Robert Levine, the author of Free Ride, (http://freeridethebook.wordpress.com/) will be speaking in Hodges Figgis at 6.30pm on January 24th.  All welcome.robheadshot

Free Ride

How the Internet is Destroying the Culture Business and How it Can Fight Back

Robert Levine

 Do you read newspapers online? Own a kindle? Download television programmes so you can skip the adverts? Free Ride explores the implications for modern culture of all these activities and asks how businesses can fight back against the expectation that everything we value should be available for free.

‘Information wants to be free’ says influential technologist Stewart Brand at a 1984 hacker convention. These words became the mantra that shaped the Internet, and the conflict he predicted has led to a revolution in the way that our culture is funded and consumed.  We have come to demand free content online, mistaking the packaging of physical products for what we were actually paying for – the creative content. Newspapers are being pressurised to give their content away for free online; music sales have plummeted due to piracy; and Amazon is using its market power to drive down the price of e-books.

Technology companies are making millions from content created and funded by others, reducing the value of culture in the process. How did the media industry lose control over its destiny? What are the consequences? And are we headed for cultural meltdown if the media can’t stop the free ride?

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