Thursday, December 15, 2016

brown boots


>> okay everyone, thanks very much for comingand it's my good pleasure to introduce cory doctorow and cory is a very prolific memberof the internet community as i know, i could describe it that way. he's probably knownto most people in this room and someone that i would like to see more of at google heretoday but he's going to speak a little bit about his latest book, "makers", and someother issues that are on his mind. cory? cory doctorow >> thanks. so i thought i wouldstart by - oh and thank you all for coming. i thought i would start a little by readingsomething from "makers" which is the book that's just out from harper collins here inthe uk and touring the us and available for free online. has anyone here actually readany of it or all of it? okay, that's good.

so it's available for free online, as withall my books, creative commons license, i'm easy to find, i'm the first cory in googleso relatively straightforward to find if you'd like to read some more, you can always buythe book and it's a book about economic collapse and rebirth so i wrote it as a parable aboutthe dot com years which i lived through in san francisco which i found really kind ofinspiring and also grim. i moved there at the peak of the boom. i was spending a lotof money on a very small half of an illegal sublet to live in and my window looked atover the yard for the flat i was living in, in which there was a man who was paying $900a month to live in a sears shed without a toilet. the reason he took that is becauseit had a place to park his jag so this was

all he could find and then all the money leftthe valley in like a hot second. it just vanished and a lot of people went home. it was kindof a ghost town. you could walk down the streets and find people having essentially car bootsales of aeron chairs and dot com t-shirts, kind of make an offer going back to oklahomain the morning and then the interesting thing was that it was kind of like that last scenein "how the grinch stole christmas" because people kept on making stuff. all the moneyhad disappeared and it turned out that all you needed to make interesting things wasa laptop and someone's wifi connection, even if it wasn't your wifi connection and allkinds of really interesting start ups emerged from the valley, driven not by some kind ofcrazy search for market opportunity but just

for scratching an itch, doing that classicfree software thing, doing something that just seemed right, that seemed ethical, thatseemed interesting, that seemed like good art and you got everything from flickr totwitter to lots of other kinds of web 2.0 stuff out of it. lots of stuff that didn'tgo anywhere too but it was amazing to see that it turned out,you know not withstanding your wonderful cafeteria here, that you could create all kinds of amazingthings on the internet without a foosball table and that was kind of a revelation ithink for a lot of us. so i wrote this book as a kind of parable about it and for variousreasons, it was delayed in publication and another book my publisher wanted to get outfirst and i luckily happened into the circumstance

that the economy collapsed before the bookwas published so it seems not so much a parable about the dot com years anymore as a prescientprediction of the economic collapse that we just lived through and are living throughindeed today. the premise of the story is that some silicon valley venture capitalistshave bought up a bunch of rust belt companies that had more money on hand then their marketcapitalizations so there's essentially free money if you just broke them up for parts.they took that money and used it to fund little tech start ups in dead wal-marts and mallsin the suburbs of america, which have largely been abandoned thanks to fuel crisis, andin those places inventors just invent interesting stuff and the idea is - i'll give you $10,000,you invent something, we sell it for six weeks

and then it's cloned. we take $30,000 outof the company. that's an incredible 200% roi and then we do it again. invent somethingnew every six weeks. new business every six weeks and won't that be interesting and cool,and that's where the story starts. the journalist for the san jose mercury news, suzanne church,has gone to hollywood, florida, where the first of these start ups is to interview thetwo people and to serve as a kind of embedded journalist through this period and that'swhere the bit that i'm going to read to you today starts.perry gestured with an arm, deep into the center of the junk pile,“all right,check this stuff out as we go.” he stuck his hand through the unglazed window of anever-built shop and plucked out a toy in

a battered box. “i love these things,”he said, handing it to her.she took it. it was a sesame street elmo doll, labeled boogiewoogie elmo. “that’s from the great elmo crash,” perry said, taking back the boxand expertly extracting the elmo like he was shelling a nut. “the last and greatest generationof elmoid technology, cast into an uncaring world that bought millions of li’l taggerwashable graffiti kits instead after rosie gave them two thumbs up on her christmas shoppingguide. “poor elmo was an orphan, and every junkyard in the world has millions of mint-in-packagebwes, getting rained on, waiting to start their long, half-million-year decomposition.“butcheck this out.” he flicked a multitool off his belt and extracted a short, sharpscalpel-blade. he slit the grinning, disco

suited elmo open from chin to groin and shuckedits furry exterior and the foam tissue that overlaid its skeleton. he slide the bladeunder the plastic cover on its ass and revealed a little printed circuit board.“that’san entire atom processor on a chip, there,” he said. "every limb and head have their ownsubcontrollers and there's a high powered digital-to-analog ring for letting him singand dance to new songs, and an analog-to-digital converter for converting spoken and dancedcommands to motions. basically, you sing and dance for elmo and he'll dance and sing backfor you." suzanne nodded. she’d missed that toy, which was a pity. she had a five yearold goddaughter in minneapolis who would have loved a boogie woogie elmo. they'd come toa giant barn, sat on the edge of a story-and-a-half’s

worth of half built anchor store. “thisused to be where the contractors kept their heavy equipment,” lester rumbled, aiminga car-door remote at the door, which queeped and opened. inside, it was cool and bright,the chugging air-conditioners efficiently blasting purified air overthe many work-surfaces. the barn was a good 25 feet tall, with a loft and a catwalk circlingit halfway up. it was lined with metallic shelves stacked neatly with labeled boxesof parts scrounged from the junkyard. perry set elmo down on a workbench and worked aminiature usb cable into it's chest cavity. the other end terminated with a pda with asmall rubberized photovoltaic cell on the front. “this thing is running installparty - it can recognize any hardware and build

a linux distro for it on the fly without anyhuman intervention. they used a ton of different suppliers for the bwe, so every one is a littledifferent, depending on who was offering the cheapest components the day it was built.installparty doesn’t care though: one click and away it goes.” the pda was doing allkinds of funny dances on its screen, montages of playful photoshopping of public figuresmatted into historical fine art.“all done. now, have a look - this is a linux computerwith some of the most advanced robotics ever engineered. no sweatshop stuff, either, seethis? the solder is too precise to be done by hand—that’s because it’s from india.if it had come from cambodia, you’d see all kinds of wobble in the solder: that meansthat clever, tiny hands were used to create

it, which means that somewhere in the device’skarmic history, there’s a sweatshop full of crippled children inhaling solder fumesuntil they keel over and are dumped in a ditch but this is the good stuff. “so here wehave this karmically clean robot with infinitely malleable computation and a bunch of roboticcapabilities. i’ve turned these things into wall-climbing monkeys; i’ve modded themfor a woman at the university of miami at the jackson memorial who used their capabilityto ape human motions in physiotherapy programs with nerve-damage cases. but the best thingi’ve done with them so far is the distributed boogie woogie elmo motor vehicle operationscluster. come on,” he said, and took off deeper into the barn’s depths. they cameto a dusty, stripped-down smart car, one of

those tiny two-seat electrical cars that youcould literally buy out of a vending machine in europe. it was barely recognizable, havingbeen reduced to its roll cage, drivetrain and a control panel. a gang of naked elmoswere piled into it. “wake up boys, time for a demo!” perry shouted, and they satup and made canned, tinny elmo “oh boy” noises, climbing into position on the pedals,around the wheel, and on the gear tree. “i got the idea when i was teaching some elmosto play super mario brothers. i thought it’d get a decent diggdotting. i could get it tospeed run all of the first level using an old paddle i’d found and rehabilitated,and i was trying to figure out what to do next. the dead mall across the way is a drivein and i was out front watching the silent

movies one night, and one of them showed allthese cute little furry animated whatevers collectively driving a car. it’s a reallyold sight gag, i mean, like racial memory old. i’d seen the little rascals do thatsame bit, with alfalfa on the wheel and buckwheat and spanky on the brake and clutch and thedoggy working the gearshift. “and i thought, shit, i could do that with elmos. they don’thave any networking capability, but they can talk and they can parse spoken commands, soall i need to do is designate one for left and one for right and one for fast and onefor slow and one to be the eyes, barking orders and they should be able to do this. and itworks! they even adjust their balance and centers of gravity for when the car swervesto stay upright at their posts. check this

out." he turned to the car. “driving elmos,ten-hut!” they snapped upright and ticked salutes off their naked plastic noggins. “incircles, drive!" the elmos scrambled into position and fired up the car and in shortorder they were doing donuts in the car’s little indoor pasture. “elmos, halt” perryshouted and the car stopped silently, rocking gently. “stand down.” the elmos sat downwith a series of tiny thumps. suzanne found herself applauding. “that was amazing,”she said. “really impressive. so that’s what you’re going to do for kodacell?" thecompanies that they bought and liquidated are kodak and duracell, they call them kodacell."that's what you're going to do for kodacell, make these things out of recycled toys?”lester chuckled. “nope, not quite. that’s

just for starters. the elmos are all aboutthe universal availability of cycles and apparatus. everywhere you look, there’s devices forfree that have everything you need to make anything do anything. “but have a look atpart two, c’mere.” he lumbered off in another direction, and suzanne and perry trailedalong behind him. “this is lester’s workshop,” perry said, as they passed through a set ofswinging double doors and into a cluttered wonderland. where perry’s domain had beenclean and neatly organized, lester’s area was a happy shambles. his shelves weren’torderly, but rather, crammed with looming piles of amazing junk: thrift-store weddingdresses, plaster statues of bowling monkeys, box kites, knee-high tin knights-in-armor,seashells painted with the american flag,

presidential action-figures, paste jewelryand antique cough-drop tins. “you know how they say a sculptor starts with a block ofmarble and chips away everything that doesn’t look like a statue? like he can see the statuein the block? i get like that with garbage: i see the pieces on the heaps and in the roadsidetrash and i can just see how it'll go together, like this." he reached down behind a worktable and hoisted up a huge triptych made out of three hinged car doors stood on end.carefully, he unfolded it and stood it like a screen on the cracked concrete floor. theinside of the car doors had been stripped clean and polished to a high metal gleam thatglowed like sterling silver. spot welded to it were all manner of soda tin cans, poundedflat and cut into gears, chutes, springs and

other mechanical apparatus. “it’s a mechanicalcalculator,” he said proudly. “about half as powerful as univac. i milled all the partsusing a laser cutter. what you do is, you fill this hopper with gi joe heads, andthis hopper with barbie heads. you crank this wheel and it will drop a number of m&ms equalto the product of the two values into this hopper, here.” he put three scuffed gi joeheads in one hopper and four scrofulous barbies in another and began to crank, slowly. a musicboxbeside the crank played a slow, irregular rendition of “pop goes the weasel” whilehundreds of little coin shaped gears turned, flipping switches and adding and removingtension to the springs. after the weasel had popped a few times, twelve brown m&ms fellinto the outstretched rubber hand. he picked

them out carefully and offered them to her.“it’s ok. they’re not from the trash,” he said. “i buy them in bulk.” he turnedhis broad back to her and heaved a huge galvanized tin washtub full of brown m&ms in her direction.“see, it’s a bit bucket!” he said. suzanne giggled in spite of herself. “you guys arehilarious,” she said. “this is really good, exciting nerdy stuff.” the gears onthe mechanical computer were very sharp and precise; they looked like you could cut yourselfon them. when they ground over the polished surfaces on the car doors, they made a soundlike a box of toothpicks falling to the floor: click-click, clickclickclick, click. she turnedthe crank until twelve more brown m&ms fell out. “who’s the van halen fan?” lesterbeamed. “might as well jump, jump!” he

mimed heavy metal air guitar and thrashedhis shorn head up and down as though he were head banging with a mighty mane of hair bandlocks. “you’re the first one to get the joke!” he said. “even perry didn’t getit!” “get what?” perry said, also grinning. “van halen had this thing where if therewere any brown m&ms in their dressing room they’dtrash it and refuse to play. when i was a kid, i used to dream about being so famousthat i could act like that much of a prick. ever since, i’ve afforded a great personalsignificance to the brown m&m.” she laughed again. then she frowned a little. “look,i hate to break this party up, but i came here because kettlewell said that you guysexemplified everything that he wanted to do

with kodacell. this stuff you're doing isvery interesting, i mean, it's killer art but i don’t see the business angle. so,could you help me out here?” “that’s step three,” perry said. “c’mere.”he led her back to his workspace, to a platform surrounded by articulated arms that terminatedin webcams, like a grocery scale in the embrace of a metal spider. "the 3d scanner," he said,producing a barbie head from lester’s machine and dropping it on the scales. he proddeda button and a nearby screen filled with a three dimensional model of the head, flattenedon the side where it touched the surface. he turned the head over and scanned againand now there were two digital versions of the head on the screen. he moused on overthe other one until they lined up, right clicked

a drop-down menu, selected an option and thenthey were merged, rotating. "once we've got the 3d scan, it’s basically plasticine.”he distorted the barbie head, stretching it and squeezing it with the mouse. “so wecan take a real object and make this kind of protean hyper object out of it, or dropit down to a wireframe and skin it with any bitmap, like this.” more fast mousing, barbie’shead turned into a gridded mesh, fine filaments stretching off along each mussed strand ofplastic hair. then a campbell’s cream of mushroom soup label wrapped around her likea stocking being pulled over her head. there was something stupendously weird and simultaneouslyvery comic about the sight, the kind of inherent comedy in a cartoon stretched out on a blobof silly putty. “so we can build anything

out of interesting junk, with any shape, andthen we can digitize the shape and then we can do anything with the shape and then wecan output the shape." he typed quickly and another machine, sealed and mammoth like anoutsized photocopier, started to grunt and churn. the air filled with a smell like saranwrap in a microwave. “the goop we use in this thing is epoxy-based. you wouldn’twant to build a car out of it, but it makes a mean dollhouse. the last stage of the outputswitches to inks, so you get whatever bitmap you’ve skinned yourobject with baked right in. it does about one cubic inch per minute, so this job shouldbe almost done now.” he drummed his fingers on top of the machine and then it'd startchunking and something inside it went clunk.

he lifted a lid and reached inside and pluckedout the barbie head, stretched and distorted, skinned with a campbell’s soup label. hehanded it to suzanne. she expected it to be warm, like a squashed penny from a machineon fisherman’s wharf, but it was cool and had the seamless texture of a plastic margarinetub and the heft of a paperweight. “so, that’s the business,” lester said. “orso we’re told. we’ve been making cool stuff and selling it to collectors on theweb for you know, gigantic bucks. we move one or two pieces a month at about ten grandper. but kettlewell says he’s going to industrialize us, alienate us from the product of our labor,and turn us into an assembly line.” “he didn’t say any such thing,” perry said.suzanne was aware that her ears had grown

points. perry gave lester an affectionateslug in the shoulder. “lester’s only kidding. what we need is a couple of dogsbodies andsome bigger printers and we’ll be able to turn out more modest devices by the hundredsor possibly the thousands. we can tweak the designs really easily because nothing is comingoff a mold, so there’s no setup charge, and so we can do limited runs of a hundred,redesign, do another hundred. we can make them to order." so, that's the reading. so i thought i would talk briefly about someof the ideas that went into "makers" and into the way that i publish my work, and specificallyabout copyright and the way that it regulated around the world and here in the uk because"makers" really is a story about a kind of

enterprise that is built around the idea ofcheap coordination over the internet. and it's also a parable about what happens whenpeople who don't think about the value of cheap coordination over the internet but onlyabout what businesses are being displaced by it get to make policy for the, i used to worry a lot about copyright in terms of what it would do to artist incomeand i would get embroiled, as i still do, in these endless fights about whether or not,without strong copyright, artists can earn a living or they can't. we'd argue about whethermadonna going to a concert promoter and leaving her record label meant that artist's couldfigure out how to earn a living from live performance instead of recordings, or we'dargue about whether or not free software was

a good model for music or books or movies.we'd argue about all these things but i've come to realize that limiting the copyrightdiscussion to whether or not it's good for artists is a deeply parochial way of thinkingabout copyright. think of everything else we do on the net. you know, google is a confessor,right? look at that amazing, terrible thing that aol released when they released all thatsearch corpus and i'm sure some of you have had a look at your raw search corpus and thinkabout just how much we use our information tools for things that go well beyond downloadingthe occasional mp3, whether in the aol case it's how to kill our husbands, or just whatto do if we have disease or what to do if we're having lifestyle problems or if we'redepressed or how we'll find a maid or what

have you. think of how we use the net to getour education. i teach both at the open university and university of waterloo in canada. collectively,i've visited both campuses four times in two years. all of my students i connect to overthe internet but it's also how we learn, obviously. my continuing education is all built aroundthe internet. i basically use the internet as an outboard brain these days. i don't haveto remember anything interesting; my google phone finds it for me. think of how we useit for love. the first six months that i knew my wife we were conducting a long distancerelationship with me in san francisco and she here in london, and how many of us havemet our loved ones over the internet and how many of us use the internet as part of howwe stay in touch with our loved ones, not

just our spouses but everybody we love inthe world and how the network has strengthened our connections to all those people we love.think of how we use it for employment. i mean, obviously no one here could earn a livingwithout the internet but that's increasingly true of everyone, whether you're on a universitycampus, whether you're an engineer working on a job site, whether you are someone whois teaching a classroom full of five year olds. the number of people who can earn aliving without the internet has shrunk to an insignificant slice, i think it gets smallerevery day and also think about how we use it for political action. i mean, many of youi'm sure have signed up for the open rights group mailing list and if you haven't, i'lltalk to you about that at the end of this

talk but you may have also used somethinglike the number 10 petition site or any number of other political tools to contact your legislatores,to weigh in on issues of the day, to organize with other people around you on anything thatyou care about politically, and certainly in the us we recently saw how an entire electioncould be swung based on grassroots organizing, grassroots fundraising, and moving away fromthat centralized top down political infrastructure, and even civic process. i mean, it's veryhard these days to get a permit from the council to build a new shed without theinternet. almost all of the stuff takes place over the network and when it doesn't we getunderstandably very vexed and we call up the council and we demand to know why we can'tregister our marriage over the internet like

a sensible person might, and eventually thecouncils will cave to us. so policy is being written though not with any of those thingsin mind, it's being written essentially by people who think of the internet as a glorifiedtool for delivering tv, movies, and music, and so they don't take any of that stuff intoconsideration and they don't really worry if any of that stuff is implicated as collateraldamage in the way that they intend to regulate the net so look at peter mandelson's latestdigital economy bill, which i've been calling "the analog economy bill" because it's reallybuilt around the idea of preserving businesses whose entire model is built around the difficultyof copying things. the inherent limitations on copying. those inherent limitations oncopying are fast falling away and i'd say

at this point they've basically been completelyput paid to, there are no more real good inherent limitations on copying the way the recordindustry understands them. you know, hard drives are going to get less capacious tomore and more expensive, networks aren't going to get harder to use, libraries won't havetaught fewer oap's to type 'batman returns bit torrent' into google, right? our generalcapacity to copy things is only going to go up from here. as i said in an article thatwas in "the guardian" yesterday, this is the hardest that copying will ever be. here today,november 27, 2009, is as hard as copying will ever be. on november 28th, copying will beincrementally easier. a year from now, copying will be vastly easier. a year after that,copying will be easier still and yet we have

the digital economy bill that kind of comesin two parts. the first part is here are some kind of feel good measures we are going todo. we are going to spawn everyone's internet connection and send angry letters to peoplewho we think are copying the wrong things. we are going to do that for a year and ifin a year copying in britain hasn't fallen by 70%, we are going to do a bunch of otherbad stuff. now let's just examine this 70% business for a minute. i mean, is there anyonewhose ever enacted any measure on any internet connection, anywhere in the world, that hassubstantially reduced copying over any lasting period? i think the answer is generally no.there was a little blip when they got rid of the pirate bay and brought in ipred insweden. swedish internet traffic is higher

then it was before ipred was introduced insweden. it took about four or five months. as far as we can tell, the trajectory of thedigital society is more copying, not less, forever, and there is no legislative measureshort of maybe turning off all the nuclear reactors and plunging us into the dark, thatwe can use to shut down copying. so digital businesses, the businesses that are reallybuilt around the digital economy, don't assume that copying will slow down. these are thebusinesses that profit no matter what happens with copying. one of the most inspiring thingsabout google's history, to my mind, is by in large as google has done its acquisitions,especially the weird ones like this gentleman in his "blogger" shirt. i remember when googlebought "blogger" and no one could really figure

out why they'd done it and i asked aroundand i was writing for business 2.0 then and i talked to a lot of people on and off therecord and there were a couple of answers that really run true for me about why googlehad bought "blogger". the first was that it would just be a crying shame for it to disappearand ev and his team were smart and it was a pretty cheap way to hire them. but the otherone was that generally speaking, the more people used the internet, the more money googlewould make, right? google had a business model that was based on internet use going up andgoogle's income going up at the same time. they'd figure that out. that's what a digitalbusiness looks like. it's not a business that relies on the totally ahistorical and vastlyimprobable proposition that internet use will

decline. so the problem with ascribing liabilityas the digital economy bill does to intermediaries, so that's companies like blogger and youtubebut also any company that hosts or makes copies of user generated content, is that it basicallydestroys the business model for everyone who allows anyone to put anything on the internetwithout a copyright lawyer reviewing it first, right? if you're on the hook for any infringingmaterial that shows up on youtube, not on the hook for taking it down but on the hookas a participant in the infringement itself, and in the us that would be $150,000 per downloadof that infringing youtube clip, you can't run youtube, right? for all that, youtube'sbandwidth bill may be very high, and if you believe the trade press they say a millionand a half dollars a day or something being

lost on youtube. i don't know if that's trueor not but i do know that there aren't enough lawyer hours remaining between now and theheat death of the universe to vent 16 hours of video every sixty seconds, right? and thateven if you could manage to raise that many lawyers, graduate them from university, andfill a boiler room with them, that the cost of paying them all would outstrip the entireincome available to google and probably all internet businesses put together and it'snot just google, of course. it's everyone who has user generated material so many ofyou have probably seen moo cards, those little business cards that you can get your flickrphotos on the back of. so what would it do to moo, which is a relatively profitable smallbusiness based here in clark , well they've

actually just moved up to silicon roundaboutat old street. what would it do to moo if they had to hire a copyright lawyer to ensurethat every photo they printed on the back of every business card didn't contain anycopyright infringement? what would it do to if they had to ensure that every songthat they streamed didn't contribute to a copyright infringement? basically what we'retalking about is eliminating the internet in favor of something a lot more like cabletelevision. cable television where if you want to put a program on sky, first you goto rupert murdoch's lawyers and you show him the material and they go over it with a finetooth comb with your insurers, you get clearances for anything that may or may not create acopyright liability, and then you get to put

it on and you get a hundred channels, fivehundred channels in some places. you remember the five hundred channel universe about tenyears ago? everyone's talking about how cable television would deliver the five hundredchannel universe and how amazing that is. think of how poor five hundred websites soundslike as the entire internet today, right? the one trillion channeluniverse is a little more like it. i think i'd be okay with a one trillion channel universebut a five hundred channel universe is an extremely poor one and of course from goingback to this parochial artistic cultural perspective, the purpose of copyright isn't to ensure thatlast years winners in the digital economy or in the creative economy remain on top forever.the purpose of copyright is to ensure the

broadest, most diverse participation in cultureas possible, right? so more channels equals good as far as copyright is concerned. soit's the collateral damage that i'm really starting to worry about. it's not culture,it's not the arts. it's what happens to everything else that we do because everything else thatwe do on the internet involves copying and because copying always triggers copyrightlaw. copyright law is a regulation and like any regulation, it has to figure out somewherein it's makeup when it applies and when it doesn't. who should be bound by copyrightlaw and who shouldn't. an easy heuristic for determining who was doing something that cameunder the purview of copyright law historically has been, "are they making copies?" specificallyare they making lots of copies because making

lots of copies of a record involved buyinga 400 million dollar record press and if you are going to spend that kind of money on agiant printing plan and a global distribution network,you can pay a lawyer a couple of hundred thousand dollars a year to make sure that everythingyou do on it is legal. if you are going to make copies of movies, you need a giant filmlab, no more. you and i, we make thousands of copies every morning before breakfast.every i.m, every click, every email involves hundreds if not thousands of copies. so theproblem is that we're left with this heuristic, when should we treat copying as industrialand subject to regulation when mass copying occurs? but that heuristic no longer appliesin contemporary society. my friend jamie boyle,

who is at the duke center for public domain,says that copyright used to be like a tank mine. it only went off if you drove over itwith a giant factory, right? you'd need a huge printing press, a huge record press,a huge film lab for copyright to really come to bear on you. but now it's become the kindof land mine that blows the legs off of children, right? now copyright is triggered when yourkid puts up a harry potter fan site. now copyright istriggered when your kid grabs a little bit of video and turns it into an icon on livejournalor twitter, right? so copyright no longer makes sense, not because there's anythinginherently wrong with regulating the creative industries and their supply chain using asystem of government regulation, but because

that regulation is supremely unsuited to regulatingfor example how we get an education or how we deal with our relatives or how we monitorour children from abroad or how we get our health information or how we do any of thoseother things that we do on the internet. copyright is very unsuited to it. for the same reasonthat you don't have to file papers with the fsa if you take a friend out for lunch, youshouldn't have to concern yourself with copyright if you make some personal copies or sharethem around your office or around with your colleagues, right? the process of puttinga dilbert cartoon or an xkcd cartoon on your cubicle and allowing your coworkers to seeit doesn't trigger copyright because no copying is made, but if you take a photo of that andput it on flickr and your coworkers see it,

you are suddenly in deep dutch because youviolated copyright law because that same transaction that involves a network business like googlewith offices all over the world where your coworkers may not be in the next cubicle butmay be on a different continent triggers copyright because we have a bad heuristic for copyright has become the de facto regulator of everything we do in the information societyand copyright policy is not being made with that in mind. instead, it's being made bypeople like peter mandelson who get all expense paid vacations from entertainment executiveslike david geffen and come back with copyright fire in their hearts. you know among the otherthings that we've heard proposed from mr. mandelson is that he would like to have athree strikes regime for the internet here,

like they've passed in france, and the waythat that would work is if anyone in your household was accused of three acts of infringement,not convicted of three acts of infringement, there needn't be any due process or evidence,just the say so of a copyright enforcer, your whole household loses access to the internetand the way this works in france is your household's name is added to a list of people for whomit's illegal to provide internet access and no one in the country can hook you up anymore,right? so imagine if we reversed this. there is an ex-googler named kevin marks who hasjust gone to work for bt who many of you probably know and when kevin heard this he said, "whatif we reversed that?" like we know that universal,for example, sends all kinds of ridiculous

copyright notices, you know? prince and universalsent a copyright notice to youtube over a clip of an adorable two year old dancing inthe kitchen and for a few seconds in the background you could hear prince's "let's go crazy".this is, you know, canonical fair dealing, canonical fair use and yet they filed a copyrightcomplaint and asked youtube to take it down. we know they're very sloppy about this becausethere's no penalty for doing it so what if we turned it around? what if we said, "okay,you can have three strikes but it goes both ways." the day that universal makes threeerroneous copyright claims, we go to every universal office all over the world with abig set of bolt cutters and we go to their wiring closet and we take them offline anduniversal can be the record label that does

all of its business from now on by fax. butwe know that that record label would immediately go bust, right? it is the death penalty fora company to take it off the internet and it's the deathpenalty for our digital lives to take our households off the internet. collective punishment,the idea that you can terminate an entire group of people's access to the internet orpunish them otherwise because one person has done it, it may prevail in the wrong kindof gym classes but its certainly not something that we think of as fundamental to know, the geneva conventions prohibit it so for the idea that this might becomethe law of the land and it's not just here, it's all over the world - there's an internationalcopyright treaty under way called acta, the

anti counterfeiting trade agreement, whichhas moved copyright negotiations from the un, from the world intellectual property organizationor wipo. i sometimes say it has the same relationship to bad copyright law that mordor has to evilbut wipo has one single virtue which is that non-governmental organizations are allowedin. they have rules, their the un, so we went in and we started writing down everythingthey said and blogging it twice a day and it got slashed on it and it got picked upby lots of people and all of a sudden people all over the world started calling up theirelected representatives and saying, "what the hell are you doing in geneva?" and thetreaty collapsed and millions of dollars worth of entertainment industry lobbying went downthe drain and they reconvened, not at the

united nations, but in a closed door meeting,that only rich countries are invited to, although every country would eventually be bound toit through other trade agreements, right? if you want to stay in the wto, you have toadopt the acta provisions and they declared the text of the treaty a secret, althoughwe've seen drafts of it because it leaks like a sieve because there's, you know, hundredsof negotiators there and they all share them with executives from various industries intheir countries. you know there's a list of people who are allowed to see the us traderepresentatives documents, it's quite long and it includes things like a beer executive,a car executive, a guy who's a fertilizer executive, so once you start telling fertilizerexecutives top secrets, they no longer remain

secret for very long. so we've seen it andit includes things like three strikes, it also includes criminal penalties for simpleinfringement, noncommercial infringement so your kids no longer just stand to use theirlife savings but to go to jail for sharing files the way we all did when we were kids.i mean i don't know about you but if it wasn't for mix tapes, my entire adolescence wouldhave been celibate, you know? so this is a disaster. it also includes a burden for thoseof you who travel, it includes a burden on every country's customs officers to searchhard drives and any other storage media that could be capable of carrying something thatwould be a substantial copyright infringement, and at first they said, "oh, well this wouldn'tinclude ipods and personal stereos because

they don't carry enough music to be a substantialinfringement." and then someone kind of pointed out to them that 80 gigs is a lot of musicand that it's going up from there every year and i think ipods are kind of back in thedefinition here. so, this is where it's headed because we're not making copyright law withan eye to all the other things that happen on the internet. you know, a burden on isp'sto surveil their customers won't really stop pirates. i mean, you and i can figure outa hundred ways to encrypt your traffic so that an isp's depacket inspection would becompletely incapable of discovering it, right? when they sued napster and started to interdictnapster servers and declared victory on the war on file sharing, everyone who looked atit said, "well, no. now that you sued napster,

they'll just reimplement newtella and makeit a little better." and then when they started to sue newtella trackers, they said, "well,okay. they're just going to tracker list newtella's and then they'll start ding tracker list bittorrent." i mean, you're just evolving the world's most perfect antibiotic resistantbacterium here. you know, this isn't going to actually stop it. the only reason thatit's possible to eavesdrop on file sharing traffic is because no can be arsed to encryptit. it's not because encrypting traffic is a particularly challenging problem, we doit every day. bankers manage to do it. if bankers can do it, anyone can do it. [laughing]so, i'm an artist and copyright does effect my livelihood and i'm pretty sure that i canmake a living in a freely copied world. you

know, my books are all available for freefor download. you can buy them in shops and they do very well. "little brother", the lastone that came out, 17 languages and film rights sold to the guy who made "transformers" andyou know, video game rights and cd rights under discussion and so on and so forth, newyork times bestseller. i just got a huge check for it and i'm going to pay off most of mymortgage with it. i mean, generally speaking, i think i can make a living in a copy nativeworld but even if i couldn't, i'd still be a copy fighter and i would be because i'malso a father and i'm a citizen, i'm an immigrant, i'm a son, i'm a husband, i'm a volunteer,i'm a student, and i'm a teacher, and i don't want all those rules to be sacrificed on copyrights'altar. principle is the thing that you stand

on, even when it's not convenient for youpersonally and it's time that we take principle stands on these issues, even if they may eatsome of our lunch. so there's lot of organizations you can join. i talked about the open rightsgroup. i co-founded that here in the uk although i have very little to do with running it.i'm on the advisory board, along with ben laurie, who works out of this office and manyother interesting and good people. also, alan cox who you may know from old linux kernelmaintenance, although he's not doing that anymore famously. but there's also groupslike the electronic frontier foundation, edri, all around the world and we are making seriousheadway, not just by shutting down bad laws although we've done plenty of that but alsoby holding them at bay long enough for people

to understand what's at stake because as soonas the civilians among us, the people who don't work with computers every day, the peoplewho don't understand that cryptography is easy, the people that don't understand thatthe internet is for more then mp3's. as soon as they come to realize all the things thatthey can do with the net, then our fight becomes exponentially easier because it's not justa few anarachs calling up their mp's and saying you are going to do something that you don'tunderstand to something else that you don't understand and that will be bad in a way thatyou don't understand but it's everyone going down to their mp surgeries and saying youcan't do this. you can't do this because we won't vote for you, you can't do this becauseit will destroy fundamental and important

things about our civil society. so that'swhat i'd like to ask you to do. i mean, you can buy my book if you want, you can downloadit for free from the internet if you want. that'd be nice, i'm not bothered because itsells pretty well, although i'll mention it's a 'tenner' today which is a very stellar dealbut what i hope you'll do at the end of this talk is that if you're not already an orgmember, you'll join. it's a 'fiver' a month but you'll get involved with the electronicfrontier foundation with free software foundation europe. i hope that you'll talk to your mp'sand the people in your life because googlers have a lot of moral authority in this world,going to your personal mp at your mp's next surgery and talking to her or him about mandelson'sproposal will make a huge difference as an

employee of google so i hope that you'll dothat and i hope that you'll continue to take action on this and i hope that you won't makethe mistake of thinking that superior technology will make inferior laws irrelevant becausethe internet isn't free because it's inherently free. it's free because we fought it to keepit that way. thank you. [applause] >> so, we have about 20 minutes for questions. >> sorry, i am losing my voice a little. i'mcoming down with a cold or coming over a cold. we have a mic in the back too. >> who has questions?

>> thanks cory. because you give your booksaway online for free and you still have a print business, do you have to butt headswith your publishers in every country every time you do this or are they just now knowit's you and they're okay with it? you're actually the, you know, minority. cory doctorow >> yeah. i was really luckyin that my editor who bought my first novel, patrick nielsen hayden at tor books in newyork, who runs the largest science fiction line in the world and is the most senior editorthere. i've known him since i was 17. i met him on a bbs. he maintains his own linux boxes,he writes his own movable type plugins and when i sat down and said, "there's this newthing coming out called a creative commons

license and i want to try releasing a bookunder it." he said, "e-books have the worst ratio of hours in meetings to dollars in incomegenerated of anything this publisher has ever done. why don't we try it, right? what's theworst that can happen?" publishing like every other business is essentially an it businessthese days. you know, walmart isn't a chinese manufacturer of goods business, walmart isan it business that uses it to manage a supply chain that moves a shipping container onceper second from china to america so they're an it company too and they've experiencedgreat benefits from it and among those is that they can do very short run hard coversso they can print four to six thousand copies of a first novel to hard cover. this is greatfor first novelists because it used to be

that first novels were always in mass marketpaperback and they do 50,000 so unless they felt they could 50,000, they wouldn't takea chance on it. now they are publishing tons of first novels because they can do it. youknow, i come from a big ashkenazi family. if everyone of my relatives buys a copy, we'veearned out. so it's a very low risk experiment, which we did and it worked really well. everybodywas happy and they reprinted the book a whole ton and it generated a lot of publicity whichis nice because it was the first thing but it also generated a lot of secondary publicitywhich was not the publicity of "oh my god, this is a creative commons license book. i'ma slashed out reader. i support them inherently, you should read it", it was the publicitythat went "oh my god, i love this book and

i'd like to press it into your hands the waythat we have done with books since time in memorial except i can press it into your handseven though you live in a different country and i can press it into your hands withoutparting with it", and so that magnification of the good feeling people had about my bookon its own merits was selling lots of books too. so that kind of set the tone for things,right? by the time i'd done three novels that were cc licensed and sold "little brother",both here and in the us, was the first novel i sold in both countries, it was pretty straightforward.there wasn't really anything that harper collins could say or do because it was already cclicensed, right? we weren't going to be able to take that back and so they kind of cameonboard and they were very good about it.

the woman who is running it, she is very kindof it centric, very internet savvy and she invited me in to talk to the whole businessabout copyright, technology, drm and why it doesn't work. you know, to publishers whobelieve in drm i say, "behold: the typist", and it went great. now my foreign publishershave been a little more complicated only because the relationship tends to be more attenuatedso its my agent's sub-agent dealing with an editor and so i often times don't even knowwho the editor at a foreign publisher is and every now and again, i'll get an email froma reader saying, "you know, we just translated your book into bulgarian and your bulgarianpublisher is going crazy." it's not a real example. i won't narc on the real publisherwho did this and i write to my agent and my

agent writes his sub-agent and his sub-agentwrites to the publisher and the publisher writes back and says, "we had no idea. wethought that they were violating copyright. if you're okay with it, i guess we're okaywith it too. it seems like it's working pretty well." so i mean, i think foreign publishersare a lot more worried about the fact that for science fiction, in translation, a goodportion that audience reads english and they will buy the books from amazon before theforeign edition comes out so i think they're way more interested in doing day and datesso now i'm taking pitches of my books and even the roughs of the books and giving themto my agent's foreign agent to take to frankfurt to the book fair and to london to the bookfair to sell the foreign rights so they can

come out at the same time, not for the ccbut just because so many kind of geeky science fiction readers in whatever country read enoughenglish that they'll just happily order the american or british edition off of amazonunless there's an edition in their native language. >> thanks. so you say basically for booksit's a little bit less free because it's harder to consume digitally. what about other media?i mean, it's a lot easier to consume music and tv or tv shows online. is your opiniona little bit differentiated? cory doctorow >> well, i actually say arguablythat music is better online than it is in cd, at least if you live in london, right?every centimeter i give over to a cd is a

centimeter i can't give over to my daughter,you know? in my tiny london flat so yeah i mean, we took all the dvd's out of the sittingroom and ripped them and all of the sudden we got like three more shelves we could usefor books. it was fantastic, right? and we compressed them down to a hard drive about'yay big', right? this is brilliant. so yeah, arguably it's much better. now seventy yearsago, vaudeville and live performance were all but destroyed by the radio and the recordplayer and the vaudeville artists of the day said you know, yes, there may be a businessopportunity for the kind of people who sound good on a record but some of us aren't recordingartists, we're performers, right? you lose something when you move our performance toa record. we are not going to be mere clerks

who sit in a backroom and let you intervenewith our audiences on our behalf, we are doing something old and holy, you know? this isas old as stories told in front of fire so you have no right to tell us how to earn ourliving. those people ended up driving taxis. seventy years later, the people who put themout of business and their spiritual descendents are saying, "what do you mean i have to bea performer? i'm not a performer. i'm a white collar worker. i labor indoors and when i'mdone, i slide my work under the door and some bourgeois man of commerce takes it out tomy audience. you have no right to turn me into a trained monkey." and the ones who saythat will end up driving taxis because that's the way it goes. technology giveth and technologytaketh away. the point of copyright shouldn't

be to ensure that one particular kind of creation,right, music performed in music halls, music performed in record studios, music performedin large venues, music performed in small studios, that one particular kind thrivesat whatever expense it takes, it should be to ensure that the largest number of peoplecan participate at the lowest cost and that's what you get when you move to a 'give yourrecordings away for free on the internet and solicit donations to do live performance'model which is working for everyone from jonathan coulton down at the bottom to madonna up atthe top, and frankly replacing the record industry's opportunities for artists is prettytrivial because 97% of the artists in the united states with a record deal earn $600a year or less from it. you can probably make

that on adsense on a lot of those pages, right?so this is, you know, doing as well as the record industry has done for artists, nothard. i mean, i'd like to set the bar a little higher then that frankly but not hard to atleast do that. as to films, i like seeing robots throwing buildings at each other asmuch as the next guy but maybe we've reached the end of the 300 million dollar movie. youknow, does that mean that we've reached the end of movie making? i think youtube saysno because for all that, there's a few jon stewart clips and what have you on the net,on youtube there is so much more stuff out there that represents the kind of movies thatpeople can make outside of a studio system and their values are different, right? they'renot about the resolution of the cgi, they

are about the intimacy and the importanceto the small but critical audience for whom the movie was made, right? it's not aboutreaching a million people with a beautiful movie, it's about reaching six people witha movie that's so personal that it touches every one of them in a way that's completelyunforeseen and unprecedented in the history of film making and again, if we lose one toget the other, c'est la vie, right? the protestant reformation got rid of all the cathedral buildingsand we got lots and lots of little wee kirks on the hill. religion didn't end, right? soyeah, there's lots of different things that is going to happen to a lot of different kindsof creative enterprise and actually one of the great lies of copyright is that there'ssuch a thing as a copyrighted work. that you

can apply the same regulation incentives tothe creation of crossword puzzles, needlepoint patterns, 300 million dollar movies, cakedecorations, one off sculptures, mass market novels, and pornography and that you'll getthe same outcomes in all of them, right? this is a crazy idea and you know it's kind ofa consequence of a bunch of historical anomalies, that all these things have been grouped underthis odious umbrella we call intellectual property. the actual like on the ground realityis that they all respond to different incentives, they all have different market characteristicsand none of them as a class are threatened, although members of the class are and youknow i weep for the lost poets of days gone by and i miss the days where the man wouldwalk down the street with his bell and a knife

sharpener but technology giveth and technologytaketh away and so long as we've got sharp knives and poetry, we're okay. other questions? >> so i tend to like the user experience thatspotify has built. i am a spotify fan. i'm not sure in your kind of view of principleto copyright if spotify is a good thing or a bad thing. cory doctorow >> i think spotify is a greatthing as far as it goes, although i think that you know streaming is the flawgicineof the 21st century. there is no such thing as 'streaming', right? there's just downloadingand then sometimes your computer keeps the

bits and sometimes it doesn't. so the illusionthat spotify is not giving you copies of the music that it sends to you is a kind of masshysteria among record executives and i worry that eventually they are going to wake upand go, "wait a second. you told us that there was a thing called streaming. it turns outit's just downloading where the client throws away the bits and you can write a client thatdoesn't throw away the bits!" and i also worry that that might lead you on a path to saying,"well, there should be regulations saying that people can't write their own clients."but networks protocols, or that there should be non user accessible components on theircomputer, all of which are not particularly plausible technical premises, right? you know,i'm going to hide a key somewhere on your

computer, i'm going to give that computerto anyone who wants to buy one and trust that no one in the entire world has an electrontunneling microscope and wants to take their computer and look at it, right? it's justnot a really plausible premise and yet we kind of build on that anyway but what i thinkthe problem with spotify, to the extent that there is one, is that people are saying, "well,we've got spotify so we solve file sharing." and the problem isn't that spotify isn't good,the problem is that people haven't voluntarily stopped using p2p mp3 technologies and movedover to spotify and there's not really any reason to believe, i think, that they're goingto in great numbers which leaves you with this bizarre circumstance where kind of everyoneis a copyright criminal to some value of everyone,

even though spotify is going great guns andwhen everyone is presumptively a criminal, it's really bad for society. so in america,at swarthmore college, there was a kid who was maintaining a piece of free software calledflatland. flatland indexed samba shares on the network, in the same way that google indexeshtp shares on the web and it got all the things that you would find on a samba share on auniversity network. it got profs lectures and their notes and all the rest of it butalso you know games, movies, music, porn, whatever kids had so the record industry suedthis kid, not for maintaining a search engine which is of course totally illegal or you'dall be clapped in irons, they sued him for being a music downloader and they knew hewas a music downloader because he is an american

university student and they are all musicdownloaders and because the penalty for being a downloader is a 150 thousand dollars perinfringement, they were able to exert enormous leverage over him so they said, "we not onlywant your entire life savings, as we ask for all the students we go after, we want youto change majors. we don't want you to get a computer science degree because we don'twant people like you programming computers. we want to make an example out of you." nowthis was not very good strategy on their part because it was so obnoxious that we were ableto make a huge stink out of it and they had to back off on the demand but that's the leverageyou get over people when they're presumptively guilty of something, is that you can go afterthem for things that aren't unlawful and you

can use the leverage that they're all criminalsin some other realm to force them to give up things that merely upset your apple cartso that's what i worry about spotify. spotify doesn't solve the big problem, that we'reall criminals, right? you know, we could have a thousand spotify's, it'd be great. i'd bedelighted to see it but it still wouldn't solve the important problem. >> i wondered if the movie rights to yourbooks are given away as freely as the books themselves and whether there were any issueswhen you discussed making "little brother". cory doctorow >> it kind of depends on whatyou mean by the movie rights. so the noncommercial creative commons movie right, the ccncsa,are given away. anyone can make a movie. there

have been a couple of nice little studentfilms based on it. the commercial movie rights are negotiated through a system of regulationthat has been reasonably good at moderating the supply chain of the entertainment industry.copyright, right? so here i am, an industrial player, right? i have a lawyer, i have anagent, i have a publisher, they have lawyers, i have a film company and they have lawyersand agents, and they all sit down and they talk to each other and they use a system ofregulation devised to bound those negotiations and that's how we make the movie, right? butif you're 16 years old or 36 years old or 56 years old and you've just got a flip cameraand you want to spend your christmas break making a little film out of "little brother"that you're going to put on youtube and not

charge any money for, you don't need to talkto copyright because it doesn't make any sense for you to talk to copyright. you don't havea lawyer, my lawyer doesn't want to talk to you, right? i'm not going to pay my lawyer$400 an hour to talk to you to find out to basically make sure that the thing that you'remaking that won't make me any money is going to be good. this is the other tragedy, ofcourse, of copyright. it's not just that it makes no sense for a 12 year old to call warner'sand find out whether or not she can make a harry potter fan site; it's that no one atwarner's will answer the phone when she does, right? because it makes no sense for warner'sto negotiate this with a 12 year old, right? so yeah, i have the same deal for every filmmakerthat i have for everyone who wants to use

my books which is commercial deal: talk tomy agent; noncommercial deal: go crazy and share alike. let other people do stuff withyour stuff and you know, it's working for me. it puts me in this great position whereyou know financially, i'm doing great but artistically, i'm doing great. i'm not insistingthat my art made in the 21st century not be copied which is such a crazy un-21st centuryproposition, right? it's kind of cool that someone is like the blacksmith at the reenactmentof the battle of 1066 once a year but that's not exactly contemporary art, you know? ilike to make contemporary art because it's science fiction and contemporary art has toassume that it's going to be copied because it's the 21st century. so i get to do thething that's artistically right and morally

right because i don't have to go around tellingpeople not to copy when i copy all day long. i don't have to go around pretending that,you know, i live in some great moral olympus and that they're all doing something that'swrong. you know, every movie company, every publisher, every record company, they allcopy their asses off, right? no movie starts without someone going out and making a moodbook by scanning and copying and photocopying bits and pieces of visual stuff that theywant to put together to instruct the design team, right? when kirby dick, who is a wonderfuldocumentary filmmaker, made a movie called "this film was not yet rated" about the americanfilm rating system which is shrouded in secrecy, no one really knows. you know, you go nowand it's like to the cinema here, you know

quentin thomas says you are allowed to watchthis movie but when you go to a movie in the us, it just says the mpaa has rated this whatever,pg, and the identities of the people on the mpaa's rating board are kept a secret andthey're supposed to be rotated every few years and it's supposed to be parents of young kidsand kirby didn't think they were so he hired a private eye to follow them around and hemade a documentary about it. he found out all their identities and submitted it to theratings board for a rating. so he gets a phone call from the mpaa's chief lobbyist who isan ex-congressman living in washington, dc and the man says, "kirby, i've seen your movie.",and he says, "really? that's interesting because as far i know, it's in los angeles and you'rein washington." he says, "well, one of them

sent me a copy." and kirby says, "well, whatdo you mean they sent you a copy? i didn't authorize them to make a copy." and he said,"oh don't worry. it's in my vault." like i don't know if we can get away with that. "yes,i've got a hard drive with twenty thousand infringing mp3's, i keep it in vault though."but they copy all day long. we all copy all day long. the rest of the movie is about incidentallyabout what happens with kirby and the mpaa. it's very good movie. it's called "this filmis not yet rated". it's absolutely brilliant and i think it's a cc download at this pointso there's no excuse not to watch it and he's just done a new movie called "outrageous".that's where he outs gay american right wing senators who oppose gay marriage and gay rightswhich is quite an amazing bit of film as well.

anyway, so that was my talk. thank you verymuch. as i said, these are only a 'tenner' according to my publisher which at the coverprice is fifteen quid so it's a 30% discount and i'm not sure who takes the money. is thatyou guys? yeah, i think so and you can also download them for free and it was very niceto meet you all. if you need to get in touch with me, i am the first cory in google. thanks.

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