[clug] Why the web has gone sour

Paul Wayper paulway at mabula.net
Mon Feb 15 03:30:48 MST 2010

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On 15/02/10 09:05, Steve Walsh wrote:
> Lana Brindley wrote:
>> http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/digital-life-news/why-the-web-has-gone-sour-20100214-nzo5.html
>> Discuss.
> "One of the articles of faith of the "open culture" movement is
> expressed in the aphorism, "Information wants to be free". Typically it
> is used as a justification for illegal file-sharing"
> Er...what now?
I'm with Hugh and Lana here - I think it's a throw-away remark then used by
the journalist for a bit of topical spice.

"Information wants to be free" is not an expression of some kind of desire.
It's a way of simply saying that information leaks out beyond the borders
people, companies and government think it should have.  People find out
corporate secrets, companies simultaneously discover the same patented
algorithm on opposite sides of the world, and seeds grow without someone
planting them.  Information wants to be free in the same way that water wants
to run downhill.  Lanier philosophising that "[information] will not suffer if
it does not get what it wants" is just misusing the 'want' metaphor.

And then the journalist adds some 'zing' by talking about illegal
file-sharing, as if this was in any way relevant to what Lanier is talking about.

All in all, I just see another person disappointed that we don't have flying
cars yet. ;-)

Have fun,


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