The fundamental act of friendship among programmers is the sharing of programs
--Richard M. Stallman

  Lawrence Lessig

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Lawrence Lessig (1961- )

Born in South Dakota, L. Lawrence Lessig III grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania. After attending Penn and Cambridge University, he distinguished himself as a top constitutional lawyer after graduating from Yale Law School. A liberal who clerked for the conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Lessig has taught at top law schools, at Stanford Law School since 1999. With his involvement in the Microsoft case and related writings, Lessig became the definitive legal expert on the Internet and computing.

In the time between Code and Future of Ideas, Lessig has grown increasingly pessimistic about the prospects of what he sees as the principles of a healthy society. His basic thesis, as expressed at the OSCON 2002 keynote, is

  • Creativity and innovation always builds on the past.
  • The past always tries to control the creativity that builds upon it.
  • Free societies enable the future by limiting this power of the past.
  • Ours is less and less a free society.

  • Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace (1999)
  • The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World (2001)

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