Would we create the Web today?

by Mathew on November 5, 2005

Duke University lawyer and Creative Commons director James Boyle has a thoughtful piece in the Financial Times about the Web and whether it would (or could) be created today the way it is now. He ends with a depressing thought (via Slashdot):

“Why might we not create the web today? The web became hugely popular too quickly to control. The lawyers and policymakers and copyright holders were not there at the time of its conception. What would they have said, had they been? What would a web designed by the World Intellectual Property Organisation or the Disney Corporation have looked like? It would have looked more like pay-television, or Minitel, the French computer network…. The lawyers have learnt their lesson now. The regulation of technological development proceeds apace. When the next disruptive communications technology – the next worldwide web – is thought up, the lawyers and the logic of control will be much more evident. That is not a happy thought.” Definitely not a happy thought — but something to keep in mind nevertheless. (James Boyle’s bio page is here.)

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