Another Writer Embraces Free Culture

It’s nice to come across stories of creative people having epiphanies about Free Culture. This latest is from writer Joe Barlow, who recently discovered an article from his blog had been posted on another web site without permission:

I didn’t know what to do. I tried staring at my monitor in disbelief. Then I tried sitting there with my mouth hanging open. I tried stamping my foot. I tried hitting the Refresh key a bunch of times, as if the computer might suddenly jolt itself awake, realize its error, and apologize for having mistakenly implied that my content had been pasted onto someone else’s site. Nothing worked.

After the initial shock and horror wore off, he noticed something interesting:

The site that had stolen my work was actually sending me traffic. People were reading my content on the other blog, then finding The Coffee House Wordsmith as a result….

In that sense, my stolen post is now serving the same purpose as a typical Guest Post. This boggled my mind. Is it possible that having my work pirated could actually result in more readers in the long run?

In the intervening days, I’ve noticed that a small trickle of traffic continues to find its way to me through this illicit link. And that has led me to a very disturbing, or at least controversial, hypothesis:

Writers who keep their work tied exclusively to one location are doing themselves, and their audience, a disservice. As such, almost everything I know about copyright is wrong. It does not protect creative work. It imprisons it.
Hallelujah. Read the whole article here.