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The Anarchist in the Library

Since it’s November I think I can safely put this book on the 2004 top ten list. I read it on the plane on the way to a workshop on The Information Commons which was somewhat less interesting than this book. Siva is only sort of flirting when he talks about anarchism since his conclusion basically says “we don’t want anarchy, but we need something better than this” He’s a scholar but one who uses the tools he discusses. That, combined with a very readable style and a good sense of humor make this book a must read.

He goes deep into the models for sharing information and explains how our previous pathways to free and open sources of information are being shut down by people who want to be able to charge us for it. Not only that, they have been re-framing the debate, so that wanting to access this information in an easy and user-friendly way gets us branded as criminals ["anarchists"] by the powers that be. They basically make the argument that they’re keeping us safe by adding all these levels of copy protection and legislation when in reality they’re just protecting their own private proerty model and revenue stream that comes from that model.This is, of course, a horribly brief synopsis of a complex and wonderful book. If you’d like more from Siva, feel free to read the FAQ about this book, or just start reading his blog.