Thursday, April 20, 2006

the free future and the tortuous present

I'm a slow digital immigrant and Cory Doctorow is a very fast native / talker. He is a very powerful, articulate and rapid speaker. He went at 100mph with good jokes thrown in too. He spoke about Digital Rights Management - "what technology gives, technology takes away". The latest legal and technological moves and counter moves.

His general line was that DRM was a lousy business model because it criminalises the population, pisses off customers, does not work very well technically, is bad science (avoids critical scrutiny by legal means) and doesn't stop copying anyway.

But something was missing. He was stuck in the present talking about business model wars. That the copyfighters had a very bad model. That creative commons (release electronic copy for free at the same time as publishing hard copy for money) was a much better model.

After thinking about Cory's Melbourne talk my question for him is this:

You are a science fiction writer. You imagine futures in some detail. What you imagine about the future comes from somewhere. It comes from the present. You observe things in the present, pick up on some ideas and trends and exptrapolate those into the future. You write about futures where there is no material want, where immortality is a practical possibility and the main human struggle centres around reputation (wuffie). Your future has wings. Call this State B.

You are an EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) and DRM (Digital Rights Management) activist. This situates you very much in the present and you are aware in exquisite detail of the legal and technical situation of the current intense battle between those who want freedom and those who stand for reaction. This is a tortuous and painful nitty gritty struggle of attrition. The present is a grind. Call this state A.

How are we going to get from State A to State B?


Blogger Bill Kerr said...

I sent my question to cory's craphound email account and received this reply within an hour. I think he's framed it clearly in a way that links the technology to ownership and control as the basis for a mass movement. It's a question and answer I'd like to discuss more.

Hey, Bill! The trick wil be to build political consciousness around
technological liberty. First we have to frame this question for what it is: the struggle to define whether technology is controlled by its owner, or whether it controls its owner. We build mass movements around this question, which has real legs: technology to empower, not
eslave. We enlist competitive tech companies, activists of all stripes, and carriers, artists, etc in fighting against enslavement by tech, and then we win.

Ghandi: First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then you win.


9:14 PM  
Blogger alexanderhayes said...

Cool post. Indeed Cory speaks as fast as we do.

4:38 PM  
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