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Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future Paperback – September 15, 2008

4 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Doctorow here proves he’s smart, funny, and good at accessibly boiling down issues he’s passionate about. On topics ranging from fanfic (readers’ additions to their favorite authors’ creations, usually online) to the terrible business model Microsoft presents by treating customers like potential thieves from the beginning, Doctorow moves to the forefront of conversations likely to determine how creators and audiences are able to use new technologies. He compares Internet content-management problems to similar technological snafus—such as the transition from live performance to radio, and from manuscript to printed books—and how the established order of the day reacted, demonstrating his grasp of the ways in which history repeats itself and how we can use the lessons of history to cope with further changes in the exchange of information. Doctorow excels in writing short forms, the essay no less than the short story, making this collection a pleasure to read, not to mention thought-provoking. --Regina Schroeder

Review

“Doctorow here proves he’s smart, funny, and good at accessibly boiling down issues he’s passionate about.... [A] pleasure to read, not to mention thought-provoking.”
Booklist

“...more than just insightful, brilliant, and to the point—it’s also funny and fun to read.”
Electronic Frontier Foundation

“If you want to know what’s happening at the sharp end of digital publication and new ideas about the relationships between authors and their readers—do yourself a favour and listen to what he has to say.”
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 213 pages
  • Publisher: Tachyon Publications (September 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1892391813
  • ISBN-13: 978-1892391810
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,550,455 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent way for someone relatively new to Cory's non-fiction to come up to speed quickly. A great overview of his thoughts on copyright, the Internet, and society. And even if you're a dyed-in-the-wool True Fan (like me), you'll probably find something new, and you'll definitely enjoy having the essays collected in one place. His Microsoft DRM essay is included, which is a favorite of mine. Well worth picking up if you have any interest whatsoever in topics like the future of copyright, media and the Internet, etc.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read or seen most of the material in this book online and am a big fan of Cory's work. I thought this would be a great resource to have instead of a bunch of print outs or bookmarks. Cory Doctorow has some of the best thought out arguments against DRM and for digital freedoms, pointing out tons of interesting historical examples along the way. Great read!
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Jesus, even a real writer refers to what was once a noble intellectual craft as more of a weight measurement, i.e. "we have too much CONTENT on this page. Can you shorten it?" "oh, does it read long?" "No, i didn't read it. Just shorten it." (slice of a writer's life...)

Come on Cory, make your next book a little less visionary and a little more about WRITING.
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Format: Paperback
Rating 3.5

Doctorow has compiled essays covering an array of technological points, from drm to Facebook and many points in between. Some of the essays have redundant points on topics because they were written to discuss overlapping interest. My biggest take from this book is how as technology changes our world changes. Some try to hold on to what they have always known and there are a few innovators that continue to push us forward.
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I bought this book a couple years ago and enjoyed the author's writing.

My son is now involved in film-making and editing for an add agency in LA. Since "content" is a broad issue that involves his own work I sent it to him for whatever relevance it may have. But, a lot of water has gone under the bridge since Doctorow wrote this one. Just the same, it serves as a marker for what "content" was recently all about,and those in the business of knowing may need that marker for making judgements now or in the future.

john jensen
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Format: Paperback
A rare non-fiction read for me, but you can't beat the price (it's available online for free). And since it's a collection of small essays, each not much longer than a short story, it's a great read for downtimes at work. You all know Cory Doctorow - Internet guru to the stars. He's taken all the articles and essays he's written and compiled them into one neat little package.

Doctorow's an excellent non-fiction writer. Except for "Little Brother" and parts of "Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town", I like this better than his other fiction books. Maybe it's the easy digestibility. Maybe it's his ability to bring up simple, valid points for complex situations and gives examples that I can use in my own arguments. Maybe it's that he's a geek like us, and he's concerned about geek issues, like copyright, DRM, and the changing ways we're getting information.

I recommend this book, mostly because it's free. Read a few essays, and see if you like it. Won't cost you a dime except your time.
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By Alex Tolley on September 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
Most of this collection of "rants" is about the stupidity of DRM for digital content. The rants are both witty and have a seriousness that befits this topic. Unlike most authors, Doctorow actually has "skin in the game" and puts his money where his mouth is by offering free digital versions of many of his books. His argument that paper books are not the same as digital ones, each having different features that meet different needs is very persuasive. However, we should be very careful of extending this argument to other media, like music, where this distinction is not clear at all.

The only issue I have with this collection is that it is a little repetitive, some rants being just reworkings of other ones.

Overall, a good, quick read, offering a fairly simplistic take on DRM in an amusing style.
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