Cory Doctorow Explains Why 'Free' Isn't His Concern; But Restrictions On Individual Rights Are

from the pay-attention dept

We had already covered Guardian columnist Helienne Lindvall's absolutely ridiculous and logically tortured attack on people who recognize the value of "free," by mocking them for charging people to speak at their events. We already explained how misguided such an argument is, but one of the people she specifically called out, Cory Doctorow, had responded in a detailed manner in the comments, pointing out that Lindvall's claims about his own speaking fees were flat-out wrong, and the vast majority of his speaking is for free. He's now written a full response to Lindvall that is absolutely worth reading. You can skip over the stuff at the beginning about his "speaking" fees, and get down to the meat of the topic in the second half of the article.

Doctorow points out the simple fact that he doesn't tell people they should give away their works for free. He just points out that it's worked quite well for him, and he notes that if you understand the market, it makes a lot of sense. However, if you can figure out a way to do it differently, then go ahead. He just doesn't think it will work. But, what others do concerning what they charge isn't really a concern to him. Then he gets to what he really focuses on, related to this topic:
But here's what I do care about. I care if your plan involves using "digital rights management" technologies that prohibit people from opening up and improving their own property; if your plan requires that online services censor their user submissions; if your plan involves disconnecting whole families from the internet because they are accused of infringement; if your plan involves bulk surveillance of the internet to catch infringers, if your plan requires extraordinarily complex legislation to be shoved through parliament without democratic debate; if your plan prohibits me from keeping online videos of my personal life private because you won't be able to catch infringers if you can't spy on every video.
From there, he details the various plans in various countries to kick people off the internet and to censor the internet, all in some misguided attempt to hold back what technology allows, so that a few people can try to pretend that they can avoid economics. And that, reasonably, bothers him.

It's a fantastic response (not that you would have expected much less), though I doubt that will stop anyone who already wants to deny reality from simply claiming that Cory and others like him are telling everyone they "should" give away their works for free.
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Filed Under: civil rights, cory doctorow, free, rights


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  1. identicon
    Bob, 6 Oct 2010 @ 2:08pm

    Re: Re: It's OK to "hold off what technology allows"

    Mr. Doctorow is fighting against those who would install engine governors to prevent 100mph speeds, even if those governors would prohibit legitimate uses, such as driving on the German autobahn.



    Actually, his battle is broader. In this analogy, he would be screaming the radar speed guns and the cops on motorcycles. They would be fascists who prevent people from using all of the features of the new technology. These speeders might be discovering something new, after all, even if they're endangering others.

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