Cory Doctorow

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Cory Doctorow

Born July 17, 1971 (1971-07-17) (age 37)
Toronto, Ontario,
Flag of Canada Canada
Occupation author, blogger
Genres Science fiction, Cyberpunk
Notable work(s) Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, Little Brother
Official website

Cory Doctorow (born July 17, 1971) is a Canadian blogger, journalist and science fiction author who serves as co-editor of the blog Boing Boing. He is an activist in favor of liberalizing copyright laws and a proponent of the Creative Commons organization, using some of their licenses for his books. Some common themes of his work include digital rights management, file sharing, leftist politics, and Post scarcity economics.


[edit] Biography

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada to Trotskyist teachers,[1] Doctorow was raised in a Jewish activist[2] household, working in the nuclear disarmament movement and as a Greenpeace campaigner as a child. He later served on the board of directors for the Grindstone Island Co-operative on Big Rideau Lake in Ontario, helping to run a conference center devoted to peace and social justice education and activist training. He received his high school diploma from SEED School, a free school in Toronto, and dropped out of four universities without attaining a degree.

In 1999, Doctorow founded Opencola along with John Henson and Grad Conn. Opencola was a software company, which distributed their product's source code under GPL. In 2003, Opencola was sold.

Doctorow moved to Los Angeles in mid-2006 from London, where he had worked as European Affairs Coordinator for the Electronic Frontier Foundation for four years, helping to set up the Open Rights Group, before quitting to pursue writing full-time in January 2006. Upon his departure, Doctorow was named a Fellow of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Doctorow spent the 2006-2007 academic year teaching as a visiting professor at the University of Southern California, despite not holding any academic degree.[3] He then returned to London. He is a frequent public speaker on copyright issues.

Doctorow's daughter with Alice Taylor, Poesy Emmeline Fibonacci Nautilus Taylor Doctorow, was born on February 3, 2008.[4]

Cory Doctorow and Alice Taylor married on Sunday, October 26, 2008.[5]

Cory's parents have suggested that he is related to author E.L. Doctorow, but E.L. Doctorow himself could not confirm or deny the family connection.[6]

[edit] Fiction

Doctorow (left) pictured at the 2006 Lift Conference with fellow Boing Boing contributor Jasmina Tešanović (centre) and cyberpunk author Bruce Sterling (right).

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, Doctorow's first novel, was published in January 2003, and was the first novel released under one of the Creative Commons licenses. The license allowed readers to circulate the electronic edition as long as they neither made money from it nor used it to create derived works. The electronic edition was released simultaneously with the print edition.

In March 2003, Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom was re-released under a different Creative Commons license that allowed derivative works such as fan fiction, but still prohibited commercial usage. A semi-sequel short story called Truncat was published on in August 2003. Doctorow's other novels use Creative Commons licenses that prohibit derived works and commercial usage and have followed the model of making digital versions available, without charge, at the same time that the print versions are published.

He has won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 2000, the Locus Award for Best First Novel for Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom in 2003, and the Sunburst award for best Canadian Science Fiction Book for his short story collection A Place So Foreign and Eight More in 2004. The novelette "0wnz0red" from this collection was nominated for the 2003 Nebula Award.

Doctorow released Little Brother in 2008 under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike license.[2] It has been nominated for a 2009 Hugo Award.

His upcoming novel is titled "Makers", and will be released next October.[7]

[edit] Nonfiction and other writings

Doctorow's nonfiction works include his first book, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Science Fiction (co-written with Karl Schroeder and published in 2000), and his contributions to Boing Boing, the weblog he co-edits, as well as regular columns in Popular Science and Make magazines. He is a Contributing Writer to Wired magazine, and contributes occasionally to other magazines and newspapers such as the New York Times Sunday Magazine, the Globe and Mail, Asimov's Science Fiction magazine, and the Boston Globe. In 2004, he wrote an essay on Wikipedia included in The Anthology at the End of the Universe, comparing Internet attempts at Hitchhiker's Guide-type resources, including a discussion of the Wikipedia article about himself.

Doctorow contributed the foreword to Sound Unbound: Sampling Digital Music and Culture (The MIT Press, 2008) edited by Paul D. Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky. He also was a contributing writer for the book Worldchanging: A User's Guide for the 21st Century.[8]

Some of his non-fiction published between 2001 and 2007 has been collected by Tachyon Publications as Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future.

[edit] Other work and fellowships

He served as Canadian Regional Director of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America in 1999. In June 1999, he co-founded the free software P2P software company Opencola with John Henson and Grad Conn. The company was sold to the Open Text Corporation in the summer of 2003.

Together with Austrian art group monochrom he initiated the Instant Blitz Copy Fight project, for which people from all over the world are asked to take flash pictures of copyright warnings in movie theaters.[9]

At the 2003 Torcon 3 World Science Fiction Convention, Doctorow was a featured guest.[citation needed]

On October 31, 2005, Doctorow was involved in a controversy over digital rights management with Sony-BMG, as told in Wikinomics.[10]

Cory Doctorow at a summit at Stanford in 2006

In 2006, Doctorow was named the 2006-2007 Canadian Fulbright Chair in Public Diplomacy at the USC Center on Public Diplomacy, jointly sponsored by the Royal Fulbright Commission,[11] the Integrated Media Systems Center, and the USC Center on Public Diplomacy. The academic Chair included a one year writing and teaching residency at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Doctorow is a regular contributor to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio program and podcast, Search Engine.

[edit] Opinions on intellectual property

Doctorow believes that copyright laws should be liberalized to allow for free sharing of all digital media. He has also advocated filesharing[12]. He argues that copyright holders should have a monopoly on selling their own digital media, and copyright laws should only come into play when someone attempts to sell a product currently under someone else's copyright.

Doctorow is an opponent of DRM, claiming that it limits the free sharing of digital media and frequently causes problems for legitimate users (including registration problems that lock users out of their own purchases and prevent them from being able to move their media to other devices and platforms)[13].

[edit] In popular culture

Cory Doctorow wears a red cape, goggles and a balloon as he receives the 2007 EFF Pioneer Award, spoofing an xkcd webcomic in which he is mentioned.

The comic xkcd occasionally features a partially fictional version of Doctorow that lives in a hot air balloon "up in" the blogosphere and wears a red cape and goggles, such as in the comic "Blagofaire".[14] When Doctorow won the 2007 EFF Pioneer Award, the presenters gave him a red cape, goggles and a balloon.[15]

xkcd again featured Cory in its January 7, 2009[16] alt text saying "Steve Jobs should be better soon -- now that the Apple Store is getting rid of DRM, Cory Doctorow will get rid of his Steve Jobs voodoo doll."

The web-based RPG Forumwarz features an NPC called Rory "Doctor O.", an obvious parody of Doctorow.

[edit] Bibliography

[edit] References

  1. ^ Cory Doctorow (2006-01-01). "About Cory Doctorow". Retrieved on 2008-02-09. 
  2. ^ MacDonald, Katherine (2003-03-31). "Interview: Cory Doctorow". Strange Horizons. Retrieved on 2007-12-22. 
  3. ^ Brock Read (2007-04-06). "A Blogger Infiltrates Academe". Chronicle of Higher Education, Volume 53, Issue 31, Page A30. Retrieved on 2008-02-09. 
  4. ^ Cory Doctorow (2008-02-03). "Fine News". Boing Boing. Retrieved on 2008-02-09. 
  5. ^ "Little Brother UK edition signed!". BoingBoing. BoingBoing. 2008-10-27. Retrieved on 2008-10-27. 
  6. ^ "Off the Page: E.L. Doctorow". The Washington Post. 2004-05-20. Retrieved on 2008-02-09. 
  7. ^ Cory Doctorow (2009-03-19). "Open source hardware bank: P2P lending for hardware hackers". Retrieved on 2009-03-19. "the first third of the book was syndicated on Salon as 'Themepunks'" 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Instant Blitz Copy Fight web site". Retrieved on 2008-02-09. 
  10. ^ Tapscott, Dan; Anthony D. Williams (2006). Wikinomics. Portfolio/Penguin Books. pp. 34–37. ISBN 978-1-59184-138-8. 
  11. ^ "2006 Award Recipients". Royal Fulbright Commission web site. Retrieved on 2008-02-09. 
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ (see also [e.g.],,,, [1], and
  15. ^ "Cory Doctorow, Part II". xkcd. 2007-03-28. Retrieved on 2007-09-05. 
  16. ^ See also
  17. ^ Robinson, Tasha (2008-06-11). "Cory Doctorow / The A.V. Club". The Onion. Retrieved on 2008-06-11. 

[edit] External links

Wikisource has original works written by or about:
NAME Doctorow, Cory
SHORT DESCRIPTION Journalist. Author
DATE OF BIRTH 1971-07-17
PLACE OF BIRTH Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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