Jack Covert Selects

Information Doesn't Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age

November 14, 2014


Cory Doctorow's new book is for those in the "creative industries" and, really, nowadays aren't we all?

Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age by Cory Doctorow, McSweeeney’s, 192 pages, $22.00, Hardcover, November 2014, ISBN 9781940450285

Cory Doctorow is one of the leading thinkers on copyright, intellectual property, and the economics of creative work. Perhaps best known for his young adult novels, he has also written many novels for adults and two other books, Content and Context, that could be considered the first two parts in a non-fiction trilogy with this new book that show the progression of his thinking on subjects he’s become a de facto spokesman for. This book, for artists and others in the “creative industries,” has implications for anybody in any business—and aren’t we all?


This book is about the reality, today, of the Internet and the regulations that surround it, and the ways those regulations shape successful strategies for earning a creative wage. It is also a book about the profound pitfalls both creators … and their investors … fall prey to, when it comes to getting their work out into the world.

Along the way, you’ll also delve into larger issues that stretch your thinking—like what now constitutes a free press:


A “free press” means more than “You are free to hand-write your message in scraps of paper and hand them to people”—it requires access to the full range of press technologies and that includes the Internet.


This is why “The UN, the EU, Finland, and many other governmental entities describe Internet access as a human right.” And while that may not be directly relevant to your business if you’re not in the press or publishing, it provides fuel for a train of thought that can take you places that are very relevant to it.

But why am I recommending a book ostensibly for artists and their investors to a general business audience in the first place? As a spouse to a freelance photographer, I know first-hand that artists in business for themselves have to act as marketer, salespeople, and the CEO of their work. Because of this, there are lessons in the reading that will be applicable to almost any aspect of a business, and very specifically to business in the Internet Age.

For that reason, we recently placed this book on the General Business shortlist of our 2014 800-CEO-READ Business Books Awards instead of on the Creativity & Innovation list. The book is not about how to be creative, after all, but how to navigate the current environment and earn a living in it. Salesman and marketers will find endless lessons in this book about how to market and sell their products, and the heads of companies of all sizes would do well to read this book, as well. Because, nowadays, whether we’re making “art,” widgets, or writing code, we are all in creative industries.

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