75 words

In 1984, at the initial Hackers Conference, Stewart Brand first said, "Information wants to be free". Beyond quoted, it became a meme, perhaps the meme in the digital era.

A few days ago, while doing some research for a presentation on mobile reading, I came across the full quote, later published in the Whole Earth Review. The next 75 words matter greatly.

"Information also wants to be expensive. Information wants to be free because it has become so cheap to distribute, copy, and recombine – too cheap to meter. It wants to be expensive because it can be immeasurably valuable to the recipient. That tension will not go away. It leads to endless wrenching debate about price, copyright, 'intellectual property', the moral rightness of casual distribution, because each round of new devices makes the tension worse, not better."

More than food for thought.

About Brian O'Leary

Founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, Brian O’Leary helps enterprises with media and publishing components capitalize on the power of content. A veteran of more than 30 years in the publishing industry and a prolific content producer himself, Brian leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to deliver innovative content solutions.

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