In Praise of Copying: Get Your Free Copy

Just a quick fyi: If you head over to the Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty Press web site, you can grab a free copy of Mar­cus Boon’s new book, In Praise of Copy­ing, which makes the case that “copy­ing is an essen­tial part of being human, that the abil­i­ty to copy is wor­thy of cel­e­bra­tion, and that, with­out rec­og­niz­ing how inte­gral copy­ing is to being human, we can­not under­stand our­selves or the world we live in.” Boon is a writer, jour­nal­ist and Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor in the Eng­lish Lit­er­a­ture depart­ment at York Uni­ver­si­ty, Toron­to. You can down­load a free copy of his book in PDF for­mat straight from this link. (Note that the text is for­mal­ly released under a Cre­ative Com­mons license.) Or you can always pur­chase a print­ed copy online.

P.S. The Uni­ver­si­ty of Chica­go Press is offer­ing up a free e‑book of its own: The Bour­geois Virtues (632 pages) by Deirdre N. McCloskey. Head here to get a copy.

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  • Mike says:

    What a book! Here’s a taste:

    “In a text address­ing his for­mer com­rades in the Pop­u­lar Front, Bataille opposed appro­pri­a­tion to excretion–excretion as the inevitable loss of that which has been accu­mu­lat­ed, as that which must be dis­posed of. He argued that any con­cept of rev­o­lu­tion that con­sist­ed sole­ly of a trans­fer of rights of appro­pri­a­tion was inad­e­quate, and that the real rev­o­lu­tion­ary project was that of orga­niz­ing extrav­a­gant projects of waste dis­pos­al that go beyond the tra­di­tion­al meth­ods of scape­goat­ing, war, etc. This remains our prob­lem today, and it sug­gests pro­found rea­sons why there are lim­its to any legal res­o­lu­tion of prob­lems of copy­ing.”

    To grasp the pro­fun­di­ty, of course, you’ll have to read the book. In the mean­time here’s a fine­ly bal­anced passage–the paren­the­ses are from the orig­i­nal:

    “One could say that what we call ‘prop­er­ty’ is mere­ly the con­se­quence of thug­gish enforce­ment strate­gies prop­a­gat­ed by a gang of rob­ber barons who have the pow­er to enforce their claims and, through brute force, estab­lish them as law even when they are ille­git­i­mate or false; but although this notion has some appeal, it also has major weak­ness­es. Our com­mon expe­ri­ence of the world is not com­plete and arbi­trary chaos, and when we look at a tree, although we can rec­og­nize the imper­ma­nence of the tree–the fact that it grows, changes with the sea­sons, even­tu­al­ly dies–we nev­er­the­less feel that a tree is not a bird or an ocean, nor could we call an ocean a copy of a tree (or could we?). The tree is estab­lished by an act of label­ing that is an appro­pri­a­tion, yet we rec­og­nize a cer­tain proper­ness in call­ing a tree a tree.”

    The book is well worth the ask­ing price. Enjoy.

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