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Cory Doctorow

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Title: Cory Doctorow  
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Subject: Prometheus Award, Xkcd, For the Win, Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town, Monochrom
Collection: 1971 Births, Academics of the Open University, Articles Containing Video Clips, British Activists, British Bloggers, British Internet Celebrities, British People of Canadian Descent, British Podcasters, British Science Fiction Writers, British Technology Writers, British Transhumanists, Canadian Activists, Canadian Bloggers, Canadian Emigrants to the United Kingdom, Canadian Internet Celebrities, Canadian Podcasters, Canadian Science Fiction Writers, Canadian Technology Writers, Canadian Transhumanists, Clarion Workshop, Copyright Activists, Cyberpunk Writers, Fulbright Scholars, Internet Activists, Jewish Canadian Writers, John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer Winners, Living People, Prometheus Award Winners, Science Fiction Fans, Transhumanists, University of Southern California Faculty, Wired (Magazine) People, Writers from London, Writers from Toronto
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Cory Doctorow

Cory Doctorow
Born (1971-07-17) July 17, 1971
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Occupation Author, blogger
Genre Science fiction, postcyberpunk
Notable works
Notable awards
  • John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer
  • John W. Campbell Memorial Award
  • Prometheus Award
  • Sunburst Award
Spouse Alice Taylor (m. 2008)
Children 1 daughter (Poesy Emmeline Fibonacci Nautilus Taylor Doctorow)

Cory Efram Doctorow (; born July 17, 1971) is a Canadian-British[1] digital rights management, file sharing, and post-scarcity economics.[2][3][4]


  • Life and career 1
    • Other work and fellowships 1.1
  • Fiction 2
  • Nonfiction and other writings 3
  • Opinions on intellectual property 4
  • In popular culture 5
  • Awards 6
  • Bibliography 7
    • Fiction 7.1
      • Novels 7.1.1
      • Graphic novels 7.1.2
      • Collections 7.1.3
      • Short fiction 7.1.4
      • Not yet published 7.1.5
    • Non-Fiction 7.2
  • References 8
  • External links 9

Life and career

Doctorow was born in Toronto, Ontario. His father was born in a refugee camp in Azerbaijan.[5] Although he is an admirer of acclaimed novelist E.L. Doctorow, the two are of no known relation, contrary to popular belief; the surname "Doctorow" being somewhat common amongst Jewish people of Eastern European descent.[6][7] In elementary school, Doctorow befriended Tim Wu.[8] He received his high school diploma from the SEED School, and attended four universities without attaining a degree.[9][10] He later served on the board of directors for the Grindstone Island Co-operative in Big Rideau Lake in Ontario.

In June 1999, he co-founded the free software P2P company Opencola with John Henson and Grad Conn. The company was sold to the Open Text Corporation of Waterloo, Ontario, during the summer of 2003.[2]

Doctorow at Open Rights Group's 2006 meeting in London.
Doctorow, a member of the Open Rights Group's Advisory Council speaks about how he got involved in digital rights.

Doctorow later relocated to London and worked as European Affairs Coordinator for the Electronic Frontier Foundation for four years,[2] helping to establish the Open Rights Group, before leaving the EFF to pursue writing full-time in January 2006. Upon his departure, Doctorow was named a Fellow of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.[2] He was named the 2006–2007 Canadian Fulbright Chair for Public Diplomacy at the USC Center on Public Diplomacy, sponsored jointly by the Royal Fulbright Commission,[11] the Integrated Media Systems Center, and the USC Center on Public Diplomacy. The professorship included a one-year writing and teaching residency at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, United States.[2][12] He then returned to London, but remained a frequent public speaker on copyright issues.

In 2009, Doctorow became the first Independent Studies Scholar in Virtual Residence at the University of Waterloo in Ontario.[13] He was a student in the program during 1993–94, but quit without completing a thesis. Doctorow is also a Visiting Senior Lecturer at the Open University in the United Kingdom.[13] In 2012 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from The Open University.[14]

Doctorow married Alice Taylor in October 2008,[15] and together they have one daughter named Poesy Emmeline Fibonacci Nautilus Taylor Doctorow, who was born in 2008.[16] Doctorow became a British citizen by naturalisation on 12 August 2011.[1]

In 2015, Doctorow decided to leave London, moving to Los Angeles for feeling disappointed of London's "death" from Britain's choice of Tory government - He claims on his blog "But London is a city whose two priorities are being a playground for corrupt global elites who turn neighbourhoods into soulless collections of empty safe-deposit boxes in the sky, and encouraging the feckless criminality of the finance industry. These two facts are not unrelated."[17]

Other work and fellowships

He served as Canadian Regional Director of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America in 1999.

Together with Austrian art group monochrom he initiated the Instant Blitz Copy Fight project, for which people from all over the world are asked to take flash pictures of copyright warnings in movie theaters.[18]

On October 31, 2005, Doctorow was involved in a controversy concerning digital rights management with Sony-BMG, as told in Wikinomics.[19]

Cory Doctorow at the Singularity Summit at Stanford in 2006


Doctorow began selling fiction when he was 17 years old and sold several stories followed by publication of his story "Craphound" in 1998.[20]

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, Doctorow's first novel, was published in January 2003, and was the first novel released under one of the Creative Commons licences, allowing readers to circulate the electronic edition as long as they neither made money from it nor used it to create derived works. The electronic edition was released simultaneously with the print edition. In March 2003, it was re-released with a different Creative Commons licence that allowed derivative works such as fan fiction, but still prohibited commercial usage. It was nominated for a Nebula Award,[21] and won the Locus Award for Best First Novel in 2004.[22] A semi-sequel short story named Truncat was published on in August 2003.[23]

Doctorow's other novels have been released with Creative Commons licences that allow derived works and prohibit commercial usage, and he has used the model of making digital versions available, without charge, at the same time that print versions are published.

His Sunburst Award-winning short story collection[24]A Place So Foreign and Eight More was also published in 2004: "0wnz0red" from this collection was nominated for the 2004 Nebula Award for Best Novelette.[25]

Doctorow (left) pictured at the 2006 Lift Conference with fellow Boing Boing contributor Jasmina Tešanović (centre) and cyberpunk author Bruce Sterling (right).

Doctorow released the bestselling novel [28] Sunburst Award,[29] and the 2009 John W. Campbell Memorial Award.[30]

His novel Makers was released in October 2009, and was serialized for free on the Tor Books website.[31]

Doctorow released another young adult novel, For the Win, in May 2010. The novel is available free on the author's website as a Creative Commons download, and is also published in traditional paper format by Tor Books. The book concerns massively multiplayer online role-playing games.[32]

Doctorow's short story collection "With a Little Help" was released in printed format on May 3, 2011. It is a project to demonstrate the profitability of Doctorow's method of releasing his books in print and subsequently for free under Creative Commons.[33][34]

In September 2012, Doctorow released The Rapture of the Nerds, a novel written in collaboration with Charles Stross.[35]

Doctorow's young adult novel, Pirate Cinema, was released in October 2012, and won the 2013 Prometheus Award.[36]

In February 2013, Doctorow released Homeland, the sequel to his novel Little Brother.[37] It won the 2014 Prometheus Award.

Nonfiction and other writings

Doctorow's nonfiction works include his first book, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Science Fiction (co-written with Karl Schroeder and published in 2000), and his contributions to Boing Boing, the blog he co-edits, as well as regular columns in the magazines Popular Science and Make. He is a Contributing Writer to Wired magazine, and contributes occasionally to other magazines and newspapers such as the New York Times Sunday Magazine, the Globe and Mail, Asimov's Science Fiction magazine, and the Boston Globe. In 2004, he wrote an essay on WorldHeritage included in The Anthology at the End of the Universe, comparing Internet attempts at Hitchhiker's Guide-type resources, including a discussion of the WorldHeritage article about himself.

Doctorow contributed the foreword to Sound Unbound: Sampling Digital Music and Culture (The MIT Press, 2008) edited by Paul D. Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky. He also was a contributing writer for the book Worldchanging: A User's Guide for the 21st Century.[38]

He popularized the term "metacrap" by a 2001 essay titled "Metacrap: Putting the torch to seven straw-men of the meta-utopia."[39] Some of his non-fiction published between 2001 and 2007 has been collected by Tachyon Publications as Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future.

His essay "You Can't Own Knowledge" is included in the Freesouls book project.[40]

He is the originator of Doctorow's Law: "Anytime someone puts a lock on something you own, against your wishes, and doesn't give you the key, they're not doing it for your benefit."[41][42][43][44][45]

Opinions on intellectual property

Doctorow talks at the Communications Data Bill 2012

Doctorow believes that copyright laws should be liberalized to allow for free sharing of all digital media. He has also advocated filesharing.[46] He argues that copyright holders should have a monopoly on selling their own digital media, and copyright laws should only be operative when someone attempts to sell a product currently under someone else's copyright.[47]

Doctorow is an opponent of digital rights management, claiming that it limits the free sharing of digital media and frequently causes problems for legitimate users (including registration problems that lock users out of their own purchases and prevent them from being able to move their media to other devices).[48]

He was a keynote speaker at international conference CopyCamp 2014 in Warsaw[49] with a presentation entitled "Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free".[50]

In popular culture

Cory Doctorow wears a red cape, goggles and a balloon as he receives the 2007 EFF Pioneer Award, spoofing an xkcd webcomic in which he is mentioned.[51]

The webcomic 'xkcd' occasionally features a partially fictional version of Doctorow who lives in a hot air balloon up in the "blogosphere" ("above the tag clouds") and wears a red cape and goggles, such as in the comic "Blagofaire".[52] When Doctorow won the 2007 EFF Pioneer Award, the presenters gave him a red cape, goggles and a balloon.[53]

The novel Ready Player One features a mention of Doctorow as being the newly re-elected President of the OASIS User Council (with Wil Wheaton as his Vice-President) in the year 2044, saying that, "...those two geezers had been doing a kick-ass job of protecting user rights for over a decade."[54]

The comedic role-playing game Kingdom of Loathing features a boss-fight against a monster named Doctor Oh [55] who is described as wearing a red cape and goggles. The commentary before the fight and assorted hit, miss and fumble messages during the battle make reference to Doctorow's advocacy for Open-Source sharing and freedom of media.


Doctorow, interviewed in 2015 by CCCB.
For Little Brother
  • 2009 John W. Campbell Memorial Award[58]
  • 2009 [28]
  • 2009 Sunburst Award[29]
  • 2009 White Pine Award[59]
For Homeland
  • 2014 [28]


In chronological sequence, unless othwerwise indicated

Doctorow in his office



Graphic novels

  • In Real Life. Illustrated by Jen Wang. First Second. October 14, 2014. ISBN 978-1596436589.


    • Other instance:

Short fiction

Title Year First published in Reprinted in
0wnz0red 2002 ?
Truncat[60] 2002 ?
I, Row-Boat 2006 Flurb: a webzine of astonishing tales 1 (Fall 2006)
Scroogled 2007 Radar (Sep 2007)
True names (with Benjamin Rosenbaum) 2008
There's a great big beautiful tomorrow / Now is the best time of your life 2010
Chicken Little 2009
Lawful interception 2013 TOR.COM

Not yet published


  • Paper for the O'Reilly Emerging Technologies Conference, 2004.


  1. ^ a b And so @doctorow is a British citizen! on his wife, Alice Taylor's Twitter stream, 12 August 2011
  2. ^ a b c d e
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  10. ^ According to this citation, Doctorow quit high school →
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  28. ^ a b c
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  32. ^ According to this citation, this work is about "greenfarming" →
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^
  38. ^ WorldChanging: User's guide for the 21st Century
  39. ^
  40. ^ You Can't Own Knowledge, Cory Doctorow
  41. ^
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  44. ^
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  46. ^
  47. ^
  48. ^
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  51. ^ "xkcd #345-1337: Part 5". Munroe, Retrieved 13 January 2014
  52. ^ (see also [e.g.],,,,, and
  53. ^
  54. ^
  55. ^
  56. ^
  57. ^
  58. ^
  59. ^
  60. ^ A quasi-sequel to Down and out in the Magic Kingdom.
  61. ^ In a June 11, 2008 interview with the Onion's A.V. Club, Doctorow stated that the book was "on the shelf more or less permanently, although it might be resurrected at some point".

External links

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