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Through his work on the blog Boing Boing as well as through organizations like the Electronic Frontiers Foundation, the author Cory Doctorow has emerged as one of the most prominent copyright activists in the world. Thus it is noteworthy to hear that the "copyfighter" Cory has recently used twitter to attack the slogan "Information wants to be free," a rallying cry for many who resist Internet-era copyright and patent laws. His tweets on the subject are like a series of argumentative haiku:

  • “Information wants 2B free” is no more the rallying cry of free culture than “Kill whitey” is the basis of civil rights movement…
  • “Information wants to be free” is lazy, stupid shorthand for a complex and nuanced discussion that can be readily found…
  • Example: Copyfighters don’t want open gov-data because “info wants to be free.” They want it because they paid for it with tax…
  • Copyfighters don’t want the right to excerpt and quote b/c info wants to be free – it’s b/c this is the basis of all discourse …
  • Copyfighters don’t want the right to build on earlier works b/c “info wants to be free”—it’s b/c that's how all creativity starts…

"Lazy, stupid shorthand" — that's harsh, especially for such a popular slogan. Do you agree? 

(Thanks to our friends at Utne Reader for the tip.)

New to copyright issues? Have some time on your hands? You might watch this 90-minute film, Rip: A Remix Manifesto, which features Cory and provides an ideal overview of the issues surrounding twenty-first-century copyright law and cultural sharing:

Jeremy Adam Smith

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeremy Adam Smith

Jeremy Adam Smith is the editor who helped launch Shareable.net. He's the author of The Daddy Shift (Beacon Press, June 2009); co-editor of The Compassionate Instinct (W.W. Norton


Things I share: Mainly babysitting with other parents! I also share all the transportation I can, through bikes and buses and trains and carpooling.