Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Cory Doctorow: Technology/Copyright Activist/Critic of Big Tech & Big Media/Science Fiction Author (Shooting Azimuths)

Craphound (Cory Doctorow's website)

---. "How Big Tech Went to Sh*t." On the Media (September 1, 2023) ["Cory Doctorow, journalist, activist, and the author of Red Team Blue, on his theory surrounding the slow, steady descent of the internet. Brooke asks Cory if the troubles that plague some corners of the internet are specific to Big Digital, rather than the economy at large-- and how our legal systems enabled it all. Cory and Brooke discuss possible solutions to save the world wide web, and how in a sea of the enshittified there's still hope."]

---. "How Chokepoint Capitalism is Strangling Creative Industries." Darts and Letters (December 19, 2022) ["Many of the creative industries look like an hourglass. On the one side, you have creators; on the other, the rest of us. In the middle, Rebecca Giblin and Cory Doctorow say there's often a 'chokepoint.' Corporate behemoths -- be they streaming apps, publishers, tech giants, or others -- put on the squeeze, exploiting their market power to extract rents, push down wages, and push up costs. But Cory and Rebecca have solutions to break the stranglehold, and in this episode of Darts and Letters Cory helps Jay explore various chokepoints, from concert tickets to audiobooks, and how we can open up the industries and get workers paid."]

---. How to Destroy Surveillance Capitalism. One Zero/Medium, 2020. ["An anti-monopolist critique of “surveillance capitalism,” that locates the problem with disinformation and conspiratorialism in the rise of monopolies. Just because Big Tech claims it has a mind control ray, we shouldn’t automatically believe them."]

---. The Internet Con: How To Seize the Means of Computation. Verso, 2023. ["A Big Tech disassembly manual, presenting a theory of internet enshittification and a way to throw it into reverse, creating a new, good internet that is a worthy successor to the old, good internet – so that the enshitternet of today is thrown on the scrapheap of history as an unfortunate transitional stage between the two."]

---. "Middle schooler wins C-SPAN prize for doc about NSA spying." Boing Boing (March 6, 2014) ["Dave from the Electronic Frontier Foundation sez, "Remember when Rep. Mike Rogers likened opponents of pernicious cybersecurity legislation to 14-year-olds? It turns out that middle-school-age students are also well-prepared to debate him on the NSA's programs as well. EFF congratulates students from two middle schools who took home top prizes in the C-SPAN StudentCam 2014 competition for young filmmakers with their documentaries on the debate over mass surveillance."]

---. "Stability and Surveillance." Locus (March 2015)

Electronic Frontier Foundation [Doctorow is a founding member: "EFF's mission is to ensure that technology supports freedom, justice, and innovation for all people of the world."]

Rebecca Giblin and Cory Doctorow. Chokepoint Capitalism: How Big Tech and Big Content Captured Creative Labor Markets and How We'll Win Them Back. Beacon Press, 2022. ["A call to action for the creative class and labor movement to rally against the power of Big Tech and Big Media. Corporate concentration has breached the stratosphere, as have corporate profits. An ever-expanding constellation of industries are now monopolies (where sellers have excessive power over buyers) or monopsonies (where buyers hold the whip hand over sellers)—or both. In Chokepoint Capitalism, scholar Rebecca Giblin and writer and activist Cory Doctorow argue we’re in a new era of “chokepoint capitalism,” with exploitative businesses creating insurmountable barriers to competition that enable them to capture value that should rightfully go to others. All workers are weakened by this, but the problem is especially well-illustrated by the plight of creative workers. From Amazon’s use of digital rights management and bundling to radically change the economics of book publishing, to Google and Facebook’s siphoning away of ad revenues from news media, and the Big Three record labels’ use of inordinately long contracts to up their own margins at the cost of artists, chokepoints are everywhere. By analyzing book publishing and news, live music and music streaming, screenwriting, radio and more, Giblin and Doctorow deftly show how powerful corporations construct “anti-competitive flywheels” designed to lock in users and suppliers, make their markets hostile to new entrants, and then force workers and suppliers to accept unfairly low prices. In the book’s second half, Giblin and Doctorow then explain how to batter through those chokepoints, with tools ranging from transparency rights to collective action and ownership, radical interoperability, contract terminations, job guarantees, and minimum wages for creative work. Chokepoint Capitalism is a call to workers of all sectors to unite to help smash these chokepoints and take back the power and profit that’s being heisted away—before it’s too late."]

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