Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves.
The world’s entire scientific and cultural heritage, published over centuries in books and journals, is increasingly being digitized and locked up by a handful of private corporations.
Want to read the papers featuring the most famous results of the sciences? You’ll need to send enormous amounts to publishers like Reed Elsevier.
There are those struggling to change this. The Open Access Movement has fought valiantly to ensure that scientists do not sign their copyrights away but instead ensure their work is published on the Internet, under terms that allow anyone to access it.
But even under the best scenarios, their work will only apply to things published in the future.
That is too high a price to pay. Forcing academics to pay money to read the work of their colleagues? Scanning entire libraries but only allowing the folks at Google to read them?
“I agree,” many say, “but what can we do? The companies hold the copyrights, they make enormous amounts of money by charging for access, and it’s perfectly legal — there’s nothing we can do to stop them.” But there is something we can, something that’s already being done: we can fight back.
Those with access to these resources — students, librarians, scientists — you have been given a privilege.
You get to feed at this banquet of knowledge while the rest of the world is locked out. But you need not — indeed, morally, you cannot — keep this privilege for yourselves.
trading passwords with colleagues, filling download requests for friends.
But sharing isn’t immoral — it’s a moral imperative.
Only those blinded by greed would refuse to let a friend make a copy.
“If you House the Information, then contain the Concentration. This is your gravity of thought. It is a Constant Force which is grounded and Able, but you must be Stable. This may sound like a Fable but really are you Able, for what will you bring to the Table of Thought?”
– Meileiac L Aaron – Meileiac