Subject: Re: Lessig (was Re: As if the DMCA wasn't bad enough)
From: Russell Nelson <>
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 15:01:51 -0400 (EDT)

Tim O'Reilly writes:
 > Hey Russ, have you actually read Lessig yet?

Yup, otherwise I wouldn't be opening my trap.  He has some valid
points, but the basis of his arguments is wrong.  Code isn't law, code
isn't even *like* law.  Is it a constraint?  Yes, of course it is.
But it's a constraint that can be changed *except* when the law
prohibits it.  Code is an engineering problem.  Law is a political
problem.  I can solve engineering problems all by myself.  I don't
need anyone's permission to solve an engineering problem.  Political
problems are essentially intractable, because good law is a public
good, and is underproduced.

 > Lessig makes many rich and thought provoking points.  They are not all
 > right, but they are all worthy of serious thought, not casual, knee-jerk
 > dismissal.

Larry dismissed libertarian philosophy with a jerk of his knee.  The
problem is that he keeps concluding that bad law is the source of all
of these problems.  Well duh!  What does he think libertarian
philosophy predicts?

Yes, he's asking good questions, but he keeps eliminating the best
solution (don't regulate things) from possibility.  Yes, I'm realistic
and I understand that many people want someone else to be responsibile
for their actions.  So no, we're not going to get a libertarian
society any time soon.  I would be much happier with Larry if he said
"Well, it would be better if we didn't try to regulate this, but given
that freedom isn't in the cards, how are we going to deal?"  It's fine 
by me if he says "We want to be other there, but the best way to get
there is by going in this direction."

I have the same argument with RMS all the time.  RMS says "We must
have freedom, we must remember freedom, we must talk about freedom, we
must say ``freedom''."  I say "Yeah, but the best way to get there is
by going this way.  It's in the direction of more freedom even though
it's a more circuitious path."  You can follow the paths of the maze
and get there faster than busting through the walls.  Don't accuse me
of trying to bust through the walls, of jerking my knee.  All I want
from Larry is an indication that we share a common destination.

-russ nelson <>
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