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Flog of the Prokonsul

Internet fluency, digital governance and Wikipedia propaganda. You have been warned.

Monday, November 12, 2007

On free culture, copyright and ebooks

Last time in class I mentioned how free ebooks are changing the traditional way printed media are distributed. On one level, it's strange. Why would you want to give away your works for free?

The answer is: to avoid obscurity. To turn the 'free riders' into viral marketers. And to attract people to other stuff you don't give away for free. Check out Baen's Books publishing strategy or the rationale for why Cory Doctorow, a popular sci-fi writer, is giving away his books for free. Finally, there is also a great series of essays by another sci-fi writer, a driving force behind Bean's Books strategy, Eric Flint - Salvos Against Big Brother.

Another thing worth reading are the great 19th century speeches by Macaulay on copyright law.

All things considered, I believe that the war between proprietary and free culture is one of the most important struggles of today. If we lose it, the world of tomorrow will be little better than the totalitarian world of Soviet or Nazi victories. If you think I am exaggerating... watch Blade Runner. Or read a Shadowrun novel. Yes, it's fiction. Scary fiction. Do you want our future to look like that?



At 3:48 PM, Anonymous Denise said...

Loved the posting. Thats all.


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