Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future
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Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  675 ratings  ·  99 reviews
Hailed by Bruce Sterling as a “political activist, gizmo freak, junk collector, programmer, entrepreneur, and all-around Renaissance geek,” Cory Doctorow is the Web’s most celebrated high-tech pop-culture maven. Content is the first collection of Doctorow’s infamous articles, essays, and polemics.

Here’s why Microsoft should stop treating its customers as criminals (through...more
Paperback, 213 pages
Published September 15th 2008 by Tachyon Publications (first published January 1st 2008)
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The essays in Content are completely unsurprising, if you know anything about Cory Doctorow. He's anti-DRM and pro-freedom of information; he offers his books free online (including this one) and profits by it, and suggests that everyone can follow his example. I don't actually think he's completely right about that, but his ideas are compelling.

The essays get somewhat repetitive, and were for me a bit bogged down in referring to American laws and the history of the film/tech industry in the US...more
I absolutely loved his book! It's a collection of articles that we previously printed elsewhere, but, when you put them all together, you get a great read!

The author talks a lot about how he releases all his books on the net for free. You would think he would lose money doing so, but the freebies stimulate interest in his books which lead to more copies being sold. The RIAA could learn a lot from this book, instead of actively suing their own customers....

One interesting thing I learned from thi...more
1. [Io interpreto il libro come una “pratica” – una raccolta di attività sociali, economiche e artistiche – e non un “oggetto”. Vedere il libro come “pratica” invece che come “oggetto” è un’idea innovativa, e conduce alla domanda: cosa diavolo è un libro? Bella domanda.]

2. [Gli ebook devono abbracciare la loro natura. [Ebooks need to embrace their nature] Questo valore peculiare degli ebook è ortogonale al valore dei libri cartacei e ruota attorno alle possibilità del testo elettronico di essere...more
Ha ha, Doctorow, I read your book online without paying for it :P

But I wouldn't have read Content if I'd had to buy it -- and that would have been too bad, because it's a great little book. On matters of copyright, Doctorow reminds me of the way Chinese satirist Lu Xun described himself: a crazy man banging on the outer walls of a blazing iron house in the vain hope of rousing the inhabitants before they burn to death. For Doctorow, the iron house is the notion that intellectual property is some...more
Stuart Langridge

Hailed by Bruce Sterling as “a political activist, gizmo freak, junk collector, programmer, entrepreneur, and all-around Renaissance geek,” the Internet’s favorite high-tech culture maven is celebrated with the first collection of his infamous articles, essays, and polemics. Irreverently championing free speech and universal access to information—even if it's just a free download of the newest Britney Spears MP3—he leads off with a mutinous talk given at Microsoft on digital rights manag

Doctorow discusses the pitfalls of DRM (Digital Rights Management), copyrights, and attempts at controlling creativity in technology. His conclusion? Give it away! Through his own experience (he has made this book, and other materials he has produced, available in electronic of charge), Doctorow believes that he is more successful in building his audience through providing his work to the public at no cost.

Seth Godin agrees. He asserts that success in the future lies in giving aw...more
Mike Ehlers
I picked this up from the library for two reasons. One, after reading Scalzi's best of Whatever book, I was ready to read another colletion from a blogger I read semi-regularly. Of course, this is a collection of essays and articles, not blog posts. Two, a lot of the content in Content ties into the IP reading I've been doing lately.

Doctorow takes his collection from a variety of articles and presentations he's authored over the last few years. His writing is easy to read, and he is clear and co...more
Shweta  Bharati
Such a rhetorical way of writing essays which is mostly a collection of presentations, conferences, et al! Cory Doctorow has a knack of adding humor to whatever he wants to convey which is obviously being talked about for a serious attention. Though, the topics are sophisticated but he has tried his best with several relevant anecdotes which makes it clear to understand the making of copyright and it's subsequent infringement and then anti-circumvention to keep off competitors.

One of the anecdot...more
I am almost done but I can safely say that Cory's writing is boring,clear and to the point. Where it lacks literary artistry it gains in wit and clarity of ideas. There is much to learn from this "geek" who is actually a very cool dude and family man(young). His ideas of the uselesness of trying to control the web content is directed to those who want to use the net but want to be protected in a cyberworld where the current "laws" are as good as the next hacker, the next pirate program etc. In C...more
This is a collection of Doctorow's writing on copyright, DRM and the internet. It is, like the rest of his work, available for free under a CC licence online, but I got the paper version, being the old-fashioned book-lover that I am. Doctorow acknowledges that he probably loses some sales through putting his work online for free, but his contention is that the publicity and goodwill he gains from it generate more paper sales than he loses. This has certainly worked for him, although I don't know...more
First off, all these articles are available online free or have circulated there for years. I just liked having them all organized and brought together in a tidy, non-electronic, highly-readable package.

Doctorow is extremely prolific in his side career of EFF spokesperson and advocate for open Intellectual Property rights as he is primarily occupied by writing a culturally savvy type of sci-fi. These installments represent what is likely a majority of his valuable published writings on these sub...more
Glenn Williams
There were some excellent insights in Doctorow's essays on the future of content, how content is consumed, and the all pervasive nature of the internet and the challenges this presents to creators of content in an information economy.

Some key points that I found to be of interest included:

Information is a relationship – a simultaneous relationship, an action and an area of shared mind
Challenges of economic paradigm for content creation and the constraints of copyright (e.g. Buying region-specifi...more
To readers of the BoingBoing blog, Cory Doctorow needs no introduction. The contents of this book will likewise be familiar, as it covers Doctorow's favorite topics, the so-called copyfight struggle of regular folks versus overreaching intellectual property owners, the wrongheadedness of digital rights management technology, and the growing encroachment of government surveillance into everyday life. These are all important topics, and Doctorow handles them deftly. However, like Dawkins' and Hitc...more
Lauren Ruth
An interesting book, although it could have done with a light edit to remove presentation artifacts, such as repeated headings. The ideas are worth considering, though: copyright is broken, DRM treats customers like criminals, giving it away increases your audience, and so forth—all somewhat familiar arguments by now. And he does have a point: it's insulting, when you try to burn a playlist for all 8 of the people in your discussion group, to be told after the 7th that you must stop now, or you'...more
I picked up Doctorow’s book because I suspected it would have some choice conversation starters for my Writing for New Media class. And it does. The book (available at for a free download) comprises a whole bunch of Doctorow’s columns for the Guardian, Locus, and other places. As usual, his geek chic wit works for me. Some thoughts about individual essays:

* The early essays about the problems with the current conception of copyright hit the ball out of the park. I particularly lik...more
John Orman
Described as a political activist and Renaissance geek, Doctorow is well-wired into the high-tech pop culture, and if fact is a frequent contributor to Wired magazine.

This book is Doctorow's first nonfiction book, and it shows off his talent in satirizing and critiquing our technical culture and the information economy.

I especially liked the insight of the essay "Science Fiction is the only Literature People Care Enough About to Steal on the Internet." He states there that "conversation, not con...more
Eric Juneau
A rare non-fiction read for me, but you can't beat the price. And since it's a collection of small essays, each not much longer than a short story, it's a great read for downtimes at work. You all know Cory Doctorow - Internet guru to the stars. He's taken all the articles and essays he's written and compiled them into one neat little package.

Doctorow's an excellent non-fiction writer. Except for "Little Brother" and parts of "Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town", I like this better than...more
A bit of a slumgullion, a bit of a yard sale; lots of occasional essays by Doctorow about issues related to copyright and publishing. Thing is? If this is your bailiwick, you'll love these little thought-bites. They're good, and he's smarter than just about anyone when it comes to copyright, technology, and publishing. It ends up a bracing reminder of just how swiftly the process of change is, as well as what truly matters in discussing boring topics such as DRM. The only real problem is that a...more
I've seen books go obsolete before, but rarely so quickly. This book was published in 2008 and consists largely of articles and essays written in 2007, and is now largely obsolete. I got about a third of the way through, far enough to see how he completely botched his prediction about the ebook market (he was sure those things were never going anywhere and would certainly never outsell paperbacks), and that pretty much cinched that it wasn't worth reading any more.

Even if it weren't outdated, th...more
Cory Doctorow is one of those cool hipster technologists with lots of opinions that are mostly well-founded, and an arrogant certainty that the opposing viewpoint is represented by Sauron and Emperor Palpatine.

This book is a selection of previously published essays, magazine articles, and conference presentations, mostly on the theme of copyright and intellectual property law, piracy, privacy, ebooks, and related matters. He makes some compelling arguments, but as these articles were mostly publ...more
Luca Ciavatta
Un insieme di scritti molto interessanti sulla creatività e sul diritto di autore. L'avvento delle nuove tecnologie ha portato uno sconvolgimento alle dinamiche che, da sempre, hanno governato il diritto di autore e ha messo in seria difficoltà le multinazionali che gestiscono la produzione e la distribuzione dei media. Le riflessioni contenute nei testi di questo libro fanno pensare e impongono delle serie riflessioni sul perché siano in corso così feroci battaglie per la monetizzazione del dir...more
Stacy Taylor
This book was fantastic. By far the most intelligent view on DRM and copyright law I've ever read. Doctorow provides a blunt but realistic outlook for many emerging technologies. I really like the prevailing theme of "Computers are really really good at copying things. The Internet is really really good at transmitting data. Any software or technology that tries to make it harder to copy and transmit data is just dumb. Instead of working against it, develop a new business model."

He also makes s...more
Sci-fi author and blogger Doctorow exposes the futility of current copyright law and traces the paradigm shift of content vs. container from player-pianos and the invention of radio to ebooks and peer-to-peer file sharing. From the introduction by web pioneer and Grateful Dead lyricist John Perry Barlow to the dozens of previously published articles, Content is smart, funny, and provocative. Although the essays can get a bit repetitive if read straight through, there are so many gems: a lecture...more
These essays, mostly written in 2007 for other venues, collect several ideas on the interaction of copyright laws and technology. They will make you think. They'll educate you on the history of copyright law where you'll get a perspective on how it has evolved and how it should evolve in the future. You'll get a perspective on why the most recent changes in copyright law are flawed and why DRM is bad.

Any reader who is interested in this kind of thing should read "Content." Any writer who doesn't...more
An excellent collection of Doctorow's philosophy of technology and culture. Particularly helpful for understanding DRM and publishing. As always with CD, the writing is clear and technical without being pedantic; the chapters originally delivered as presentations were my favorite stylistically.
Would have given four stars, but as the book is made up previously published essays it gets a bit repetitive. Could have been edited down to two or three long essays. That being said, I think the info he's giving is essential. I recommend this book to anyone who doesn't understand why most of the library's audiobooks can't be played on an ipod. Of course, some might reach different conclusions than Doctorow, but as a librarian, I'm for open gardens. I have a professional obligation to make infor...more
Excellent way for someone relatively new to Cory's non-fiction to come up to speed quickly. A great overview of his thoughts on copyright, the Internet, and society. And even if you're a dyed-in-the-wool True Fan (like me), you'll probably find something new, and you'll definitely enjoy having the essays collected in one place. His Microsoft DRM essay is included, which is a favorite of mine. Well worth picking up if you have any interest whatsoever in topics like the future of copyright, media...more
A bit uneven owing to the fact that it's a collection of columns, speaking notes, and essays, but otherwise an insightful glimpse at the public face of the copyleft movement. As a former spokesperson for the EFF (electronic frontier foundation), Doctorow lent an aura of internet celebrity, wit, and vigor to the organization, and these writings certainly bear it out. Written for audiences as varied as Microsoft employees, aspiring artists and writers, and a general readership, this collection sho...more
Wow, I couldn't put this book down. Cory Doctorow had so many interesting things to say about copyright, personal property, the internet, and many other things that I, in my isolated state of parenting and other busy-ness, haven't had time to notice or think about. These are great essays and presentations. I expected I'd read this book over a few weeks or a month -- that it would be my "fill in" book for those moments when I had enough time to read a quick essay but not an entire chapter -- but...more
Emanuele Dattoli
Alcuni degli articoli sono davvero brillanti. In particolare la breve storia delle crittografia, raccontata ai dipendenti della Microsoft. La raccolta é di pezzi che arrivano fino al 2007, non stiamo quindi proprio sul filo della notizia, ma questo rende la lettura ancora più interessante; in particolare viene da chiedersi se ancora Cory sia del tutto sicuro che i suoi lettori che scaricano i file ePub gratis poi davvero se li vanno a comprare cartacei.
Dopo la valanga di lettori ebook finiti nel...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Copyright infiringement 6 234 Feb 26, 2014 09:58PM  
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  • The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet
  • The Art of Immersion: How the Digital Generation Is Remaking Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and the Way We Tell Stories
  • The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom
  • The Pirate's Dilemma: How Youth Culture Is Reinventing Capitalism
  • Free as in Freedom: Richard Stallman's Crusade for Free Software
  • The Wikipedia Revolution: How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World's Greatest Encyclopedia
  • The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom
  • Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide
  • Democratizing Innovation
  • Glut: Mastering Information Through the Ages
  • The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You
  • Everything Is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder
  • Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership
Canadian blogger, journalist and science fiction author who serves as co-editor of the blog Boing Boing.

He is an activist in favor of liberalizing copyright laws and a proponent of the Creative Commons organization, using some of their licenses for his books.

Some common themes of his work include digital rights management, file sharing, Disney, and post-scarcity economics.
More about Cory Doctorow...
Little Brother (Little Brother, #1) Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom For the Win Makers Homeland (Little Brother, #2)

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“s security expert Bruce Schneier has said, "Making bits harder to copy is like making water that's less wet.” 5 likes
“Face-book has all the social graces of a nose-picking, hyperactive six-year-old, standing at the threshold of your attention and chanting, “I know something, I know something, I know something, won’t tell you what it is!” 4 likes
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