December 24, 2004  ·  Lessig

code.jpg

So here’s something cool that I’m happy to be able to announce. Five years ago, I published Code. It’s time for an update. But rather than update in the old fashioned way, Basic Books has agreed to the following:

Beginning in February, we’ll be posting Version 1 of Code to a Wiki. “Chapter Captains” will then supervise updates and corrections. Depending upon the progress, sometime near June, I will take the product and edit and rewrite it to produce Code, v2. The Wiki will stay live forever (under a Creative Commons license). The edited book will be published in the fall. I have donated my advance for Code, v2 to Creative Commons. All royalties beyond the advance will be donated as well.

At this point, we’re collecting “Chapter Captain” (CCs, of course) volunteers. CCs should be expert in the subject of the chapter, and willing to work through the Wiki to produce an updated chapter. (Here’s the table of contents.)

My aim is not to write a new book; my aim is to correct and update the existing book. But I’m eager for advice and expert direction. If you’re interested in volunteering, email me at this address.

I am grateful to Basic Books to allow me to try this experiment. I worked very hard five years ago to learn enough to write Code. I’m extremely eager for the book to gain from the collective wisdom of at least part of the Net. No one can know whether this will work. But if if does, it could be very interesting.

  • http://sethf.com/infothought/blog/ Seth Finkelstein

    What a great idea! Many academic books are written that way in practice anyway, so indeed why not just be upfront about the process? That is, the Research Assistants, err, “Chapter Captains”, do the initial drafts, which are then edited to the final book. Being public about it is a praiseworthy innovation.

  • http://www.ime.usp.br/~is/ Imre Simon

    This is a very nice idea, indeed. Congratulations and much good luck!

    I would like to draw to your attention to “Incubadora”, an innovative web service run by Fapesp, the S�o Paulo State Research Founding Agency in Brazil. The incubadora is designed to allow the easy cooperative creation of digital contents through the Web. I believe that it might be handy to run your project on. Incubadora is a SourceForge-like site where each project also gets a Plone environment (a very rich content management system) to build its home page. The URL is http://incubadora.fapesp.br and on the Plone side you create a wiki with just a couple of clicks. One possible disatvantage is that the service and the documentation are run in Portuguese only at this time (though both the Plone and the Sourceforge-like interfaces can be adjusted to English).

  • http://troyworman.blogspot.com Troy Worman

    Very cool.

    I would like to add a Lessig book to my must reads for 2005. Any suggestions?

    Thank you,
    Troy Worman

  • http://wordpress.justlol.org Jaap Vermeulen

    Great idea! I’m curious what your take is on what has been done so far with the Free Culture Wiki.

  • Jaap Vermeulen

    hmm link got garbled. free culture wiki:

    http://blogspace.com/freeculture/Main_Page

  • LuYu


    No one can know whether this will work. But if if does, it could be very interesting.

    This is probably going to work. In addition to the evidence that has been accumulating about the Internet in recent years, there are long traditions of this sort of collaborative annotation in Asia. Large discussions always lead to lots of useful ideas. As long as the Chapter Captains are not politically correct nazis, this should improve even a great work like Code.

  • http://sweetsilhouette.blogspot.com/ Myra

    Great idea. I can’t wait to get my hands on it. Is it going to be a controlled way of Wikipedia.org or better Wikisource.org ?
    I wish you luck and much attention for the experiment.
    You might rembember that Wikipedia began as Nupedia , which was a peer reviewed kind of wikipedia. Unfourtunately very few wanted to send complete Articles for cerrection and the project ceased. But your correction of an already written book may be more poular.
    Greetings, Myra

  • http://ricardoperez.blogspot.com Ricardo Perez Garrido

    A great way to show a small part of the future to those in academia that are not aware of what is coming sooner than expected: a new structure of content creation, where the traditional autoritas changes hands. The new owners are communities and freelance experts (nothing new, Malone and Yates have been talking about it for years, among others), but the real thing is in experiments like this. Great effort.

  • Anonymous

    Isn’t it a little ironic that you are thanking the book company for allowing you to allow others to make derivative works from what you wrote?