Lessig and implications for Intellectual Property Law
Rimantas Petrauskas & Mindaugas Kiskis
Dept. of Legal Informatics
The Law University of Lithuania.
Lessig’s second book (The Future of Ideas), builds on the ideas of the Code and specifically looks into effects of the code on intellectual property, arguing that technical protection in many cases surpasses legal protection and is even used as a superior measure for enforcement of intellectual property rights, which currently cover all the different kinds of valuable information. Code also allows excluding the uses of the information (IP), which are specifically permitted by the law.
Lessig’s suggestion of open commons based licensing is hardly acceptable to many IPR holders, hence additional instruments, which would reconcile technology (code), right holders’ rights and users’ rights is very important. Thus, intellectual property law currently faces a major dilemma of both protecting the code (technical measures) against unauthorized circumvention, as well as defying it when lawful user’s rights (fair use) is concerned. This dilemma is increasingly important for the Internet where a lot of valuable information is becoming locked by the code and hence inaccessible to the otherwise entitled users (e.g. students).
Our paper will focus on the above dilemma, its manifestations and effects in the academic world and legal practice, as well as possible resolutions of this dilemma. We believe this is well within Lessig’s lines.