are the usual culprits--mega-corporations aided and abetted by politicians and the courts. The result is that the commons of the Net is seriously threatened. But that's only part of the tale Lessig tells. He explains: "The larger story here is not about dark forces. It is about a blindness that affects our political culture generally. We have been so captured by the ideals of property and control that we don't even see the benefits from resources not perfectly controlled.... This is not a conspiracy. It is a cultural blindness." In short, it's a story about us, We the People, who are unquestioningly letting Big Money and Big Government erode the freedoms and commons of the Net. Lessig concludes with some practical, common-sense and challenging recommendations to stop the growing avalanche. Yet the final chapter is chilling, Lessig's closing even more so: "We move through this moment of an architecture of innovation to, once again, embrace an architecture of control--without noticing, without resistance, without so much as a question. Those threatened by this technology of freedom have learned how to turn the technology off. The switch is now being thrown. We are doing nothing about it." Want to do something about it? You can begin by reading this book.
31 internautes sur 32 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
A superb book with a few fatal flaws13 mars 2003
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Before proceeding to criticise this book, I want to give credit where credit is due. Lawrence Lessig has written a superbly clear and even-handed account of the erosion of the balance at the heart of intellectual property law - between public benefit from creations, and private reward for creators. With a wealth of references and a deft style, he illustrates how regulation of the internet is undermining this crucial balance. Just as in his previous book, `Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace', Lessig upbraided cyber-libertarians for the lazy assumption that the internet will resist regulation simply by virtue of being the internet, so here he upbraids both sides of the intellectual property debate various for lazy assumptions that have disastrous consequences. Above all, the book is comprehensible to the lay reader while also being invaluable for the legal professional - the collection of references in the endnotes is alone worth the cover price. Now, on to the flaws. The first and foremost flaw is that Lessig commits precisely the crime he railed against in `Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace' - technological determinism. He fetishises information technology, and ascribes to it vague autonomous powers, even going so far as to distinguish the internet from the `real' world and argue that it has its own `physics'. At one point, he catches himself doing this - after a reference to the `natural state' of cyberspace, he confesses: `I spend many pages in "Code" arguing against just this way of speaking.' But he can't wriggle out of it so easily - his over-dependence upon assumptions about the different nature of cyberspace undermine his (otherwise very good) argument. A second, related flaw is that Lessig relies for his argument upon too vague a definition of `innovation'. Much of the time, he would do better to refer merely to `creativity' or `the free flow of ideas', which are precious enough in themselves to warrant protection. Inasmuch as Lessig is arguing for a rigorously experimental outlook when it comes to regulation, so that innovation might have the space to flourish, the book makes sense. But the fact is that there is a paucity of innovation today, and a cheapening of what the term `innovation' means, that goes beyond intellectual property disputes. Information technology, in particular, has conspicuously failed to live up to the many claims made for its innovative character. At no point does Lessig confront this fact. Third, Lessig assumes too much about his readers' opinion of the US Constitution. As it happens, I believe that the Constitution is one of the best legal frameworks for the safeguarding of liberty and creativity that humanity has ever come up with. And Lessig's passion for Constitutional principle is infectious. But I am not American, and merely appealing to the historical origins of a legal principle does not suffice to convince me of the merit of that principle - principles also need to be defended in the abstract. There are many readers outside of the USA (not to mention a few within it) who - unlike myself - have no inbuilt respect for the Constitution, and will dismiss Lessig's argument out of hand rather than giving it a chance. Fourth, Lessig's presentation could be better. Certain of his presentational choices - using environmentalist metaphors to make his point, using the word `Soviets' as a pejorative shorthand - are guaranteed to unnecessarily annoy portions of his readership. Conversely, despite Lessig's repeated (and correct) assertion that the intellectual property debate isn't about Left vs Right, he goes to unnecessary lengths to justify his argument in the terms of Left and Right. His tortured justifications for arguing against proprietary control often read like `I'm a Republican, get me out of here!' Fifth and finally, while Lessig praises the creators of the internet for being `driven by humility to a system of non-control', he exhibits a little too much `humility' himself. When he slips in disclaimers like `I'm just a lawyer; I haven't the skill to model this counterfactual', you feel like shaking him by the shoulders and saying `For god's sake man, have the courage of your convictions!' I've been a little harsh in my criticism, so allow me to reiterate. Whatever its flaws, this is an excellent book, and an important addition to a small but growing genre - [...].
26 internautes sur 28 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
An Important Book For Our Time25 novembre 2001
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This book should be at least a candidate for the National Book Award. It is, I believe, an important book for our time. The author, Lawrence Lessig, according to the book's jacket, is a professor of law at the Stanford Law School; once a clerk for Judge Richard Posner; and is a board member of the Red Hat Center for Open Source, among other things. So he has the knowledge, experience, and judgment to write such a book. What is the main concern of the book? Let me try to put it in this fundamental way: How do we want the Internet to develop? How do we create the conditions necessary to maximize the creative potential of the Internet and, for that matter, any new electronic technology? These concerns leads us to the consider the laws that we have now--especially the patent and copyright laws, and perhaps to a lesser extent, the anti-trust laws. I am familiar with some theoreticians who hold that there should not be any patent and copyrights at all. This is one extreme view, which the author does not hold. I believe that there has to be adequate reward to the innovator, and copyright and patents--which indeed does grant a limited monopoly--does that. However, the author argues that the current laws that we have today go too far in the other extreme. These laws he argues hinder future creativeness. The laws we have today, he says, will lead to a future where "take the Net, mix it with the fanciest TV, add a simple way to buy things and that's pretty much it." (page 7) But the future can be better and greater than this, in ways we cannot fathom now. It seems to me that concerning copyrights and patents, a utilitarian standard should apply: Pursue the policy that maximizes wealth in society as a whole. Granting patents and copyrights does that--for in the very fact of doing that--it gives a signal to members of society that innovation will be rewarded. However, perhaps the length of these copyrights and patents are too long. After a patent expires, others copy or modify the original product--as can be seen in the case of prescription drugs--which thus increases the supply of such a good, and thus lowers its price. Consumers benefit. Reducing copyright and patent protection would not only have this immediate economic beneit to consumers, but it would have the long-term impact of promoting creativity. The author, argues, for example, that, concerning computer software, he would "protect software for only five years, renewable once. But that protection would be granted only if the author submitted a copy of the source code to be held in escrow while the work was protected. Once the copyright expired, that escrowed copy would be publicly available from the US Copyright Office server." (page 253) Ideas like this are anathema to some companies. But if we had such a policy in place, I can readily imagine a reality where there would be less market dominanace by a few companies, and the innovation rate of software would have been better. Of course, as with any author, one can disagree here and there. The author seems to side with Napster, for instance. I do think that the courts ruled correctly in that case. As the saying goes, "If you don't like the law, you take it to your congressman." Or to the reading public, who hopefully will influence public policy.
15 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Pessimism, with an Optimistic Bent18 mars 2002
Christopher D. Helmkamp
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The author of this great new book about ideas in the age of technology is no college kid touting, "I have a right to, like, copy MP3s!" On the contrary, Law Professor Lawrence Lessig's book provides a balanced, logical, and realistic argument for more careful Copywright and Intellectual Property legislation. In fewer than 300 pages, Lessig not only lays out the history of IP law, but also thoroughly examines the current move towards corporate favoritism. This makes for a very discouraging read; however, the reader is left with plenty of ideas about how IP law could be shaped in the future. Lessig's suggestions would go a long way towards protecting innovation while still upholding the core principles of fair use and reasonable limits the Founding Fathers wrote into the US Constitution. (Buy a copy of this book for your Congressman!) Lessig, a Liberal who clerked for the popular Conservative Circuit Court Judge and prolific public intellectual Richard Posner, also demonstrates why this issue cuts right across standard ideological lines. Even if you only read chapters 4 and 11, I highly reccomend this book for a thorough examination of this most pressing issue of current public policy.
31 internautes sur 37 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Another excellent insight into our digital futur4 novembre 2001
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Nothing short of a best seller, this book will certainly become as popular as "Code and other Laws of Cyberspace". This time, Pr Lessig takes us on a tour of the world of intellectual property law and cyberspace. With great strength, the book induces a profound reflection on what intellectual property should and should not be. One of the major arguments developed throughout the book is that some resources should be free (not as in free beer, but as in free speech) and that such "freedom" is the only way to have innovation. The main example of this theory: the Internet. Build on open code and with open access, the Internet is the perfect example of how the freedom of the resource induces creativity on a large scale. This creativity boom is now threatened by the extension of copyright into the digital world. Attacking strongly what copyright and intellectual property law has become, the author points out that the content industry has, in an effort to protect it's market, defined what we could and what we will be able to do with "our" music. For the copyright lawyers, this book will be an occasion to think about the effects our practice has on everyone's life and liberty. Pr Lessig is right. Several new copyright legislation go to far and procure a level of control over content and use that was never meant to exist. For the non-lawyer, the book is accessible and well written. Pr Lessig makes his case by storytelling and by numerous examples, which should allow a large public to appreciate and understand the nature of the fight between content user and content producer. Get this book ... it's worth every minute of your time !