Ten years ago, Lawrence Lessig published Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace, a groundbreaking study on Internet governance insisting that it is not through laws that governements and private powers control the Internet, but via its software architecture, i.e. the code. Today, at the close of Web 2.0, as cloud computing hangs over our heads like the sword of Damocles, his message is still relevant. How many passwords and logins do we have to juggle with on a daily basis just to perform simple tasks (check emails, watch pictures, save files)? These are very small controls that certify users identity, status, location etc. and route them in one direction or another. Exit the laws regulating individual lives, the new internet governance is more comparable to cattle drive. “Bovinity” emerges as the new human condition in technologically-enhanced times.
A fundamental principle of bovinity is operating here and elsewhere. Tiny controls, consistently enforced, are enough to direct very large animals. The controls of a certificate-rich Internet are tiny, I agree. But we are large animals. I think it is as likely that the majority of people would resist these small but efficient regulators of the Net as it is that cows would resist wire fences. This is who we are, and this is why these regulations work. (Lessig, p. 73)
Despite its far-sightedness, after ten years in print and ten years of changes in law and technology, the book needed an update. In 2005, a wiki was created to this purpose. The resulting new version of the book, Code Version 2.0, is now online under Creative Commons licence. This means you can download the new edition for free just clicking here.
In 2009 the