Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free | Cory Doctorow

Summary of: Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age
By: Cory Doctorow


Dive into the dynamic world of the internet age where artists, record labels, and copyright law meet head-on. In the book summary of ‘Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age’ by Cory Doctorow, we explore the profound impact of the internet on how we access and consume creative content. The crucial themes highlighted include the still-prevalent willingness to pay for quality content, the pitfalls of ineffective digital locks, the battle between censorship and the free internet, and the need to rethink copyright in a time when users have such easy access to reproduced material.

The Art of Art in the Age of the Internet

The rise of the internet has drastically altered the way creative content is accessed and consumed. Record labels and copyright laws have lost their stronghold, and independent artists can achieve immense success. However, the internet’s impact does not equate to the inability of artists to earn money from their content. People still want to pay for quality content, and the internet has made it easier for art lovers to directly support the creators. While free access is becoming the norm, paying for art is not an outdated concept. The internet provides a platform for artists to reach a wider audience, making it a favorable tool for the creative industry.

The flawed promise of digital locks

The use of digital locks to protect content has become popular, but they are neither secure nor beneficial to content creators. Digital locks can be easily hacked, allowing widespread pirating and sharing of copyrighted material, rendering the locks useless. Also, creators who use digital locks give control of their content to middlemen who can distribute it as they want, leaving the creators vulnerable to unfair treatment. A case in point is Hachette, one of the largest book publishers in the world, which lost access to all its books on Amazon Kindle after Amazon demanded an unfair contract renegotiation. Digital locks, as they exist, are of no benefit to content creators and can be detrimental to them.

Digital Locks: A Gateway for Hackers

Digital locks are not only ineffective but also serve as gateways for hackers and viruses. Companies use hidden software, commonly known as rootkits, to tap into users’ systems and prevent unauthorized access. Unfortunately, this practice makes their customers’ computers vulnerable to malicious attacks from hackers and creators of malware and spyware. An example of this is Sony BMG’s 2005 rootkit scandal, where customers who played an audio CD unknowingly installed the rootkit, making their computers susceptible to hackers and other cyber-criminals. Another case involves a Pennsylvania school that distributed laptops to students, pre-installed with hidden software that gave remote access to the camera, allowing unauthorized pictures. Such vulnerability to cyber threats emphasizes the need for caution against digital locks.

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