Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Copy fight: Cory Doctorow's struggle to make books free

Last Friday morning, the writer Cory Doctorow took the stage of the Royal Ontario Museum's Bronfman Hall and, over the course of 45 minutes, delivered a lecture entitled "How to Destroy the Book." He began his keynote address of the TD National Reading Summit with an elegy to our love affair with books, before launching a blistering attack on those trying to remake copyright laws to snuff out copy and sharing culture, which he sees as the lifeblood of books. Take e-books, for example. The convoluted fine print, which runs into the thousands of words, makes clear that the reader does not own this version of the book - with the ability to, say, sell it to a second-hand bookstore - but rather "licenses" it.