Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Giving it away for free ...

Cory Doctrow is a blogger, activist, novelist and entrepreneur who advocates for radically transparent and accessible art and information. The blog kottke.org has an interview in which he ranges widely across the landscape of publishing, copyright, authority and accountability.

Amongst many occupations, Cory writes science fiction novels (often very good ones, in my view) and gives away digital copies while selling printed books. Here's a taste of his reasoning – in this case specifically focused on the art of fiction writing but applicable, I think, to what we do:

... we live in a century in which copying is only going to get easier. It's the 21st century, there's not going to be a year in which it's harder to copy than this year; there's not going to be a day in which it's harder to copy than this day; from now on. Right? If copying gets harder, it's because of a nuclear holocaust. There's nothing else that's going to make copying harder from now on. And so, if your business model and your aesthetic effect in your literature and your work is intended not to be copied, you're fundamentally not making art for the 21st century. It might be quaint, it might be interesting, but it's not particularly contemporary to produce art that demands these constraints from a bygone era.

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