In his new book, Freeloading: How Our Insatiable Appetite For Free Content Starves Creativity, author Chris Ruen provides a glimpse into his personal transition from consumer of free media to advocate for artists’ rights and a more rational conversation about copyright in the digital age. Ruen shares his own thoughts about common justifications for online piracy, about the mechanics behind the anti-SOPA protest, and about his own proposals for a renewed dialogue about copyright reform and enforcement. While certain professionals on either side of the debate may take issue with Ruen’s specific, legal proposals, I believe the general reader with even a passing interest in the cultural aspects of what Ruen calls “freeloading,” can learn a great deal from this book. In particular, the middle third of the work is comprised of interviews with musicians and producers from the independent punk scene — guys who are about as anti-establishment as it gets — and their no-nonsense views on the rationales supporting online piracy are well worth the attention of anyone who thinks he’s stickin’ to The Man by downloading torrents.

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