Following on from my post about new technology in publishing, the question today is: does information want to be free? From a more personal point of view, does content want to be free?

This is a question that’s sparking intense debate in many circles across the net and I could easily spend days reading all the different arguments for and against the giving away of a creative’s work.

My brain shudders when I think about this in terms of my personal writing – oddly, it doesn’t do a thing when I think about all the writing I do for fancyapint.com or other sites online that don’t give me anything but credit. Must be some kind of personality disorder thing…

I, being naturally suspicious (I’m not paranoid, everyone really is out to get me), also wonder if it’s popularity is being propagated by the same freeloaders who want music, movies and everything else for free. Statistically, this is a misnomer, as the general consensus seems to be that people who download music are more likely to buy music as well. And with the passage of the recent Digital Economy Act here in Britain, this seems a good time to have this conversation.

Okay, there will always be freeloaders – short of hunting them down and eliminating their genes from the pool, we’re unlikely to eliminate them anytime soon. I guess the question is how different is it from loaning someone a book? Well, rarely do you give/loan someone a book and keep a copy of it.

So seriously, I’ve spent years writing, editing and producing a novel and I should just give it away?

The argument for doing this is about spread – the more people have it, the more people will know one’s name and the more individuals will pay for some aspect of it. And that sounds nice in principle but hell, the people I find espousing this view are most often already well known – does that really count? How many of them got there by giving their stuff away?

As I said, my separate personalities can’t reach consensus on this right now and maybe I need to try the experiment and see what happens.

I throw it open to the floor for comment – and I’ll give a free copy of my book to the best comment. See? I can give it away…