FREELOADING is a book that explores the implications of digital piracy—and the insidious devaluation of creative work that results.
Written by Brooklyn-based author and activist Chris Ruen, the book features candid musician interviews (with members of TV On The Radio, The Hold Steady, Yeasayer and others) along with community-focused critiques of "freeloaders," a close look at the SOPA blackout protests, the good and bad of copyright law, and more.
Since its original publication, FREELOADING has helped fans, journalists and artists around the world to understand what side they are on amidst the ongoing tension between digital disruption and the desire for artists (and all workers) to be paid fairly for their work. This sprawling exploration draws idiosyncratic connections between Marshall McLuhan, early maps of the The New World, the American Oak Savanna and college hockey riots. Your views may not jibe with everything you read in FREELOADING, but as such it is sure to provoke a few new thoughts on our shared digital future.
Available in the US, UK, Spain, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Latin America.
“A wonderful book that catches an encouraging shift in the zeitgeist. Ruen’s epiphany regarding the effects of his own piracy and freeloading on the bands he loves was eye opening–for me, at least. Although he mainly deals with music, the arguments he presents will apply to print and other media equally. I’ve recommended this book to a number of friends, some of whom may have felt this discussion was over…it’s not. After a couple of decades of waffling, it’s really just begun.”
“The original slacker’s dream of free everything may have been realized by the Internet—but along with it came the slacker’s nightmare of never getting paid for one’s creativity. Freeloading seeks—and to a large extent succeeds—to wrestle with the collapse of the commons and the possibilities for a renewed social contract.”
“Too often, arguments about copyright online come down to talking points: Theft, Internet freedom, or rhetoric about major label evils. With a critic’s eye and a music fan’s passion, Ruen shows how piracy affects artists and lays bare the corporate agendas on both sides of the debate. An essential read for anyone worried about how artists will survive in the online age.”
“One of the best books on the subject.” Salon
“A deeply moral and passionate book.” Sydney Sunday Herald
“Fascinating.” The Village Voice
“Taking a rare and refreshingly unbiased look at the phenomenon of internet piracy, [Freeloading] is that rarest of discursive entities; a call for more conversation, both balanced and passionate.” InPress Magazine, Australia
“Highly recommended.” Copyhype
“Chris Ruen is one of the most compelling and forward thinking critics of our current download culture.” M3 Music Conference
O/R Books in the US and Canada
Scribe Publications in Australia and New Zealand
Scribe UK in United Kingdom
Ediciones Quinto 20 in Spain and Latin America
Available at WORD, Rough Trade, Record Grouch and Greenlight in Brooklyn and at the great STRAND in Manhattan.
IN THE NEWS
Copyhype: The Net Fail parts 1 and 2 (SOPA Mythbusting)
Slate/The Big Money: No Sellouts Means More Selling-Out (Original page on Big Money is deceased)
On October 20th I read the near-entirety of Freeloading from 10 AM to 8PM at WORD Bookstore in Greenpoint. Guest readers included members of Talk Normal and Crystal Stilts, along with Todd Patrick, Frankie Rose, and luminaries from the NYC experimental theater scene.