The March Book Club Selection: Information Doesn’t Want to be Free

March is the month of the NICAR conference, and we're setting aside time in Denver to meet and discuss Information Doesn't Want to be Free: Laws for the Internet Age by Cory Doctorow.

Wil Wheaton read the audiobook version of IDWtbF, and Doctorow has posted the first chapter for free listening. The book is also available in hardcover and Kindle versions through Amazon. It centers on discussion and examples of Doctorow's three laws for the Internet age:

  1. Anytime someone puts a lock on something that belongs to you and won't give you the key, that lock isn't there for your benefit.
  2. Fame won't make you rich, but you can't get paid without it.
  3. Information doesn't want to be free; people do.

At 192 pages, we hope the book is short enough to read (or listen to!) before you get to Denver. If you don't have time to finish the book, we're going to focus discussion on the second law.

Meetup time and location is Thursday, March 10, from 2:15 to 3:15 p.m in Colorado A. Follow @newsnerdbooks on Twitter for updates! We'll also update this post with more information as the time comes.

Update, March 1: Book Club will be held during the conversations track, will last an hour, and there is a code of conduct. We're trying to find a source of good pie in Denver. If you find one, let us know at or by tweeting @innnerds.

Update, March 4: Book Club will meet Thursday, March 10, from  2:15 to 3:15 p.m. Look for us in the official NICAR schedule! We'll try to have a Cliffs-Notes version of the book up by then.

Update, March 9: Book Club will meet in Colorado A. If you haven't had the opportunity to finish the book yet, here's some reading notes. There's also a public notepad for the discussion.

A list of other NICAR 2016 conversations.

The publisher's blurb:

In sharply argued, fast-moving chapters, Cory Doctorow’s Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free takes on the state of copyright and creative success in the digital age. Can small artists still thrive in the Internet era? Can giant record labels avoid alienating their audiences? This is a book about the pitfalls and the opportunities that creative industries (and individuals) are confronting today — about how the old models have failed or found new footing, and about what might soon replace them.

An essential read for anyone with a stake in the future of the arts, Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free offers a vivid guide to the ways creativity and the Internet interact today, and to what might be coming next.

From an excerpt posted at NPR:

Copyright's test for industrial activity — are you making or handling a copy? — is no longer a good way to sort entertainment-industry transactions from personal, cultural, private activity. Insisting that normal people, doing normal things, should be able to navigate a system designed for a big, sophisticated industry is a fool's errand.

From the Kirkus starred review:

These aren’t the wild-eyed proclamations that arose from the Occupy movement or the hysteria that seems to surround Edward Snowden, whom Doctorow touches on only briefly here. Instead, the author advocates for a liberalized system of copyright laws that finally admits that the Internet, for all its virtues and diverse purposes, is nothing but one great big copy machine, and it’s not going away.