Pitchforks and Torches! Cory Doctorow talks to Wetmachine

Cory Doctorow–noted spokesperson for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, of which he is a Fellow; science fiction author; uberblogger of metacool boing boing; alumnus of the legendary Clarion writer’s workshop; and friend of Harold Feld –stopped by Wetmachine last week for a little chat.

To be precise, he joined me and chief Wetmachine mechanic Gary Gray in the lobby of the Sheraton Hilton in Boston, where he had been staying in his capacity of Notable Luminary at Boskone 43. He chatted with us for an hour, and Gary recorded our conversation on one of his nifty gadgets.

I asked Cory to vamp on the four themes:

1) The EFF — in particular, what big fights are coming up in the next five years or so, and how Cory handicaps the good guys’ and bad guys’ prospects;

2) Trends in publishing, (with particular reference to how yours truly can make money on his self-published books);

3) What’s interesting to write about;

4) Clarion.

As you’ll hear if you listen to the podcast, Cory is an articulate guy who talks fast. In the first part of the interview he talks about: how the United States is “creating trade obligations for itself abroad” and cases where “an appointed bureaucrat from the administrative branch [is] subverting what’s going on with elected representatives in Congress”; ominous proposals to change so called “intermediary liability standards” and ways that lawyered-up bullies use copyright laws to shut down legitimate speech without due process; the World Intellectual Property Organization as a bunch of pipsqueaks who are awakening the sleeping giants of internet stakeholders from corporate boardrooms to average human beans like me and you; and how “people are starting to have a burgeoning consciousness of the politics of information freedom.”

The next time the antiliberal forces try to “burn down the library”, Cory says, we need to be there with pitchforks and torches! pitchforks and torches! to tell them we won’t put up with it.

This is our inaugural Wetmachine podcast; apologies in advance for any glitches. The sounds you hear in the background are other people — children mostly– who were hanging about in the lobby. The deep-voiced person who asks the questions, trips over his words, and says “right, right” a lot is me. The reclusive Gary’s voice does not appear in this part, but I believe we got him on one of the other sections, to be posted over the next few days.


[update: Sorry for multiple posting noise to any of you on RSS feeds. Gary and I are trying to figure out why the link to mp3 works when he posts and not when I post. . .]


  1. Thanks for posting this! Is there more in this interview? (It kind of trails off at the end.) I’d love to find more of this kind of thing on Wetmachine.

  2. Agreed. Would love to have an easier way to post podcasts and large documents.

    Was sorry to miss Boskone. Prior family comitment kept me from coming. Always fun to see Cory on this side of the pond.

  3. We’ll be posting the next portions of the interview soon. Glad you liked it!

    Gary or I will send out notes to wetmachiners about how to upload podcasts.

    I did not attend Boskone — just zipped over to the Sheraton on the way from Martha’s Vineyard to Logan, en route to CA. . . Hope to get to it some day.

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