Why 'Information Wants to be Free' Is a Lazy Argument

| 2/10/2010 4:08:41 PM

Tags: Media, copyright law, Cory Doctorow,

“Information wants to be free!” It’s a mantra closely associated with copyright activists—or “copyfighters”—who rail against entities that seek to quash human creativity with copyright laws. Copyfighter Cory Doctorow insists the movement claims no ownership over the argument and very publicly distanced himself from it in a back-and-forth on Twitter today. Reading his Tweets on the subject is a little bit like listening to one side of a phone argument, but select just a few and you have a sucinct micro-essay on the impotence of “information wants to be free” as an argument to support dismantling copyright law:

“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

eric solstein
2/11/2010 2:51:14 PM

A pity the nuanced arguments (whatever they are) can't escape the gravitational field of the "information wants to be free" and other excuses for theft by 'generation-web' AND corporate interests, all happy to screw the individual creator. Sounds like Cory is starting to feel the heat from (or just like) his fellow (increasingly impoverished) writers, says this (increasingly impoverished) filmmaker.