The Boy Who Could Change the World: The Writings of Aaron Swartz (2015)

31 March 2016, dusan

“The writings of the computer genius and Internet hacktivist whose tragic suicide shook the world

In January 2013, Aaron Swartz, under arrest and threatened with thirty-five years’ imprisonment, committed suicide. He was twenty-six. But in his short life he had changed the world: reshaping the Internet, questioning our assumptions about intellectual property, and creating some of the tools we use in our daily online lives. He was also a leading critic of the politics of the Web.

In this collection of his writings that spans over a decade, Swartz displays his passion for and in-depth knowledge of intellectual property, copyright, and the architecture of the Internet. The Boy Who Could Change the World contains the life’s work of one of the most original minds of our time.”

With an Introduction by Lawrence Lessig
Publisher The New Press, New York/London, 2015
ISBN 162097066X, 9781620970669
368 pages



See also MIT prosecution report.

Rasmus Fleischer: Musikens politiska ekonomi: lagstiftningen, ljudmedierna och försvaret av den levande musiken, 1925-2000 (2012) [Swedish]

8 January 2016, dusan

Historical study on copyright legislation and media technology in the 20th century.

“This book explores the intersections of politics and technology, economy and aesthetics. It concerns the changing preconditions for the commodification of music during the 20th century, caused by the use of loudspeakers and radio broadcasting, primarily in Sweden.

It was around 1930 that “live music” (levande musik) became a concept, strictly opposed to that of “mechanical music”, suggesting a kind of “aura” in the common presence of musicians and audience. About the same time, cinema musicians lost their employment and musicians’ trade unions began to fear that the “mechanization of music” would have disastrous consequences. The thesis explores how and why musicians – but also record companies – were granted legal rights to compensation for the use of recorded music, internationally standardized in the Rome Convention (1961). This led to new institutions of economic redistribution for the benefit of musicians. A recurrent problem was derived from the ambivalent status of musicians as royalty-earning artists and/or wage-earning workers.

Another problem was the practical impossibility of monitoring the actual use of loudspeaker music. The thesis shows how legislators have avoided the hardest decisions, preferring to delegate these to collecting societies. Furthermore, it highlights the influential role of Fascist Italy as an early partner of the record industry lobby. Musicians’ unions, on the other hand, allied themselves with the ILO (International Labour Organization), in opposition to the record industry.

In the 1960s, the “aura” of musical performance was questioned by avantgardists and bureaucrats. However, the trend changed in the 1970s with the rise of a leftist-radical music movement. Its idea about authenticity was absorbed by government agencies and by the Musicians’ union. The years 1977–82 marks a peak in the unionist struggle against “mechanical music”, with a brief but heated conflict between disc-jockeys and instrumentalists. The last empirical chapter examines the sudden rise of interest in “music export” within the context of the “new economy” of the 1990s.

Empirically, this thesis draws on a wide range of sources covering the period of 1925–2000: governmental investigations, publications from the Swedish Musicians’ Union, and archival material. The theoretical basis may be described as critical theory, which is combined with materialist media theory in the attempt to clarify how “music” can be sold as a commodity, while at the same time remain as an activity outside of the market. ”The political economy of music” is thus defined as a process of mediation, which may be understood as a dialectic of industrialization and aestheticization.”

Based on Ph.D. thesis from the Department of History, Lund University, 2012.

Publisher Ink bokförlag, Stockholm, 2012
ISBN 9197846945, 9789197846943
v+630 pages
via rsms

Reviews: Staffan Albinsson (Scandinavian Economic History Review, 2013, EN), Ulrik Volgsten (Respons, 2013, SW).

Author, (2)
Publisher (

PDF (3 MB)

More from Fleischer.

Caren Irr: Pink Pirates: Contemporary American Women Writers and Copyright (2010)

12 December 2015, dusan

“Readings of contemporary American women writers, controversies over copyright, and feminist theory

Today, copyright is everywhere, surrounded by a thicket of no trespassing signs that mark creative work as private property. Caren Irr’s Pink Pirates asks how contemporary novelists—represented by Ursula Le Guin, Andrea Barrett, Kathy Acker, and Leslie Marmon Silko—have read those signs, arguing that for feminist writers in particular copyright often conjures up the persistent exclusion of women from ownership. Bringing together voices from law schools, courtrooms, and the writer’s desk, Irr shows how some of the most inventive contemporary feminist novelists have reacted to this history.

Explaining the complex, three-century lineage of Anglo-American copyright law in clear, accessible terms and wrestling with some of copyright law’s most deeply rooted assumptions, Irr sets the stage for a feminist reappraisal of the figure of the literary pirate in the late twentieth century—a figure outside the restrictive bounds of U.S. copyright statutes.

Going beyond her readings of contemporary women authors, Irr’s exhaustive history of how women have fared under intellectual property regimes speaks to broader political, social, and economic implications and engages digital-era excitement about the commons with the most utopian and materialist strains in feminist criticism.”

Publisher University of Iowa Press, 2010
ISBN 1587299127, 9781587299124
220 pages
via wX

Reviews: Madeleine Monson-Rosen (Mediations, 2010), Sean Latham (Modern Language Quarterly, 2012).


PDF (updated 2017-9-22)