The Prophets of the Present

Having found out about Oliveira Ascensão's e-book (this blog post), I didn't resist reading the article on cyberspace (2001). In its conclusion, Oliveira Ascensão presents us the following reflection:

Law ain't Code

I wrote this blog post for WhatNextLaw. I'm publishing it here as well, for archiving purposes.

Law ain’t Code: Upload filtering technologies and the CDSM Directive

A new provision entered the scene of EU copyright regulation, deeply affecting the uploading, accessing, and enjoying of online content. Some considerations on the legal and technological impact of Article 17 of the Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive.

When Lawrence Lessig published “Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace” in 1999, a new – often misunderstood – mantra was born: “Code is Law”. With his book (later updated to Code Version 2.0), Lessig helped us understand that cyberspace, despite its peculiar nature, was not beyond the reach of physical space regulation. Contrary to popular ideas at the time, which claimed that cyberspace should not – and could not – be regulated, Lessig argued that, in cyberspace, freedom would not come from the absence of the State and, if left to itself, cyberspace would be misused as a tool for control and restriction. As such, a new form of public legal ordering needed to be built for our fundamental values and rights to also be protected online. And it needed to be built within the maze of Codes.