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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

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  1,446 ratings  ·  128 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
Paperback, 213 pages
Published September 15th 2008 by Tachyon Publications (first published January 1st 2008)
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 ·  1,446 ratings  ·  128 reviews

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Sep 19, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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
May 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Some interesting food for thought, but references to outdated sites and equipment (like AltaVista and texting using cell phone digits) make it feel less relevant today.
Jan 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 27, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Stacy Taylor
Mar 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, 2010
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
West Hartford Public Library
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: glenn
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
Didn't know that DRM is a bad solution, but the games industry seems to have it really tight. Very interesting concept from the author to allow electronic content to be accessible freely but to charge on hard copy printed books, cause what the author implies with the ideas in his book is that once content is published electronically it is close to impossible to try and manage sharing and consumption rights, and with this idea we all should rethink what digitisation means and what content means a ...more
Jun 09, 2017 rated it really liked it

A good collection of essays, speeches, and other proposals on DRM, copyrights, the future of books, and other things in relation to the arts and technology. Opened some thoughts on digital rights, whether it's smart to put novels and stories out there for free versus forcing them to pay for everything, and everything else. Along with other nonfiction books for writers such as Karr, King, and Strunk, I'd recommend this book on the reality of art's changing demographic and how an artist,
Gena Kukartsev
Mar 26, 2019 rated it liked it
The second collection of essays from Cory doctors that I read in short succession, the first was Information does not want to be free. It is very entertaining and somewhat insightful but it overlaps quite a bit with the first book, and some of the restaurant are pretty dated at 10-15 years old.

Still very good though
Rachel Ayers
May 08, 2020 rated it liked it
For some reason when I started this, I thought it was a much newer collection. Fascinating to see how some of these things have played out over the last decade (especially the book of faces) but I would also really like to read the version of this book that came out in the last year or so.
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
I liked “Little Brother” and I recognize Cory Doctorow as a sort of patron-saint of open-source (or probably more correctly free-use). I'm almost through this. I like it. Small digestible chunks of advocacy for free-use and arguments against copyright and DRM and other crap. ...more
Aug 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A bestseller by the most popular postwar writer for children of all ages.
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Ponts for the message, especially with hindsight, but my ears hurt from the constant drum-banging...
Feb 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Good but a bit dated.
Jul 22, 2019 rated it liked it
One of the best, most clear set of reasons and reflections I’ve ever read. Everything he writes is brilliant.
A Storied Soul
Nov 07, 2015 rated it liked it
I first want to say that I do not normally publish reviews on any sort of politically-based non-fiction–I’ve only done it once as far as I remember, and that was for Malala Yousafzai’s I Am Malala–but I felt Cory Doctorow’s essay collection, Content, merited a write-up for a few reasons. Reason one is the relevancy of the subjects covered in this collection. In the midst of a public scandal and fallout between Apple and the FBI regarding the San Bernadino terrorist’s “locked” iPhone and Apple’s ...more
Shweta  Bharati
Jan 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Teo 2050


Doctorow C (2008) (07:03) Content - Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future

Foreword for Content | John Perry Barlow

01. Microsoft Research DRM Talk
• DRM systems don’t work
• DRM systems are bad for society
• DRM systems are bad for biz
• DRM systems are bad for artists
• DRM is a bad business move for MSFT

02. The DRM Sausage Factory

03. Happy Meal Toys versus Copyright: How America Chose Hollywood and Wal-Mart, and Why It’s Doomed
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
Gareth Otton
Content by Cory Doctorow suffered from the same problems as other collections of essays and articles that I have read, mainly repetitiveness and a lack of overall message.

Being as each article in its original format needs to be self-contained, it becomes obvious why an author might have to reintroduce a subject time and again. This is where I think that these books fail.

If you want to collect various essays and articles into a single book then I think it would be more beneficial to edit each a
Jul 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
I felt that there was a frustrating amount of repetition around halfway through the book (which, listening to it on audiobook, I couldn't even skim over). Each essay had something new and interesting to contribute, but it was tedious listening to the exact same ideas and examples over and over again. Writing a book based on the essays, instead of just copying them directly, would have been more interesting. It's like he wanted to share his ideas with a wider audience, but without taking any time ...more
Aug 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Lauren Ruth
Nov 19, 2012 rated it liked it
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
In this collection of essays, originally released In a variety of publications, Doctorow argues eloquently for a freer digital society. As a successful sci-fi author who shares all of his books for free on his website, he is an icon of forward-thinking geeky awesome. And he makes a compelling argument. In the world he envisions, the gatekeepers and regulators of information have receded, creating a golden age of knowledge and expression.

Why, he asks, should the fact that a book is digital mean
Sep 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Ravi Warrier
Jan 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is old. Well, in the technology world, 8 years is old. But, as with great books, age never affects the impact of the story and lessons the book tries to give to its readers.

I'm not entirely sure what genre this book falls into. It's a book that cuts across categories and perhaps even creates a few of its own. I've possibly read only 5-6 such books and maybe I should create categories for them. (Are 'whistle-blowing', or, 'shattering-illusions', categories?)

There is a lot that's wrong w
Matheus Freitas
Sep 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
   It already starts off amazingly well. The preface, was dope! It roles pretty much the same as Information Doesn't Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age. The examples of Cory Doctorow are, always, very lucid and enlightening.

   I loved this book: it's short, direct, informative and smooth. The reading gave me the slight idea that would be better to read Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future, before Information Doesn't Want to Be Free
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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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