Lissig's meaning of the "architecture" of Cyberspace

Essay by IcedcoolUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, April 2005

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In Free Culture by Lawrence Lessig, he discusses how big media has leveraged technology and the law to control people's imaginative creativity and culture. He says the control is moderated by four modalities, which each have their own impact on the individual. Architecture, one of the modalities, is one of the more powerful modalities in the internet age due to cyberspaces impact on communication.

The model Lessig uses to explain how individuals are controlled has five parts. The individual is the center, and is the holder of the rights that the other four modalities effect. Law, usually a constraint, controls by threatening to punish or if the law has been violated already, it punishes. As it implies the law is imposed by the state or national government. Norms are another constraint, but different from law in that it is imposed by our fellow man. It is what all the people believe to be one way or another, and not as harsh as the law but it has its own punishments and barbs.

The market is another constraint usually based on money, or the buying and selling of items. It constrains in that you have to have x to get y, or money to buy a computer. Architecture is a constraint usually in the physical realm. For instance, you have to go to the store, the architectural constraint is that it is far away. With other architectures, a car, you can speed your transportation but without it you are limited to walking or taking a bus. This is vague though in that now in the information age the architecture constraint is taking on a new definition. The internet has speed communication and the transfer of data. When dealing with cyberspace the architecture constraint deals with technology. Now this doesn't just...