“Desperate” is often the opposite of “open”: it’s when we’re in trouble that we’re most likely to compromise on our principles. How, then, did open become the default for so many tools and applications? Because when you use irrevocable open/free licenses, you lock your code open, defending it from anyone who would lock it up again—including a future version of you, in a moment of weakness.
Open licenses have served us well for more than two decades, but they need help if we’re going to survive the era in which computers invade our bodies and the structures we keep those bodies in. Cory Doctorow explains that we can lock the whole future Web open, if we do it right.
Cory Doctorow is a science fiction novelist, blogger, and technology activist. Cory is the coeditor of the popular blog Boing Boing and a contributor to the Guardian, the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, Wired, and many other newspapers, magazines, and websites. He was formerly director of European affairs for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit civil liberties group that defends freedom in technology law, policy, standards, and treaties. Cory holds an honorary doctorate in computer science from the Open University (UK), where he is a visiting senior lecturer; in 2007, he served as the Fulbright Chair at the Annenberg Center for Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California.
Cory’s novels have been translated into dozens of languages and are published by Tor Books and simultaneously released on the Internet under Creative Commons licenses that encourage their reuse and sharing, a move that increases his sales by enlisting his readers to help promote his work. He has won the Locus and Sunburst Awards and been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, and British Science Fiction Awards. His latest young adult novel is Pirate Cinema, a story of mashup guerrillas who declare war on the entertainment industry. His latest novel for adults is Rapture of the Nerds, written with Charles Stross and published in 2012. His New York Times bestseller Little brother was published in 2008. Its sequel, Homeland, was published in 2013. His latest short story collection is With a Little Help, available in paperback, ebook, audiobook, and limited edition hardcover. In 2011, Tachyon Books published a collection of his essays, Context: Further Selected Essays on Productivity, Creativity, Parenting, and Politics in the 21st Century (with an introduction by Tim O’Reilly), and IDW published a collection of comic books inspired by his short fiction called Cory Doctorow’s Futuristic Tales of the Here and Now. The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow, a PM Press Outspoken Authors chapbook, was also published in 2011. His forthcoming books include Anda’s Game, a graphic novel from FirstSecond.
Cory cofounded the open source peer-to-peer software company Opencola, sold to OpenText in 2003, and presently serves on the boards and advisory boards of the Participatory Culture Foundation, the Clarion Foundation, the Glenn Gould Foundation, and the Chabot Space & Science Center’s SpaceTime project. In 2007, Entertainment Weekly called him “the William Gibson of his generation.” He was also named one of Forbes magazine’s Web Celebrities every year from 2007 to 2010 and one of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders for 2007. On February 3, 2008, Cory became a father. The little girl is called Poesy Emmeline Fibonacci Nautilus Taylor Doctorow and is a marvel that puts all the works of technology and artifice to shame.
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