Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Cory Doctorow's Information Doesn't Want to Be Free

'The Internet era has conjured forth mountains of nonsense about the death of copyright. Reformers have claimed that copyright is dead because the Internet makes it impossible to control who copies what; copyright supporters have said that the Internet itself must be contained, to head off that grim fate. 

This is rubbish.'

Author, Internet/technology guru and activist Cory Doctorow has written many articles (mainly on the popular and influential weblog Boing Boing) on copyright, Digital Rights Management (DRM) and privacy issues, but this little gem of a book brings all his insights and reflections together in one comprehensive, superbly written package.

It's an antidote to the sort of nonsense served up as sophisticated critique by whiny spokespeople for entertainment and publishing conglomerates like Andrew Keen (who's latest book I reviewed here). Its prime focus is helping creatives understand and appreciate all the ways in which they can make money in the new digital age - 'how do I get people to pay me?'

But it ranges far more widely than that. It's full of stories and histories, and most enjoyably quotable quotes.

I can't resist including a few here:

'One thing we know about audiences is that they aren't very interested in hearing excuses about why they can't buy the media they want, when they want it, in the format they want to buy it in....they'll pay for it if it's for sale, but if it's not, they'll just get it for free. Locking users out doesn't reduce downloads, it reduces sales.'

'The Internet isn't just a copying machine, it's an audience machine'. 

'In the twenty-first century copying isn't a problem. In the twenty-first century copying is a fact. You can't and won't solve copying.'

If you're at all interested in or fascinated by the many issues, problems and solutions thrown up by the Internet age then you'll cherish this book.

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