Information Doesn't Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age

Information Doesn't Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age

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by Cory Doctorow
     
 

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In sharply argued, fast-moving chapters, Cory Doctorow’s Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free takes on the state of copyright and creative success in the digital age. Can small artists still thrive in the Internet era? Can giant record labels avoid alienating their audiences? This is a book about the pitfalls and the opportunities that creative

Overview


In sharply argued, fast-moving chapters, Cory Doctorow’s Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free takes on the state of copyright and creative success in the digital age. Can small artists still thrive in the Internet era? Can giant record labels avoid alienating their audiences? This is a book about the pitfalls and the opportunities that creative industries (and individuals) are confronting today — about how the old models have failed or found new footing, and about what might soon replace them. An essential read for anyone with a stake in the future of the arts, Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free offers a vivid guide to the ways creativity and the Internet interact today, and to what might be coming next.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 09/15/2014
The Internet has expanded and cluttered the debate over intellectual property with technical terms and special interests, but Doctorow (Rapture of the Nerds), co-editor of the popular blog Boing Boing and a contributor to Publishers Weekly, breaks down some of the most fundamental concepts at work into plain language. The book is organized around Doctorow’s Three Laws, which consider DRM (digital rights management, which Doctorow simplifies to “digital locks”), piracy versus obscurity, and the way copyright ought to work. He excels at translating complex issues into pithy, digestible phrases, and challenges readers to rethink the idea of copyright and who it is meant serve. Doctorow argues that, rather than doing away with copyright as we know it, we need to rethink the way that it is enforced. He deftly explains how an open Internet directly affects freedom of speech and freedom of the press, and why censorship doesn’t solve problems. Equal parts manifesto and field guide, Doctorow’s primer for artists and creators delivers a healthy dose of clarity to the debate. Agent: Russell Galen, Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency. (Nov.)
From the Publisher

“Doctorow throws off cool ideas the way champagne generates bubbles . . . [he] definitely has the goods.” — the San Francisco Chronicle
Library Journal
★ 12/01/2014
Doctorow (Pirate Cinema; Little Brother; Rapture of the Nerds) mentions so many past careers in this title that he's hard to describe. Suffice to say that his history makes him an authority on the creation, sale, distribution, and consumption of various kinds of artistic media. Here the author distills the benefit of his experiences into three laws, to wit: digital locks are not for the benefit of the creators of the material they "protect"; "Fame Won't Make You Rich, But You Can't Get Paid Without It"; and "Information Doesn't Want to Be Free, People Do." Much of the material will make readers more conscious of facts they already had some awareness of: that record companies rip off artists, for example. Doctorow will also make all but the most savvy consumers aware of outrages they had no idea about—for example, that those companies deduct from artists' royalties for "breakage" (physical damages caused by shipping), even when they sell digital music. VERDICT Each of the miniessays and lengthy sidebars Doctorow offers in support of his laws is an education in itself. The entries are perfect for standalone examinations in library science classrooms, where students will take away an important lesson: copyright is broken, given that computers work by creating copies (opening a web page, for example, creates a copy of it on the user's hard drive). Mainly, though, his nonstop barrage of hard-won information-age wisdom is for everyone who consumes copyrighted material today—which is everyone.—Henrietta Verma, Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-07-02
In his best-selling novel Ready Player One,Ernest Cline predicted that decades from now, Doctorow (Homeland, 2013,etc.) should share the presidency of the Internet with actor Wil Wheaton.Consider this manifesto to be Doctorow's qualifications for the job.The author provides a guide to the operation of the Internetthat not only makes sense, but is also written for general readers. Usingstraightforward language and clear analogies, Doctorow breaks down the complexissues and tangled arguments surrounding technology, commerce, copyright,intellectual property, crowd funding, privacy and value—not to mention thetricky situation of becoming "Internet Famous." Following a characteristicallythoughtful introduction by novelist Neil Gaiman, rock star Amanda Palmer offersa blunt summary of today's world: "We are a new generation of artists, makers,supporters, and consumers who believe that the old system through which weexchanged content and money is dead. Not dying: dead." So the primary thesis ofthe book becomes a question of, where do we go from here? Identifying the Web'sconstituents as creators, investors, intermediaries and audiences is just thefirst smart move. Doctorow also files his forthright, tactically savvyarguments under three "laws," the most important of which has been well-broadcast:"Any time someone puts a lock on something that belongs to you and won't giveyou the key, that lock isn't there for your benefit." These aren't thewild-eyed proclamations that arose from the Occupy movement or the hysteriathat seems to surround Edward Snowden, whom Doctorow touches on only brieflyhere. Instead, the author advocates for a liberalized system of copyright lawsthat finally admits that the Internet, for all its virtues and diversepurposes, is nothing but one great big copy machine, and it's not going away.Doctorow has spoken and written on these issues many timesbefore but never quite so persuasively. Required reading for creators makingtheir ways through the new world.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781940450285
Publisher:
McSweeney's Publishing
Publication date:
11/18/2014
Pages:
192
Sales rank:
1,168,788
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author


Cory Doctorow is a science fiction author, activist, journalist, and blogger, as well as the coeditor of Boing Boing (boingboing.net) and the author of young adult novels like Homeland, Pirate Cinema, and Little Brother and novels for adults including Rapture of the Nerds and Makers. The former European director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and cofounder of the U.K. Open Rights Group, he lives in London.

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Information Doesn't Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
KaneH More than 1 year ago
We live in a world that changes faster than we can adapt to it. Trying to keep up with the revolution in arts and technology is like trying not to drown with heavy weights tied to you. In the past, there were restricted distribution channels for most types of artistic creator (musician, writer, filmmaker, etc). Now all bets are off, and there are myriad ways to connect with an audience for any kind of artistic endeavor. Yet the question arises of compensation for the artist, in an environment of instant mass distribution and overwhelming amounts of free content. How does an artistic content provider make any kind of living for producing good art? Doctorow explores this field, with authority and empathy. He shows us news ways of thinking, and how some of the old distributors (like record companies and publishing houses) are incredibly resistant to the new ways, not understanding they run the risk of becoming left behind in the dustbin of history. For the "survival of the fittest" really means "survival of the most adaptable." It is a necessary book, a must-read, for any person attempting to understand how things work for an artisan dealing in any capacity with a business environment. While commerce and art seem dissimilar, any artist who desires something more substantial than recognition alone must be cognizant of the concepts presented here. This book is a valuable addition to our understanding of the modern world.