“Information wants to be free”

POSTED: February 11, 2020

It turns out that nobody ever said that, least of all Stewart Brand, who normally receives the credit.

Seth Godin pointed out in his blog thingy that

Thirty-five years ago, in a conversation with Steve Wozniak (pioneer of the personal computer), Stuart Brand (founder of the Whole Earth Catalog along with many other foundational disruptions), said:

On the one hand you have — the point you’re making Woz — is that information sort of wants to be expensive because it is so valuable — the right information in the right place just changes your life. On the other hand, information almost wants to be free because the costs of getting it out is getting lower and lower all of the time. So you have these two things fighting against each other.

Mister Godin references another article about the history of that almost-fictitious quotation, which itself makes some interesting points and adds some facts.

Has anyone ever said any of the things that people say they say? Certainly Thatcher never said “there is no such thing as society”, for example.