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

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  2,273 ratings  ·  388 reviews
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) ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published November 18th 2014 by McSweeney's
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Average rating 4.01  · 
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Kevin Kelsey
Apr 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Humanity
Posted at Heradas

Doctorow expertly breaks down and illustrates just how much we lose societally by allowing intermediaries to stipulate things entirely outside of their business through lobbying and extortion of all parties involved. It’s a fascinating, multi-faceted deep examination of digital rights, copyright, piracy, net neutrality, and the human tendency toward protecting our own interests at the detriment of everyone else (including, unbeknownst to us, ourselves).

At first it made me angry
Nov 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Cory Doctorow's "Information Doesn't Want to be Free" aims to be a 2014 successor to Lawrence Lessig's "Free Culture", both authors writing about how modern copyright law restricts artistic expression and how art and copyright should function within the context of the Internet. Where Lessig's expertise shows in his book's policy analysis, Doctorow's comes from his personal experience as a writer navigating new mediums and distribution channels.

The book starts off strong, first laying out the rol
Jul 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Short title, quickly read. Has some very good points (Copyright is really something that is designed to bind corporations) and some good ideas (a blanket license scheme payable by ISPs / users). Has digressions (Net Neutrality) that I believe take away from the message. Finally, has a pretty decent forwards and an epilogue summing things up.

Read the audio book (Wil Wheaton) checked out from the library, and I was a bit irritated with the loud noises between section breaks. Reading the book in an
Dec 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
An eye opening, thought provoking book length essay on copyright, the internet, and making a living in the creative arts today. I feel like I finally understand the issues around how creators should think about the internet, free use, copyright, DRM. A must read for anyone seriously considering a career in the arts during the internet age.
Aug 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I think this is a book that everyone should read, but creative people such as authors, musicians, ect must read this book.
Sep 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Despite it’s lively style, this book is oppressive. It has several threads, but it mainly explores the dismal consequences of the entertainment industry trying to impose copyright on the World Wide Web and on the world of digital communication generally.

Doctorow favors copyright in principle and supports strategies that would allow creators and the entertainment industry to make a reasonable amount of money but he is hostile to strategies that make information flow more difficult, more expensiv
Jun 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
That was excellent - interesting and engaging. I listened to the entire thing in two big chunks and never got bored or sleepy (in spite of the fact that I'm basically perma-tired.) I think everyone should read this, it's hugely important and it's a very easily understood look at the issue of access and copyright. ...more
Mar 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
I read this on a whim because one of my best friends was reading it, and he has a way of always getting me into something I'll later think is badass. Holy crap this book was the shit! The internet in general and copyright are not things I ever find myself thinking about, so I went into this book a blank slate and came out with all kinds of neat thoughts and opinions about these things, which are a lot more important than I thought they were.

This book tends to focus on art and how it has to be se
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is an integral read for…everyone. I can't believe it took me so long to read it. ...more
Nov 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Informative and fun and educational if you don‘t mind the tone and enthusiasm and jokes of a keynote speaker‘s follow-up who‘s eager to prove their capability of delivering the key speech next year.

Great read if you want to learn:
* How copyright works and how it changed during the last century esp because of the internet and how it‘s evolving;
* What was pipa/sopa/acta about and how it affects you;
* Why your frustration over “i paid for CD how come mp3 of that CD are illegal to keep“ is completel
Feb 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
When I first saw the title I thought that the book was written by someone defending the bad practices of copyright holders, that was until I noticed that it was written by Cory Doctorow. This book like other nonfiction books by Cory Doctorow is a collection of essays on topics of copyright, technology and human, or better put consumer rights. If you enjoyed his other works or would like to learn more about the mess that is the current copyright system you will enjoy this book. He explained the t ...more
Aug 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
What a fascinating read regarding our digital world. This was geared around copyrights and all those who are affected by that. It doesn't sound like rules and regulations have caught up to the modern world. Rights need to be protected, but the digital world cannot be ignored if you want to get your product out to those who are in demand of said product.

Itay Kander
Jan 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Magnificent treatise on Copyright, The Arts, The Internet, and everything in between. Absolutely a must-read for anyone creating any sort of art these days. Doctorow is a very knowledgeable writer (he has been a part of the Electric Frontier Foundation and Creative Commons) but he comes off as a down to earth kind of guy. He explains beautifully how the legislator cooperates with the entertainment industry and Big Tech to suffocate freedom of expression on the world wide web.
Bart Carter
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Everyone should read this. This one is a bit of an echo chamber to me, but Doctorow puts many of the confusing issues on the web (net neutrality, copyright, DRM) in more relateable terms. It's a great book. ...more
Mar 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Cory Doctorow is a Canadian-British novelist, prolific blogger and an activist crusading for reducing barriers to artists (authors, musicians, etc) getting their content in the hands of their audiences. In particular the barriers are those put up by intermediaries of various kinds -- Amazon, Apple, Sony, Universal Music, etc. -- in cahoots with governments providing the legal and contract enforcement framework. These barriers are everything from digital rights management, censorship, taking an e ...more
Oleksandr Zholud
When I just read the title of this book I was astonished. After all, it directly comments on cyberpunk and cyber-activists slogan, “information wants to be free” and Gary Doctorow (the author of this book) is (was?) one of them. Has he sold his soul to big business, I wondered?
No, he hasn’t.
This book is a great critique on what is wrong with current attempts of entertainment business to limit people, their (potential and actual) clients in what they can do. The fact that digital locks don’t prot
Ross Blocher
Mar 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Information Doesn't Want to Be Free is essential reading for content creators in the Internet age, especially those hoping to earn a living doing what they love. Doctorow is a gifted explainer, unpacking concepts like copyright law, net neutrality, fair use, digital locks, DRM, encryption, licensing, piracy, and rootkits. He provides historical context and real-world analogies to make the abstract readily understandable.

The stakes are high, and the power that we allow publishers and intermediari
Apr 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Actually fun to read! The most clear explanation of digital copyright I've seen (and I read most new info on copyright and DRM). The author has strong opinions but most readers would agree - otherwise they wouldn't have chosen to read it. If you are not sure where you stand on copying music, movies and e-books; or if you want to be able to explain and defend your choice, give this a try! ...more
Kent Beck
Feb 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely required reading for creators--writers, artists, musicians, programmers, designers. The rules of the game are changing. This book presents the change with great, sometimes brutal, clarity. I still don't know what to do about the new rules, but I have many new ways to think about them. Thank you, Cory. ...more
Clara Biesel
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is a little ranty, and superior sounding at times, but also inspiring and thought provoking. Doctorow asks extremely important questions about the computers to which we trust our lives, and who the laws surrounding copyright are intended to protect. The intros from Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer are a bonus.
Dec 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The author's take on how outdated copyright laws are being used by lobbyists of big corporations to maximize their profits can undermine our most basic human rights, namely freedom of expression and freedom of speech, is profound. ...more
Roberto Rigolin F Lopes
Jan 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This Doctorow guy is witty and funny. The man has some creative friends as well. To be honest, this copyright thing is quite boring but this book is entertaining and very informative.
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a fascinating read for me as it challenged my thoughts on piracy. I recall in my school days (which was about 10 years ago) when I had done a Project Work on piracy, but my position was the typical conservative one - that piracy is bad and it is going to kill the creative industry. This book made me realise that my analysis back then was too simplistic (it scored an A anyway because probably our teacher likes students to stick to safe and conservative arguments) and that there were more ...more
Sep 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
'... not savable, not reinstatable, not resuscitatable'

'Every pirate wants to be an admiral'

There were a lot of powerful words and ideas that came out of this book, and a lot of important criticism of the current system of media distribution and copyrighting. He addresses the unsustainable nature of the media industry in light of the internet, and also how we don't necessarily need it to work because creators will always find a way, and fans will always look for a way to compensate and support
Andrea Hickman Walker
This has taken me a long time to get through for the simple reason that I had to keep putting it down. The book is well-written, and engaging, but the content is infuriating and rage-inducing. I believe in copyright laws, yes, but I also believe in the public domain, in the creative commons, and in piracy. Surveillance and punitive laws do not stop criminal activity. Making the legal routes easier and cheaper than the illegal ones is the only way to prevent piracy. Copying is easy, and will only ...more
Carolyn Klassen
Apr 07, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
Quick fire, quippy essay style chapters on topics about digital locks, digital ownership, regional restrictions, surveillance, and other related topics. Very interesting and informative for the average person who knows very little (aka me) about laws and policies regarding digital freedoms against individuals by publishers and corporations. The main thing I didn't care for — Doctorow's writing. The voice was pretentious and obnoxious. Trying very hard to sound clever. Worth reading as it's quick ...more
Răzvan Molea
Mar 18, 2018 rated it liked it
“Artists need to worry about fame before they worry about fortune.” Recognition is one of many necessary preconditions for artistic success: luck, talent, and an indefatigable drive to succeed that lasts through the years and years it takes to get noticed, build a following, or get onto the radar of an important promoter, gatekeeper, or investor are a few of the others. So, yeah, being famous won’t—in itself—make you rich. But if nobody knows about your work, nobody’s going to buy it.
Mykal Lefevre
Jun 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I listened to the audiobook as read by Wil Wheaton. This is a great book if you are interested in net neutrality and privacy. It is an even better book if your interested in the numerous ways an person can share and receive creative works. It is a discussion on how a few companies have shaped the landscape copyrights and the internet, and the eternal struggle between corporations and the people for access to information.
Keith Swenson
Mar 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
There is no question that all business around media has gone from an economy of scarcity to an economy of abundance. Music, news, novels, video, entertainment, whatever can be digitized can be copied and distributed at zero cost. That has GOT to change the world.

But here we are, mired in laws formed 50, 100, or 200 years ago that could never have forseen the possibility that it would be so easy to retrieve the contents of a book from the other side of a world would be so easy that it is not even
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: x2017-18-season
Breaking down complex and obscure policy arguments into something understandable and interesting is a rare skill, and Doctorow has it. while the information is occasionally repetitious and the layout can be distracting, the underlying concepts and arguments are clear. to sum up in seven words: Freedom good, laws good, rent-seeking middlemen bad.
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Cory Doctorow is a science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger — the co-editor of Boing Boing and the author of the YA graphic novel In Real Life, the nonfiction business book Information Doesn’t Want To Be Free, and young adult novels like Homeland, Pirate Cinema, and Little Brother and novels for adults like Rapture Of The Nerds and Makers. He is a Fellow for the Elec ...more

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