Free and open source software. Creative Commons licenses. Wikipedia. Remix music. Video mashups. All are part of the new world of digital media that has spawned a new "sharing economy" which increasingly competes with entrenched media giants. Reporting from the heart of this "free culture" movement, journalist and activist David Bollier provides the first comprehensive history of the attempt by a global brigade of techies, lawyers, artists, musicians, scientists, business people, innovators, and geeks of all stripes to create a digital republic committed to freedom, transparency, participation, and innovation.
Viral Spiral-the term Bollier coins to describe the almost magical process by which Internet users can come together to build online commons and tools-brilliantly interweaves the disparate strands of this eclectic movement. The story describes major technological developments, pivotal legal struggles, as well as fascinating profiles of hacker Richard Stallman, copyright scholar Lawrence Lessig, and other colorful figures who have fought to secure democratic values in cyberspace and to promote a new definition of the commons.
A milestone in reporting on the Internet by one of our leading observers of digital culture, Viral Spiral is for anyone seeking to take the full measure of the new digital era.