This letter from Authors Guild president Douglas Preston explains the two lawsuits the Authors Guild is involved in, and how “the ‘information wants to be free’ philosophy is nothing more than a form of economic censorship.Here's an excerpt:
Both lawsuits, in different ways, fight back against a philosophy that arose alongside the internet, the idea that “information wants to be free.”The full letter is well-worth reading, as the outcome of these lawsuits may effect our very livelihoods.
On its surface, this philosophy sounds appealing. If information is free and available to everyone, the argument goes, it will provide a huge benefit to society. The elitist gatekeepers who profit from selling information are pushed aside, and everyone — especially the disadvantaged and those from underserved and marginalized communities — will have free access to the same information as the wealthy and privileged.
But in reality, this idea simply offers a new route for the monetization of information, by taking income from authors and diverting it to internet companies in the form of advertising dollars derived from providing free information to users. “Free” content attracts users to the platforms, driving up the value of their advertising space. Piracy is the natural outcome of this philosophy. It is a major reason why authors have seen a collapse in their average income over the past 10 years, along with many other creators, such as musicians, songwriters, composers, photographers, playwrights, graphic designers, and small businesses and nonprofits that own copyrights. Since big tech companies fiercely protect their intellectual property, the “information wants to be free” philosophy in their hands is actually “information wants to be free (except mine).”
Illustrate and Write On,