|Intro||Canadian-British blogger, journalist, and science fiction author|
|A.K.A.||craphound, Cory Efram Doctorow|
|Countries||Canada United Kingdom|
|Occupations||Science fiction writer Blogger Editor Journalist Writer Author Podcaster|
|Birth||17 July 1971 (Toronto)|
|Notable Works||Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, Little Brother|
Cory Efram Doctorow (; born July 17, 1971) is a Canadian-British blogger, journalist, and science fiction author who serves as co-editor of the blog Boing Boing. He is an activist in favour of liberalising 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, and post-scarcity economics.
Life and career
Doctorow was born in Toronto, Ontario. His father was born in a refugee camp in Azerbaijan. Although he is an admirer of acclaimed novelist E. L. Doctorow, the two are of no known relation, contrary to popular belief; the surname "Doctorow" is somewhat common among Jewish people of Eastern European descent. In elementary school, Doctorow befriended Tim Wu. He received his high school diploma from the SEED School, and attended four universities without attaining a degree. He later served on the board of directors for the Grindstone Island Co-operative in Big Rideau Lake in Ontario.
In June 1999, he co-founded the free software P2P company Opencola with John Henson and Grad Conn. The company was sold to the Open Text Corporation of Waterloo, Ontario, during the summer of 2003.
Doctorow later relocated to London and worked as European Affairs Coordinator for the Electronic Frontier Foundation for four years, helping to establish the Open Rights Group, before leaving the EFF to pursue writing full-time in January 2006. Upon his departure, Doctorow was named a Fellow of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. He was named the 2006–2007 Canadian Fulbright Chair for Public Diplomacy at the USC Center on Public Diplomacy, sponsored jointly by the Royal Fulbright Commission, the Integrated Media Systems Center, and the USC Center on Public Diplomacy. The professorship included a one-year writing and teaching residency at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, United States. He then returned to London, but remained a frequent public speaker on copyright issues.
In 2009, Doctorow became the first Independent Studies Scholar in Virtual Residence at the University of Waterloo in Ontario. He was a student in the program during 1993–94, but left without completing a thesis. Doctorow is also a Visiting Professor at the Open University in the United Kingdom. In 2012 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from The Open University.
Doctorow married Alice Taylor in October 2008, and together they have one daughter named Poesy Emmeline Fibonacci Nautilus Taylor Doctorow, who was born in 2008. Doctorow became a British citizen by naturalisation on 12 August 2011.
In 2015, Doctorow decided to leave London and move to Los Angeles, feeling disappointed by London's "death" from Britain's choice of Conservative government. He claims on his blog, "But London is a city whose two priorities are being a playground for corrupt global elites who turn neighbourhoods into soulless collections of empty safe-deposit boxes in the sky, and encouraging the feckless criminality of the finance industry. These two facts are not unrelated." He rejoined the EFF in January 2015 to campaign for the eradication of digital rights management (DRM).
Other work, activism, and fellowships
He served as Canadian Regional Director of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America in 1999.
Together with Austrian art group monochrom, he initiated the Instant Blitz Copy Fight project, which asks people from all over the world to take flash pictures of copyright warnings in movie theaters.
On October 31, 2005, Doctorow was involved in a controversy concerning digital rights management with Sony-BMG, as told in Wikinomics.
As a user of the Tor anonymity network for more than a decade during his global travels, Doctorow publicly supports the network; furthermore, Boing Boing operates a "high speed, high-quality exit node."
Doctorow was the keynote speaker at the July 2016 Hackers on Planet Earth conference.
Doctorow began selling fiction when he was 17 years old and sold several stories followed by publication of his story "Craphound" in 1998.
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 licences, allowing 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, it was re-released with a different Creative Commons licence that allowed derivative works such as fan fiction, but still prohibited commercial usage. It was nominated for a Nebula Award, and won the Locus Award for Best First Novel in 2004. A semi-sequel short story named Truncat was published on Salon.com in August 2003.
His novel Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town, published in June 2005, was chosen to launch the Sci-Fi Channel's book club, Sci-Fi Essentials (now defunct).
Doctorow's other novels have been released with Creative Commons licences that allow derived works and prohibit commercial usage, and he has used the model of making digital versions available, without charge, at the same time that print versions are published.
His Sunburst Award-winning short story collectionA Place So Foreign and Eight More was also published in 2004: "0wnz0red" from this collection was nominated for the 2004 Nebula Award for Best Novelette.
Doctorow released the bestselling novel Little Brother in 2008 with a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike licence. It was nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2009. and won the 2009 Prometheus Award, Sunburst Award, and the 2009 John W. Campbell Memorial Award.
His novel Makers was released in October 2009, and was serialized for free on the Tor Books website.
Doctorow released another young adult novel, For the Win, in May 2010. The novel is available free on the author's website as a Creative Commons download, and is also published in traditional paper format by Tor Books. The book concerns massively multiplayer online role-playing games.
Doctorow's short story collection "With a Little Help" was released in printed format on May 3, 2011. It is a project to demonstrate the profitability of Doctorow's method of releasing his books in print and subsequently for free under Creative Commons.
In September 2012, Doctorow released The Rapture of the Nerds, a novel written in collaboration with Charles Stross.
Doctorow's young adult novel Pirate Cinema was released in October 2012. It won the 2013 Prometheus Award.
In February 2013, Doctorow released Homeland, the sequel to his novel Little Brother. It won the 2014 Prometheus Award (Doctorow's third novel to win this award).
His novel Walkaway was released in 2017.
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 blog he co-edits, as well as regular columns in the magazines Popular Science and Make. 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.
He popularized the term "metacrap" by a 2001 essay titled "Metacrap: Putting the torch to seven straw-men of the meta-utopia." 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. In 2016 he wrote the article Mr. Robot Killed the Hollywood-Hacker (published on MIT Technology Review) as a review of the TV show Mr. Robot and argued for a better portrayal and understanding of technology, computers and their risks and consequences in our modern world.
His essay "You Can't Own Knowledge" is included in the Freesouls book project.
He is the originator of Doctorow's Law: "Anytime someone puts a lock on something you own, against your wishes, and doesn't give you the key, they're not doing it for your benefit."
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. He argues that copyright holders should have a monopoly on selling their own digital media and that copyright laws should not be operative unless someone attempts to sell a product that is under someone else's copyright.
Doctorow is an opponent of digital rights management and claims 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).
He was a keynote speaker at the 2014 international conference CopyCamp in Warsaw with the presentation "Information Doesn't Want to Be Free."
In popular culture
The webcomic 'xkcd' occasionally features a partially fictional version of Doctorow who lives in a hot air balloon up in the "blogosphere" ("above the tag clouds") and wears a red cape and goggles, such as in the comic "Blagofaire". When Doctorow won the 2007 EFF Pioneer Award, the presenters gave him a red cape, goggles and a balloon.
The novel Ready Player One features a mention of Doctorow as being the newly re-elected President of the OASIS User Council (with Wil Wheaton as his Vice-President) in the year 2044, saying that, "...those two geezers had been doing a kick-ass job of protecting user rights for over a decade."
The comedic role-playing game Kingdom of Loathing features a boss-fight against a monster named Doctor Oh who is described as wearing a red cape and goggles. The commentary before the fight and assorted hit, miss and fumble messages during the battle make reference to Doctorow's advocacy for Open-Source sharing and freedom of media.
- 2000 John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer
- 2004 Locus Award for Best First Novel for Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom
- 2004 Sunburst Award for A Place So Foreign and Eight More
- 2006 Locus Award for Best Novelette for "I, Robot"
- 2007 Locus Award for Best Novelette for "When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth"
- 2007 The Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award
- For Little Brother
- 2009 John W. Campbell Memorial Award
- 2009 Prometheus Award
- 2009 Sunburst Award
- 2009 White Pine Award
- For Pirate Cinema
- 2013 Prometheus Award
- For Homeland
- 2014 Prometheus Award