“We can’t stop copying on the internet because the internet is a copying machine. Literally.” — Cory Doctorow
Everyone knows that hard copy content has taken a backseat in the digital age. You can stop carrying that 128-CD binder that’s double stuffed and disorganized. Peer-to-peer sharing is cheaper and faster, and we can find anything we’re looking for with a simple search. But as we pirates bask in our bays, the powers that be maneuver behind the scenes, enacting legislation like the DMCA, floating SOPA or repealing net neutrality.
Advances in technology have made it easier to create and easier to market those creations. That’s part of the problem (and part of the solution) in Cory Doctorow’s Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age. In this chaptered, 170-page essay, the science-fiction writing, electronic freedom-fighting activist examines the stakes and stakeholders in the fight for a working copyright model that is fair for creators, consumers, and even the industry suits.
Doctorow closing remarks summarize the book’s purpose better than we could, so let’s go to the source:
The world is full of people who are offering you ways to try and turn your creativity into dollars. What I hope I’ve given you is a tool kit for evaluating all those offers. Here’s that tool kit, boiled down to three points:
- If you’re a publisher, don’t let your retailers usurp your relationship with your customers by using DRM.
- If you’re a creator, don’t let your publishers use your copyright as an excuse for rules that let it corner the market on delivering your art to your audience.
- And no matter who you are, remember that this Internet thing is bigger than the arts, bigger than the entertainment business — it’s the nervous system of the twenty-first century, and, depending on how we use it, it can set us free, or it can enslave us.