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  • Published: 6 September 2012
  • ISBN: 9781448161331
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 320

Free Ride

How the Internet is Destroying the Culture Business and How it Can Fight Back

Do you read newspapers online? Own a kindle? Download television programmes so you can skip the adverts? Free Ride explores the implications for modern culture of all these activities and asks how businesses can fight back against the expectation that everything we value should be available for free.

'Information wants to be free' says influential technologist Stewart Brand at a 1984 hacker convention. These words became the mantra that shaped the Internet, and the conflict he predicted has led to a revolution in the way that our culture is funded and consumed.

We have come to demand free content online, mistaking the packaging of physical products for what we were actually paying for- the creative content. Newspapers are being pressurised to give their content away for free online; music sales have plummeted due to piracy; and Amazon is using its market power to drive down the price of ebooks.

Technology companies are making millions from content created and funded by others, reducing the value of culture in the process. How did the media industry lose control over its destiny? What are the consequences? And are we headed for cultural meltdown if the media can't stop the free ride?

  • Published: 6 September 2012
  • ISBN: 9781448161331
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 320

About the author

Robert Levine

Robert Levine is editor of Billboard and a former features editor at Wired and New Yorker. A writer about technology, business and digital media his work has also appeared in the New York Times, Fortune, Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair.

Praise for Free Ride

Meticulously researched book...Levine's solutions are sensible...it's a vital discussion we need to be having

Davin O'Dwyer, Irish Times

Levine is an engaging, provocative writer, and there is much to like about Free Ride...an entertaining read, with an entertaining cast


A book that should change the debate about the future of culture

New York Times Book Review

Brilliant... A crashcourse in the existential problems facing the media

The Times


Bryan Appleyard, Sunday Times

Pugnacious and well-researched

Steven Poole, Guardian


Pat Kane, Independent

Robert Levine tries to solve the tricky problem of internet copyright… This is an important debate, and this opinionated book is a welcome part of it

William Leith, Scotsman

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