Information Doesn't Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age
This is an if-you're-not-outraged-you're-not-paying-attention manifesto. Doctorow's thesis is that current copyright law is (a) ill-suited to digital content, (b) designed to protect middlemen, rather than creators, and (c) EVIL EVIL EVIL.
It's a good read--full of blood-pressure-raising anecdotes, forceful analogies, sharply-argued case studies, and general get-off-my-lawn crankiness. A representative and very apposite quote: "Obscurity is a bigger problem for authors than piracy". As the proprietor of this here extremely-obscure blog (see description above), I entirely agree. Content consumers--so Doctorow proposes--are happy to pay content creators directly, given the opportunity, which is why distributors and merchandisers are furiously running around passing ever-more-intrusive, ever-less-enforceable laws to restrict the possibility. Those of us who labor in wholly-unmerited anonymity have more to gain than to lose.
Well, maybe so. I'm no fan of the heavy-handed way that major corporations have gutted, subverted, and generally bought out what was originally a fairly equitable U.S. copyright system. I'm nonetheless skeptical that Doctorow's prospective infotopia will necessarily usher in a magical golden age of sparkly happy unicorns and file sharing. What does seem evident is that things will change ... and people--creators, investors, distributors, and consumers--will adapt.
Also, if anyone out there is itching to rescue me from obscurity in exchange for large sums of money, I'm ready to talk.