on 3 January 2009
Content, is a new book by Cory Doctorow filled with small essays. Essays ranging from 2 to 10-15 pages in length, so they are quickly read but still takes some time to digest because of the depth. Cory knows his stuff and it really shows. The book includes the now infamous DRM talk at Microsoft. Not that they have learned much from it it seems :) And a lot of other good stuff, including stories on how he deals with copyright in an internet age using Creative Commons.
The good thing about the short stories is that they are easy to go through, so I found myself just wanting to read one more. The bad side of putting that many short stories in there is that the stories can be a little tiring when many of them are about the same subject.
Content by Cory Doctorow suffered from the same problems as other collections of essays and articles that I have read, mainly repetitiveness and a lack of overall message.
Being as each article in its original format needs to be self-contained, it becomes obvious why an author might have to reintroduce a subject time and again. This is where I think that these books fail.
If you want to collect various essays and articles into a single book then I think it would be more beneficial to edit each article so that they fit together as part of a cohesive narrative that carries the reader through the information in the most economical way possible. Will this create a lot of work for the author? Of course it will. But we will be left with a much more streamlined book that is easier to read and less repetitive.
If you have read 'Information Doesn't Want to be Free: Laws for the Internet Age', a book by the same author that I highly recommend, you will find a much more cohesive version of the information in this book. That's not to say that this book does not have new and useful information, but there wasn't quite enough of it for my tastes.
Overall this is still an interesting read, possibly one that would be better had I not already read Information Doesn't Want to be Free, and was looking at this material with fresh eyes. It is well written and well researched, but I felt that it was slightly lacking overall.
My final thought would be to repeat my recommendation of two paragraphs ago. Read that book which tackles the same important subject, but does so with more skill in my opinion.
on 12 December 2009
Covers a range of interesting ideas, but is often repetitious in this coverage: a consequence of this title being the accumulation of previously published pieces. However, it remains a readable and broadly ranging introduction to a terrain that is highly pertinent to the legal wars being fought around ownership of ideas in contemporary society.