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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

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  1,050 Ratings  ·  116 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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May 22, 2011 Nikki 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
Nov 09, 2011 Alessandro rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 26, 2009 Desiree 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 Brian 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
Jan 21, 2017 Colleendearborn rated it really liked it
Love hearing his ideas via books and podcasts. Got this one through Hoopla.
Apr 06, 2016 TheLiterarium 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
Feb 01, 2012 Shweta Bharati 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
Sep 09, 2016 Cale rated it liked it
Cory Doctorow's essay are fairly prescient in their conceptions of Copyright and Digital copying and other similar topics. The essays are clear and concise, and relatively varied in their topics, although all definitely fit in to the corner of technology and literature. One thing I will say, these essays weren't written to be read together, which means a number of them have overlaps and redundant quotes and points. It's good in moderation, but it's not really something to sit down and read strai ...more
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
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
Mar 05, 2010 Dan 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
Lauren Ruth
Nov 19, 2012 Lauren Ruth 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 06, 2009 Brendan 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
Apr 28, 2012 Phil 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
Matheus Freitas
Sep 21, 2016 Matheus Freitas 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: Laws
Sep 13, 2009 Alexandra 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 10, 2011 Raj 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
Ravi Warrier
Feb 11, 2016 Ravi Warrier 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
Mike Ehlers
Apr 17, 2010 Mike Ehlers rated it really liked it
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
Glenn Williams
Sep 22, 2011 Glenn Williams rated it it was ok
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
Content provides a series of various articles and presentations by one of the leading fighters for change in Copyright, Cory Doctorow. One of the pioneers in releasing media under Creative Commons licenses, both novels and collections. In content, you see a variety of topics covered, from Facebook, to RSS, to especially focusing on the culture of new technologies. Us geeks in the sci-fi world!

One of the best speeches in this collection is the one in which he gives at Microsoft regarding DRM, or
Sep 19, 2010 David rated it liked it
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
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
Stacy Taylor
Jan 08, 2012 Stacy Taylor 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
Eric Juneau
Nov 04, 2013 Eric Juneau rated it liked it
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
May 16, 2011 Glenn rated it it was amazing
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
John Orman
Mar 26, 2014 John Orman rated it really liked it
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
Jul 15, 2010 Al rated it it was amazing
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
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Goodreads Librari...: This topic has been closed to new comments. Copyright infiringement 6 240 Feb 26, 2014 09:58PM  
  • The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World
  • The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind
  • Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How It Threatens Creativity
  • The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet
  • The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom
  • The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It
  • How to Fix Copyright
  • Free as in Freedom: Richard Stallman's Crusade for Free Software
  • Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership
  • Glut: Mastering Information through the Ages
  • The Pirate's Dilemma: How Youth Culture Is Reinventing Capitalism
  • The Wikipedia Revolution: How a Bunch of Nobodies Created the World's Greatest Encyclopedia
  • The Art of Immersion: How the Digital Generation Is Remaking Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and the Way We Tell Stories
  • The Art of Community: Building the New Age of Participation
  • Freedom of Expression: Resistance and Repression in the Age of Intellectual Property
  • Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide
  • Who Controls the Internet?: Illusions of a Borderless World
  • The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom
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 ...more
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“s security expert Bruce Schneier has said, "Making bits harder to copy is like making water that's less wet.” 6 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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