Content & Intro by John Perry Barlow

Ξ September 9th, 2008 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Uncategorized |


John Perry Barlow's intro to Cory Doctrow's new collection of essays: ©ontent (available for free download).

    It's this simple: the new meaning of the word "content," is plain wrong. In fact, it is intentionally wrong. It's a usage that only arose when the institutions that had fattened on their ability to bottle and distribute the genius of human expression began to realize that their containers were melting away, along with their reason to be in business. They started calling it content at exactly the time it ceased to be. Previously they had sold books and records and films, all nouns to be sure. They didn't know what to call the mysterious ghosts of thought that were attached to them.

    Thus, when not applied to something you can put in a bucket (of whatever size), "content" actually represents a plot to make you think that meaning is a thing. It isn't. The only reason they want you to think that it is because they know how to own things, how to give them a value based on weight or quantity, and, more to the point, how to make them artificially scarce in order to increase their value.

    That, and the fact that after a good 25 years of advance warning, they still haven't done much about the Economy of Ideas besides trying to stop it from happening.

 

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