Miskatonic University Press

Access 2009, Thursday #1: Cory Doctorow


The first talk at Access 2009, early in the morning of Thursday 1 October, was by Cory Doctorow. Like all the talks it was recorded, and for fun I'll include embed the video here.

You can also just download the audio.

Peter Zimmerman blogged this talk and all the others. My notes:

Old visions of networks and Internet as just hyper versions of what we already had, with more TV and movie stars.

"We have forever traded quality and reliability for price, access, and customizabilty."

"Content isn't king, conversation is." That's why the telecommunications industry is bigger than the entertainment industry.

Telcos calling the shots and setting the laws now, which means trouble.

Discussion of culture and industry and ownership. Rules vary from country to country. Parody right in US but not Canada/UK. South African laws inhibit making alternate versions of even out of copyright books for the blind. Search engines probably illegal in Europe.

Regulatory system for big companies, making lots of copies of things with big machines, being shoehorned to fit regular people who can't get through a day without copying. His examples: finding NHS information about what it means when a kid has little pink polka-dots, birthday calls from relatives, all affected by copyright law. Obama doing fireside chats on YouTube, regulated by copyright.

Copyright continues to be made as industrial rules for industrial players. Copyright should regulate what industries do, not what you and I do.

Cory likes copyright, but he doesn't want the same rules he uses with his publisher to apply to his readers.

Copyright's purpose is to ensure that the largest number of people have the most amount of participation.

Librarians have powerful voices to speak out about this: very respected by everyone, our goal of universal access to all human knowledge is a fundamental human goal, everyone knows we're not getting rich on it, so we speak as an "unimpeachable force for moral good."

On a question about a phony trade war with China and how much we buy from them: "Our factories can't be converted back from executive lofts."

Shell isn't an oil company, it's an IT company that moves oil. Shell without the Internet is "just a hole in the ground with some guns around it." MacDonald's isn't a hamburger company, it's an IT company that sells hamburgers.

The future is more IT and better supply chains.

"The coin through which you level up in the great game that is academe is citation."