I’m a fan of the “webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math and language” known as xkcd, and one of the recurring “hero” characters in it is Cory Doctorow, author and founder of former magazine and current blog Boing Boing. I was perusing some of the older xkcd comics, most of which I’d already seen, and came across one of the references to Doctorow and decided to wikipedia him. Turns out he’s a pretty interesting person, and a well-read and respected fiction author. He’s really into comics and science fiction, as well as personal privacy, intellectual property right laws, and a host of other “nerdy” subjects, many of which interest me as well. I then read about his latest novel, Little Brother, and some of the critical acclaim it had received. It piqued my interest, so I looked into it more. Turns out that Doctorow publishes all his books under the Creative Commons license, which is essentially a more flexible alternative to Copyrighting your work. Creative Commons has been a great success online, along with GNU free documentation and other “share-friendly” licensing methods, and has many sites dedicated to works published under its “some rights reserved” protections. The beauty of Creative Commons is that it preserves the content creator’s rights to profit from and retain ownership of their work (be it musical, literary, photographic, etc.) while recognizing that allowing the public to freely keep, share, and (optionally) modify artistic work can be a tremendous boon to their success. To make a long story short, by being published under CC, Doctorow’s books like Little Brother are freely available, and he has a wide variety of text and ebook formats available for free, anonymous download on the book’s website. If you’d like to know more about why an artist would choose to freely give away their works, read Doctorow’s explanation at the beginning of the book.