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.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: civil rights, cory doctorow, free, rights

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    NAMELESS.ONE, 6 Oct 2010 @ 7:11am

    I like hte jutice league animations dealing with lawyers

    if your a lawyer and you fail you get the same sentence as the accused, same goes for prosecution....

    ALSO his buddy Geist seems to be AOK as well with hardware based DRM i had huge argument with geist his lawyer buddy after a year ago at that TPM's are just hardware based drm. IT culminated with a post about a Nazi Stalinist style warrant less search and seizure law the conservatives were tabling, which i took a nick "Hitler would be proud" and then commented that this nazi piece a garbage should be tossed back where the conservatives crawled out from. I got banned for that from posting ever there.....

    these two think they know wtf but really they just use lawyery twist ties.

    Geist has admitted hes in tight with the eff , you think good right? WELL it did jack shit for the americans and the DMCA.....and of late i see more and more shills posting at geists site as the rest of us move on ....

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Insider Shop - Show Your Support!

Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.