Thursday, 17 April 2008

Free Culture and Free Content

I am always interested in getting something for nothing - who isn't? It seems that advocate of the Free Culture movement, Lawrence Lessig is offering a free e-version of his book on the subject here. It's well worth a read.

If that wasn't enough, the Pirate Bay is (legitimately) hosting two e-books which might interest Apple fans. The Cult of Mac and The Cult of Ipod are written by Wired editor Leander Kahney and are being distributed by No Starch Press. Why are they doing this you might ask? This if from them:
It's no secret that content providers have mixed feelings about file sharing. But rather than worrying ourselves sick over it, we're experimenting with something different here: Free, publisher-provided torrents. So enjoy the book, seed the book, tell your friends about it even. And if you like what you read, please consider buying the dead-tree version. The book looks great in print, and it's available for purchase just about anywhere.
It's seems a similar philosophy is at work in both these offers - if you like go buy it. It's an idea often toted by music pirates who claim to try before they buy, and seems to have something similar to what Matt Mason identifies as the Pirates Dilemma. If you can't beat them join them? Well, not quite but Mason claims businesses should be paying attention to what pirates are doing, not to penalise them, but to learn from them so as to best compete.

You will need a BitTorrent client like Azureus, Transmission or µTorrent to download the ebooks.

Danah Boyd has discussed her objections to the locked down nature of academic writing on the basis that not many people will ever get to read work in obscure journals in this blog post.


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