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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old Aug 12th, 2012, 02:38 PM Thread Starter
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"Information wants to be free"

"Information wants to be free." An oft-quoted phrase, almost a mantra for many. I was surprised to find that it was taken from a quote which, taken in context, gives a completely different viewpoint to the one represented by the well-known (isolated) sentence.

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Information Wants To Be Free. Information also wants to be expensive. Information wants to be free because it has become so cheap to distribute, copy, and recombine—too cheap to meter. It wants to be expensive because it can be immeasurably valuable to the recipient. That tension will not go away. It leads to endless wrenching debate about price, copyright, ‘intellectual property’, the moral rightness of casual distribution, because each round of new devices makes the tension worse, not better.
- Stewart Brand

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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old Aug 12th, 2012, 03:38 PM
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Re: "Information wants to be free"

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Originally Posted by pov View Post

"Information wants to be free." An oft-quoted phrase, almost a mantra for many. I was surprised to find that it was taken from a quote which, taken in context, gives a completely different viewpoint to the one represented by the well-known (isolated) sentence.
Oh, the Stewart Brand of Whole Earth Catalog fame. Uh, tell me: how many royalty checks did he ever refuse, because he was in effect charging for compiling information?

And I realize that the publishers, the big book sellers, etc. often make more than the author. Which changes nothing; its like he was Orwell, saying: "Information wants 2B free... except when I sell it".

Now let's relate that to internet boards, including this one (and other commercially owned ones that bit of hypocrisy was posted on by whomever). A short quotation like that is of course Fair Use, though you should also list the source.

But what about the long articles that ppl c/p to boards? Sure they generally post links, but also articles in full, not excerpts. Sorry, but that's stealing the intellectual property of the actual writer and the publication (even an online one).
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old Aug 12th, 2012, 03:54 PM Thread Starter
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Re: "Information wants to be free"

^ All that may or may not have validity. However, it's irrelevant to the point of this thread.

Mulder: "So you're agreeing with me?"
Scully "No! You're bat-crap crazy."


Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old Aug 12th, 2012, 05:41 PM
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Re: "Information wants to be free"

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Originally Posted by pov View Post

All that may or may not have validity. However, it's irrelevant to the point of this thread.
It is totally relevant, as "information" might as well not exist, without ppl gathering it. BTW, I agree with Brand's implied premise, that "truth is an end in itself" (independent of its use). But determining truth requires, yes, in... for... mation. Again, he was paid for authoring the Whole Earth Catalog, and so are even the most leftist (professional) journalists.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old Aug 12th, 2012, 09:10 PM
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Re: "Information wants to be free"

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It is totally relevant, as "information" might as well not exist, without ppl gathering it. BTW, I agree with Brand's implied premise, that "truth is an end in itself" (independent of its use). But determining truth requires, yes, in... for... mation. Again, he was paid for authoring the Whole Earth Catalog, and so are even the most leftist (professional) journalists.
Shades of The Prisoner. "Who are you?" "You are number six." "What do you want?"
"In...for..mation."

The man that hath no music in himself, nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils. The motions of his spirit are dull as night and his affections dark as Erebus. Let no such man be trusted. Shakespeare

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