Talk:Information wants to be free

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Large-scale blunder here. The word the writer is looking for here is "cypherpunk". The relationship of cyberpunk to cypherpunk is something between nebulous and and nonexistent. See Wired 1.02, "Crypto Rebels," for some details. If you're going to discuss the cypherpunks, that's kind of an unavoidable reference. Tom Maddox (talk) 20:32, 7 November 2011 (UTC)

"Information wants to be free" & Free Culture[edit]

I disagree that this expression is the unofficial motto of the free content movement.

I have almost never seen a positive usage of this expression where the person saying it agrees. It is primarily used as a strawman for writers who have a problem with the internet, with filesharing, with amateur content, etc.

The page at is a much better reference on this expression than this wikipedia page at this point in time. Either that page should be copied in here, which would be rude and a copyright problem, or this page should refer readers there. Can anybody suggest a way to approach this?

Lucas gonze (talk)

Lucas gonze (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 16:53, 6 May 2009 (UTC).

I strongly agree with Lucas. I spend a fair bit of time hanging around with the "free culture movement" (whatever that means) and I've never heard it uttered by anyone in earnest. In my experience, IWTBF is a shibboleth of people who oppose free culture, something falsely attributed to free culture advocates as an ideological position in good standing.

Without a citation, I think that this assertion should go.

Doctorow (talk) 14:32, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

Given that 9 months have gone by without anyone showing up to defend the idea that IWTBF is the motto, official or otherwise, of anything, I'm gonna go ahead and cut the uncited assertion.

Doctorow (talk) 20:54, 16 February 2010 (UTC)

When I came to the talk page I was going to recommend a link to articles you have done, transcripts of your speeches, et cetera that I have seen linked on Craphound (recent example) on the subject (too many prepositions?); I wasn't expecting to see you commenting here! Nifty. Arlo James Barnes 21:29, 4 March 2013 (UTC)

The Jaron Lanier quote may belong in a criticism or media references section, but the fact that he has made an unsubstantiated assertion in a book critical of the article's subject doesn't go far to proving that this is any sort of motto. If this was a citation to a place where members of the movement whose motto this purported to be were making this assertion, that'd be a better citation. If you found a PETA brochure that stated "'Killing animals is fun' is the unofficial motto of the meat-packing industry..." it'd be about as credible as Lanier's quote. Doctorow (talk) 21:07, 21 February 2010 (UTC)

I have often read the parody "Information wants to be two dollah!" especially long ago at I'm not sure what the reference might be, other than the Vietnamese prostitute in the film "Full Metal Jacket." I don't think this parody is used to mock the "free culture" advocates, but the meaninglessness of the phrase out of context-- the whole concept of anthropomorphizing "information" (see unsigned post below) Tumacama (talk) 12:19, 31 March 2010 (UTC)

Another curious interpretation of "information wants to be free" is the notion that information could want something, anything. As if information is it's own being, in the same way that Alan Turing's thinking machines can think, AI is really just a series of instructions, a network of information like that strange AI in the sequel to Ender's Game. I heard more about the interpretation of information as a living thing from Sarah Williams, I think it may have been part of Donna Harroway's 'Cyborg Manifesto'. I know I'm not explaining it well but I'm tired, just finished my exams, it's late, I need a cigarette. I'll see if I can track down a better explanation so that we can reference it and include it in the page.

Information is the road to freedom - If you know how to be free you can make the NECESSARY effort to do it if you don't know know, no amount of effort will accomplish it. This is the link between the two concepts, and even in this case, it's not really free just accessible without barriers. If you want to spend the time to program you brain you can, if the information tends to be free or cheap. That said Creativity deserves a payoff of we become rule bound and the free market mechanism that is the best method until recently, but it has become so bogged down in lawyers (toll-troll-bridges) that you can't even reinvent something independent of the original inventor without being sued to death or bankruptcy.

Money wants to be free, give me your wallet. 20:57, 2 February 2007 (UTC)
It's important to emphasize (and I think the article sort of fails on this) that the meaning of the slogan is in the same sense as "nature abhors a vacuum", speaking about tendencies rather than literal wants (or even the way, ethically or morally, things 'should' be) -- the point (as Brand said explicitly) is that because it's cheaper and easier to spread information than it is to suppress it, the tendency of information is towards freedom. (Which he contrasts with 'On the one hand information wants to be expensive', the tendency of information to hold value.) --Aquillion (talk) 20:17, 20 February 2012 (UTC)


"Agenda" is correct as singular and "agendas" as plural.
"Agendum" is also correct as singular and "agenda" and "agendums" as plural.
-- Writtenonsand (talk) 16:02, 14 January 2008 (UTC)


I'm placing a 'Refimprove' banner at the top of the article per WP:V & WP:RS. I'm specifically focusing on these issues in the first paragraph:

Some sources like Chris Heuer say they go back to Thomas Jefferson or even Abraham Lincoln.
These claims are particular noteworthy, and it'd be nice to have references to either Heuer's claim or the quotes them selves.
Peter Samson said "Information should be free"
This statement has a citation, but it's source links to a different "source" for Samson's accreditation, which is actually site with a 404 error. Further more, I'm not convinced that (content-wise) Samson's statement should be included in the article in keeping with spirit of the current lede and Stewart Brand's quote.
The term developed to "Information wants to be free", stated in 1968 by[citation needed] attaching a philosophical desire to float freely.
There's a 'fact tag' already here, but I think it's worth nothing this claim would need etymological support, and not just a sourced quote -- Not to be pessimistic, but I think if this might be hard to do.

At it's current state, I think the above lines should be removed or severely rewritten. I'll also keep a watch on this article and it's talk page.

--FuturePrefect (talk) 22:15, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

Is The Cathedral & the Bazaar: Musings on Linux and Open Source by an Accidental Revolutionary book by Eric S. Raymond considered WP:RS. In case it is, Page 123 contains The "Information wants to be free" myth, might be useful to start up Criticism section. AgadaUrbanit (talk) 23:50, 9 December 2010 (UTC)
Absolutely! I'm not trying to establish myself as an authority on WP:RS; WP:RS states "Wikipedia articles should be based on reliable, published sources, making sure that all majority and significant minority views that have appeared in reliable, published sources are covered." ERS is more than entitled to have a word on "free software" :). --FuturePrefect (talk) 23:55, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
I removed the Refimprove tag from the top of the article since AgadaUrbanit created an awesome lede and reworking of the "History" section. Thanks for the great work! --FuturePrefect (talk) 07:06, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

this entry is wrong[edit]

I think that the phrase "information wants to be free" was coined by Fred Dretske.

I studied philosophy at the University of Sheffield in the early 1980's and this was a favourite quote of mine from Dretske though I cannot now find the source. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:14, 30 November 2014 (UTC)