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Manual Information Doesnt Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age

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Open Rights Group, he lives in London.

Amanda Palmer rose to fame as the lead singer, pianist, and lyricist for the acclaimed band The Dresden Dolls, and performs as a solo artist as well as collaborating with artists including Jonathan Richman and her husband, author Neil Gaiman. She is the author of The Art of Asking. Search eBooks. Theme by Devsaran. 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.


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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 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.

He explained the title in his last essay, but man if I didn't know who Cory Doctorow was there is a good chance that I would have skipped this book. Aug 15, Donna 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.

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

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. Aug 07, Bart Carter 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. Mar 20, Clint rated it it was amazing Shelves: 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 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. This book tends to focus on art and how it has to be seen in a world of endless copying, and world of decreasing "scarcity," is how I think Cory Doctorow put it in another book this is apparently a theme with him. I myself am something of a collector, and it's something that I have never been able to explain, why do I like my first editions, why do I treasure my Christian Death boxed 7-inches set?

And the digital revolution was is something I have never liked for some reason. I was the last person I knew to have a cell phone, the last person I knew to have a DVD player, but one of the first I knew to have a CD player, for some reason. Anyway, there is always this sick feeling of watching the old things, the old models, fall away. But the author reminds us, this has been going on since the Catholics lost control of the Bible with the invention of the printing press and the rise of Protestantism, when the bible was no longer controlled by just a few people, but was in the hands of millions, in languages they could understand.

The beautiful cathedrals of the old school which took thousands of people generations to create were replaced by thatch-roofed local churches, but with that fall in power and grandeur came freedom, which people have almost always overwhelmingly chose. The thing that, as of this writing March happened a few weeks ago in America about net neutrality, I was always for getting the fucking government out of everything, the internet included, why should the government get to order around an internet provider and tell them who they have to service everyone and for how much the same price and at what speed the same speed?

Well, me not really being interested in computers in general, I probably didn't know enough about it in the first place, but this book also made a good point that appeals to the psycho libertarian in me, these telecommunication companies have already had TONS of government help when it came to by-passing property laws, running wires through public and private places, etc. Well put, dude. This book has tons of examples and hypothetical scenarios to illustrate his points, the main one of which is copyright laws need to be changed in order to protect the future freedom of humans and that's not hyperbole, I'm convinced of it now, and I went into the book with a really sarcastic view of the importance of the internet.

I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in the politics of freedom, the internet, copyright, records, books, movies, inventions, art, etc. View 2 comments. Mar 19, Gordon 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. These barriers are everything from digital rights management, censorship, taking an e 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.

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

These barriers are everything from digital rights management, censorship, taking an exorbitantly large share of the revenues, etc. Doctorow's thesis is that intermediaries are essential -- especially if the artist doesn't want to be a jack-of-all-trades who masters everything from contract law to book cover design -- but that they become an obstacle when they become restrictive corporate juggernauts.

In particular, he hates every kind of copy restriction method, on the grounds that they never work for long, and simply create a habit among users of stealing content without payment while providing no long term benefit. Doctorow's best metaphor he excels at this is to explain two content distribution alternative business models this way: they are like the different reproduction strategies of large mammals vs. An elephant has very few offspring but takes careful care of each one. A dandelion spreads its seed indiscriminately and in large numbers, relying on those large numbers to overcome the high attrition rate of those seeds.

Similarly, some artists such as musicians take the dandelion approach and put out their music free to all, counting on voluntary contributions and on building a platform for other sales opportunities e. Some artists are more elephant-like, and resort to highly restrictive distribution strategies: content is only available in copy-protected form, and can only be purchased through such channels as iTunes.

The dandelion and the elephant -- it's a great metaphor. The author also extends his worldview beyond just looking out for the best interests of content creators the artists. He is just as concerned with benefits to end-users.

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He wants to maximize choice, ensure free access to information, and escape the potentially repressive control of governments. He particularly worries about governments doing the bidding of corporations to protect one-sided intellectual property rights, or else just controlling information flow as a way to keep those governments in power think China, or North Korea, or Egypt. I liked a lot of aspects of the organization of the book. Short chapters, lots of sidebars with more anecdotes or details for inquiring minds, and a simple overall structure of three parts, each devoted to one of "Doctorow's Laws".

The major failing of the book is that it is very weak on numbers. I have no read idea if the revenue of media intermediaries is rising or falling, if artists are seeing more or less of the industry revenue, or many other such basic business facts. A lot of his elegantly argued theses become very hard to evaluate without this kind of data. But if you want good, lively writing, along with the passionate views of an activist, this is a great read.

Mar 21, Ross Blocher 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.

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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 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.

The stakes are high, and the power that we allow publishers and intermediaries to exercise in regulating content use has consequences affecting society beyond the confines of entertainment media. Learn what the existing laws do, what problems they were created to solve, whose interests they protect, and what their implications are for the future. It's a surprisingly quick, readable and engaging book, given the complexity it addresses. Doctorow is well-suited to understand this tangled system of publishers and platforms, with a CV including: programmer, work with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, best-selling author of fiction and non-fiction, chief contributor to one of the world's most popular blogs Boing Boing , an honorary PhD in Computer Sciences, and delegate to the United Nations World Intellectual Property Organization.

Would recommend but exalted-hyperbolized-street-corner-preacher's manner can and does make the text difficult to follow. Jun 05, Clara Biesel 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. Feb 06, Kent Beck 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. Apr 06, Dar rated it it was amazing Shelves: nonfiction , information. 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! Dec 24, Arunkrishnan 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.

But we need to decide what kind of regulation we want. The Internet can have rules that encourage centralization — rules permitting network discrimination, rules protecting digital rights management, rules providing for easy takedown — and, with them, rent- seeking, abusive sharecropping, spying, and censorship. Or it can have rules that promote an open, pluralistic, networked public space where anyone can communicate; rules that encourage disclosure of security vulnera "I'm not anti-regulation.

Or it can have rules that promote an open, pluralistic, networked public space where anyone can communicate; rules that encourage disclosure of security vulnerabilities; rules that encourage competition by allowing interop- erable products and technologies.

Maybe I should've known that form the title, but you know the old saying "Don't judge a book by it's cover", and the topic of his non-fiction book actually seemed to me like it would make an interesting topic for a sci-fi story. Anyway, it was also read by Wil Wheaton. It's all about modern copyright law and enforcement, Digital Rights Management technologies and their problems!

Jul 22, Songhua 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 This was a fascinating read for me as it challenged my thoughts on piracy.

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 aspects to be explored. Some thought-provoking points for me: Do current anti-piracy measures really protect all stakeholders as they have claimed, or just the interests of certain groups?

Is the creative industry really dying, when we actually have so much more content produced in the Internet today, and some of them even rising to be YouTube stars and celebrity bloggers? Or perhaps what is really dying is the old business model that the creative industry had been sticking to? How can the industry then adapt to today's digital age, where information is free-flowing? Mar 01, Andrea Hickman Walker rated it it was amazing Shelves: literature , politics , science , philosophy , law , non-fiction , art.

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 This has taken me a long time to get through for the simple reason that I had to keep putting it down. Copying is easy, and will only get easier, so copying will continue to happen. Instead of trying to legislate copying, make there an easy way for people to pay the creators small amounts for copying, and your problem is mostly solved. Jun 11, Mykal Lefevre 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.

Mar 14, Keith Swenson 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, , or 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 There is no question that all business around media has gone from an economy of scarcity to an economy of abundance.

But here we are, mired in laws formed 50, , or 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 worth the bother of figuring out how much it costs to access it.

I recently re-read some science fiction written in the 's and 's and those futuristic visions never even considered that email might be cheaper than physical mail. Cory Doctorow lays out a path to where we are going with three "laws" 1.

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Anytime someone puts a lock on something that belongs to you and won't give you the key, that lock isn't there for your benefit. Copyright used to protect works of art, but now it mainly protects the locking algorithms that the distributions companies use. But copy protection does not work for a very simple reason: our computers are general purpose computers, and there simply is no way to distribute content to people and to prevent distribution at the same time.

He gives some great example of how content protection actually ends up being worse than no protection. Fame won't make you rich, but you can't get paid without it. Copy protection might be needed for the famous, it serves only to keep the non-famous obscure. If you are not known, then copy protection is surely doing you more harm than good. Information doesn't want to be free, people do. He calls it "copyfight". The punishments for violation have gotten so outrageous that the harm is greater than any possible benefit.

There is so much to gain from the free exchange of information of all types and so much to lose by blocking it. The scientific community has always had a motivation to make scientific results freely available to everyone. You did not see Newton threatening people with lawsuits if they used his laws of motion in another context. Pascal did not threatened people for using his formulation of the scientific method.


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Louis Pasteur did not try to lock down who would get access to methods for sterilizing medical implements. Imagine how many people would have died if these people had attempt to extract a rent from the results of their work. Printing was a means to get information to other people.

There was a lot of money to be made in printing and distributing. Imagine who is harmed by the ability to distribute anywhere in the world, instantly, for free. You can bet they are not going to go down without a fight. And that is really where we are today: huge copyfights based on ideas from the 18th century about how intellectual property should be handled.

Established culture says that owners have a right to protect their property, even if doing so destroys the block at the same time. Let's regulate them as the building blocks of the information age. We need a kind of copyright that is designed to "treat copying as a fact. Everyone pays as if it was a tax and they get in return the right to play as much music as they want, from any any source, on any device.

We use analytics and statistical sampling to figure out who is being played, and how much. It is not inconceivable that music players would "report" who they play simply for the good will to give that artist the credit. If you have already paid for a blanket license, then letting the evil overlords know which song you play seems like a charitable act.

It is an arms race that is wasteful and futile. Cory wants us to move from a world where all the movies are produced by six companies, to a world where there are millions of independent people making movies. It is a radical idea. Yet an idea with vision and hope. Oct 25, Robert rated it really liked it Shelves: xseason.

Breaking down complex and obscure policy arguments into something understandable and interesting is a rare skill, and Doctorow has it. Jul 16, Melissa rated it really liked it Shelves: libraries , nonfiction.