"Information Wants to be Free"

Gareth Branwyn garethb2 at EARTHLINK.NET
Thu Jan 25 23:16:45 UTC 2001

It was a non-language-related conference. I was speaking at the annual
cigar smoke-in known as the National Assoc. of TV Producers and Execs

Your Name wrote:
> Which conference was held in Vegas? Was UNLV involved?
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Gareth Branwyn [mailto:garethb2 at EARTHLINK.NET]
> Sent: Thursday, January 25, 2001 2:59 PM
> Subject: Re: "Information Wants to be Free"
> Brand is usually credited with the coinage. If my memory servers
> (WARNING: I just got back from a conference in Vegas and haven;t slept
> in 28 hours!) it was first used in a special publication of the Whole
> Earth Review called Two Cybernetic Frontiers (on computer tech circa the
> early '70s). But that seems too early for the quote, so maybe it was a
> later article in Whole Earth Review. I've exchanged some email with
> Brand over the years, I'll ask him directly.
> BTW: The full quote from Brand is:
> Information wants to be free - because it is now so easy to copy and
> distribute casually - and information wants to be expensive - because
> in an Information Age, nothing is so valuable as the right information
> at the right time."
> The meaning of the statement (minus the second half) is often
> misinterpreted.
> Fred Shapiro wrote:
> >
> > I would be grateful for any information as to the origins of the slogan
> > "Information wants to be free."  The earliest I find on Nexis is Stewart
> > Brand in 1984, but an extremely knowledgeable person tells me she thinks
> > it was around before that.
> >
> > Fred Shapiro
> >
> > --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> > Fred R. Shapiro                             Editor
> > Associate Librarian for Public Services     YALE DICTIONARY OF QUOTATIONS
> >   and Lecturer in Legal Research            Yale University Press,
> > Yale Law School                             forthcoming
> > e-mail: fred.shapiro at yale.edu               http://quotationdictionary.com
> > --------------------------------------------------------------------------

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