Bruce Sterling's E-rights

A little food for thought whilst reading Goldstein and Boyle and thinking
about the goods model.

Bruce Sterling, the novelist who is usually credited with the coinage of
the word, "cyberspace" and known as a creator of cyberpunk lit, includes
this Use Policy on his electronic works:


The documents on this disk are not commodities.  They're not for sale.
They are not part of the "information economy."  Some of them were part 
of the commercial economy once, in the sense that I got paid for writing 
some of them, but they've since been liberated.  You didn't have to pay 
any money to get them.  If you did pay anything to see this stuff, you've 
been ripped off.  If you didn't get this data for free, send me some e-mail 
and tell me about it.  Information *wants* to be free.   And I know where 
you can get a lot more.

You can copy them.   Copy the hell out of them, be my guest.
You can upload them onto boards or discussion groups.  Go right ahead, 
enjoy yourself.

You can print them out.
You can photocopy the printouts and hand them around as long as you don't
take any money for it.

But they're not public domain.  You can't copyright them.  Attempts to pirate 
this stuff and make money from it may involve you in a serious litigative 
snarl; believe me, for the pittance you might wring out of such an action, it's 
really not worth it.  This stuff don't "belong" to you.  A lot of it, like the 
Internet electronic zines I've included, doesn't "belong" to me, either.  It 
belongs to the emergent realm of alternative information economics, for 
whatever *that's* worth.  You don't have any right to make this stuff part of 
the conventional flow of commerce.  Let them be part of the flow of 
knowledge:  there's a difference.  Don't sell them.  And don't alter the text, 
either; that would be a hopelessly way-dork move.  Just make 
more, and give them to whoever might want or need them.

Now have fun.                      Bruce Sterling -- bruces@well.sf.ca.us
                                   FAX 512-323-2405