This book is an excellent collection of essays that focus on intellectual property and copyright. The author makes his living as a science fiction writer and has a vested interest in seeing writers benefit from their work. However, Doctorow provides a clear view of how distributors and other intermediaries use technology and regulation to subvert the ideas of copyright to increase their profits and power.

I found the ideas in this book to be especially poignant, given the changes that are coming surrounding electric cars and vehicles. While I am happy to see more car manufacturers turning towards making electric cars, I suspect their motives are more about turning the car into a purchase that also locks in the customer to a subscription service (A so-called Rundle or reoccurring revenue bundle).

Consider the recent case in which Toyota was planning to require users to subscribe to a monthly service to continue to use the keyfobs that come with their cars: Toyota will make you pay to start your car with your key fob. Just as my HP printer rejects all print cartridges made by a third-party, so will your vehicle reject a new motor, battery pack, windshield, or side mirror from another maker. And forgot being able to subscribe to Waymo’s self-driving service if you own a Tesla.

This short book is well-written, and I recommend that all creators pick up a copy as they consider how they want to distribute and license their creations, be that videos, music, technology, or art.

Amazon Link