Cory Doctorow
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Cory Doctorow
Cory Doctorow
Cory Doctorow portrait by Jonathan Worth 2.jpg
Born (1971-07-17) July 17, 1971 (age 47)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
OccupationAuthor, blogger
ResidenceLos Angeles, California, United States
GenreScience fiction, postcyberpunk
Notable works
Notable awards
  • John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer
  • John W. Campbell Memorial Award
  • Prometheus Award
  • Sunburst Award
Alice Taylor (m. 2008)

Cory Efram Doctorow (; born July 17, 1971) is a Canadian-British blogger, journalist, and science fiction author who serves as co-editor of the blog Boing Boing. He is an activist in favour of liberalising copyright laws and a proponent of the Creative Commons organization, using some of their licenses for his books. Some common themes of his work include digital rights management, file sharing, and post-scarcity economics.[1][2][3]

Life and career

Doctorow was born in Toronto, Ontario. His father was born in a refugee camp in Azerbaijan.[4] 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" is somewhat common among Jewish people of Eastern European descent.[5][6] In elementary school, Doctorow befriended Tim Wu.[7] He received his high school diploma from the SEED School, and attended four universities without attaining a degree.[8][not specific enough to verify][9] 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.[1]

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,[1] 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.[1] 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,[10] 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.[1][11] 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.[12] He was a student in the program during 1993-94, but left without completing a thesis. Doctorow is also a Visiting Professor at the Open University in the United Kingdom.[12] In 2012 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from The Open University.[13]

Doctorow married Alice Taylor in October 2008,[14] and together they have one daughter named Poesy Emmeline Fibonacci Nautilus Taylor Doctorow, who was born in 2008.[15] Doctorow became a British citizen by naturalisation on 12 August 2011.[]

In 2015, Doctorow decided to leave London and move to Los Angeles, feeling disappointed by London's "death" from Britain's choice of Conservative 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."[16] He rejoined the EFF in January 2015 to campaign for the eradication of digital rights management (DRM).[17]

Other work, activism, 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, which asks people from all over the world to take flash pictures of copyright warnings in movie theaters.[18][19]

On October 31, 2005, Doctorow was involved in a controversy concerning digital rights management with Sony-BMG, as told in Wikinomics.[20]

As a user of the Tor anonymity network for more than a decade during his global travels, Doctorow publicly supports the network; furthermore, Boing Boing operates a "high speed, high-quality exit node."[21]

Doctorow was the keynote speaker at the July 2016 Hackers on Planet Earth conference.[22]

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.[23]

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,[24] and won the Locus Award for Best First Novel in 2004.[25] A semi-sequel short story named Truncat was published on in August 2003.[26]

His novel Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town, published in June 2005, was chosen to launch the Sci-Fi Channel's book club, Sci-Fi Essentials (now defunct).

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[27]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.[28]

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

Doctorow released the bestselling novel Little Brother in 2008 with a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike licence.[29] It was nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2009.[30] and won the 2009 Prometheus Award,[31] Sunburst Award,[32] and the 2009 John W. Campbell Memorial Award.[33]

His novel Makers was released in October 2009, and was serialized for free on the Tor Books website.[34]

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.[35]

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.[36][37]

In September 2012, Doctorow released The Rapture of the Nerds, a novel written in collaboration with Charles Stross.[38]

Doctorow's young adult novel Pirate Cinema was released in October 2012. It won the 2013 Prometheus Award.[39]

In February 2013, Doctorow released Homeland, the sequel to his novel Little Brother.[40] It won the 2014 Prometheus Award (Doctorow's third novel to win this award).

His novel Walkaway was released in 2017.[41]

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 resource included in The Anthology at the End of the Universe, comparing Internet attempts at Hitchhiker's Guide-type resources, including a discussion of the resource 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.[42]

He popularized the term "metacrap" by a 2001 essay titled "Metacrap: Putting the torch to seven straw-men of the meta-utopia."[43] 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. In 2016 he wrote the article Mr. Robot Killed the Hollywood-Hacker (published on MIT Technology Review) as a review of the TV show Mr. Robot and argued for a better portrayal and understanding of technology, computers and their risks and consequences in our modern world.[44]

His essay "You Can't Own Knowledge" is included in the Freesouls book project.[45]

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."[46][47][48][49][50]

Opinions on intellectual property

Doctorow talks at the Open Rights Group event ORGCon 2012 about the UK Government's 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.[51] He argues that copyright holders should have a monopoly on selling their own digital media and that copyright laws should not be operative unless someone attempts to sell a product that is under someone else's copyright.[52]

Doctorow is an opponent of digital rights management and claims 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).[53]

He was a keynote speaker at the 2014 international conference CopyCamp in Warsaw[54] with the presentation "Information Doesn't Want to Be Free."[55]

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.[56]

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".[57] When Doctorow won the 2007 EFF Pioneer Award, the presenters gave him a red cape, goggles and a balloon.[58]

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."[59]

The comedic role-playing game Kingdom of Loathing features a boss-fight against a monster named Doctor Oh who is described as wearing a red cape and goggles.[60] 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
For Pirate Cinema
For Homeland


In chronological sequence, unless otherwise indicated

Doctorow in his office



  • Down and out in the Magic Kingdom. Tor. 2003. ISBN 0-7653-0436-8.
  • Eastern Standard Tribe. Tor. 2004. ISBN 0-7653-0759-6.
  • Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town. Tor. 2005. ISBN 0-7653-1278-6.
  • Little Brother. Tom Doherty Associates. 2008. ISBN 0-7653-1985-3.
  • Makers. Tor. 2009. ISBN 0-7653-1279-4.
  • For the Win. Tor. 2010. ISBN 0-7653-2216-1.
  • The Rapture of the Nerds. Tor. September 2012. ISBN 0-765-32910-7.(with Charles Stross)
  • Pirate Cinema. Tor. October 12, 2012. ISBN 0-7653-2908-5.
  • Homeland. Tor. February 5, 2013. ISBN 978-0-7653-3369-8.
  • Walkaway. Tor. April 25, 2017. ISBN 0-7653-9276-3.

Graphic novels


Short fiction

Title Year First published in Reprinted in
0wnz0red 2002 ? A place so foreign and eight more. Four Walls Eight Windows. 2003. ISBN 1568582862.
Truncat[65] 2002 ? The Bakka anthology. Bakka Books. 2002. ISBN 0973150831.
I, Row-Boat 2006 Flurb: a webzine of astonishing tales 1 (Fall 2006) Overclocked: stories of the future present. Thunder's Mouth Press. 2007. ISBN 1560259817.
Scroogled 2007 Radar (Sep 2007) With a little help. Cor-Doc Co. 2009. ISBN 9780557943050.
When Sysadmins Ruled the Earth 2008 Wastelands: Stories of the Apocalypse. Night Shade Books. 2008. ISBN 9781597801058.
True names (with Benjamin Rosenbaum) 2008 Anders, Lou, ed. (2008). Fast forward 2. Pyr. ISBN 9781591026921. Kessel, John; Kelly, James Patrick, eds. (2012). Digital rapture: the singularity anthology. Tachyon. ISBN 9781616960704.
There's a great big beautiful tomorrow / Now is the best time of your life 2010 Strahan, Jonathan, ed. (2010). Godlike machines. Science Fiction Book Club. ISBN 9781616647599. Doctorow, Cory (2011). The great big beautiful tomorrow. PM Press. ISBN 9781604864045.
Chicken Little 2009 With a little help. Cor-Doc Co. 2009. ISBN 9780557943050. Hull, Elizabeth Anne, ed. (2011). Gateways. Tor. ISBN 9780765326621.
Lawful interception 2013 TOR.COM
Car Wars 2016 Deakin University[66]

Not yet published


  • Doctorow, Cory; Schroeder, Karl (2000). The Complete Idiot's Guide to Publishing Science Fiction. Alpha. ISBN 0028639189.
  • Doctorow, Cory; et al. (2002). Essential blogging. O'Reilly. ISBN 0596003889.
  • Doctorow, Cory (February 1, 2004). "Ebooks : neither E, nor books". Project Gutenberg. Retrieved . Paper for the O'Reilly Emerging Technologies Conference, 2004.
  • — (2005). "Wikipedia : a genuine H2G2, minus the editors". In Yeffeth, Glenn. The anthology at the end of the universe : leading science fiction authors on Douglas Adams' The hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy. BenBella. ISBN 9781932100563.
  • — (2008). Content : selected essays on technology, creativity, copyright, and the future of the future. Tachyon. ISBN 9781892391810.
  • — (2010). "You can't own knowledge". Freesouls. Retrieved .
  • — (Jan 2010). "Close enough for rock 'n' roll". Locus (588): 29.
  • — (2011). Context : further selected essays on productivity, creativity, parenting, and politics in the 21st Century. Tachyon. ISBN 9781616960483.
  • — (2014). Information Doesn't Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age. McSweeney's. ISBN 9781940450285.
  • Doctorow, Cory (September 2, 2017). "Demon-Haunted World". Locus Online.


  1. ^ a b c d e "Cory Doctorow; USC Center on Public Diplomacy". 1971-07-17. Retrieved .
  2. ^ Doctorow, C. (2008). "Big data: Welcome to the petacentre". Nature. 455 (7209): 16-21. doi:10.1038/455016a. PMID 18769411.
  3. ^ Laurie, B.; Doctorow, C. (2012). "Computing: Secure the Internet". Nature. 491 (7424): 325-326. Bibcode:2012Natur.491..325L. doi:10.1038/491325a. PMID 23151561.
  4. ^ "Azeri "donkey video" bloggers arrested". 2009-09-02. Retrieved .
  5. ^ "RIP, EL Doctorow".
  6. ^ "RIP, EL Doctorow". 22 July 2015.
  7. ^ Warnica, Richard (September 6, 2014). "Toronto superstar academic who coined 'net-neutrality' could be nominee for N.Y. lieutenant-governor". National Post.
  8. ^ "Podcast: Shirky's Why We Need the New News Environment to be Chaotic". Cory Doctorow's Craphound (Podcast). Retrieved .
  9. ^ According to this citation, Doctorow quit high school -> Strahan, Jonathan, ed. (2010), Godlike Machines, Garden City, New York: Science Fiction Book Club, p. 167, ISBN 978-1-61664-759-9
  10. ^ "2006 Award Recipients" (PDF). Royal Fulbright Commission web site. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-02-29. Retrieved .
  11. ^ Brock Read (2007-04-06). "A Blogger Infiltrates Academe". Chronicle of Higher Education, Volume 53, Issue 31, Page A30. Retrieved .
  12. ^ a b "University of Waterloo: Scholar in Virtual Residence". University of Waterloo. Archived from the original on 7 July 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  13. ^ "Conferment of Honorary Degrees and Presentation of Graduates" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 February 2014. Retrieved 2013.
  14. ^ "Little Brother UK edition signed!". BoingBoing. BoingBoing. 2008-10-27. Retrieved .
  15. ^ Cory Doctorow (2008-02-03). "Fine News". Boing Boing. Retrieved .
  16. ^ Doctorow, Cory (29 June 2015). "Why I'm leaving London".
  17. ^ "Cory Doctorow Rejoins EFF to Eradicate DRM everywhere". Electronic Frontier Foundation. Retrieved 2016.
  18. ^ "Instant Blitz Copy Fight web site". Retrieved .
  19. ^ "Instant Blitz Copy Fight on".
  20. ^ Tapscott, Dan; Anthony D. Williams (2006). Wikinomics. Portfolio/Penguin Books. pp. 34-37. ISBN 978-1-59184-138-8.
  21. ^ "This is What a Tor Supporter Looks Like: Cory Doctorow". The Tor Blog.
  22. ^ Cory Doctorow to Keynote at The Eleventh HOPE Archived 2016-03-17 at the Wayback Machine.
  23. ^ Strahan, Jonathan, ed. (2010), Godlike Machines, Garden City, New York: Science Fiction Book Club, p. 167, ISBN 978-1-61664-759-9
  24. ^ "The Nebula Award Listing; Science Fiction & Fantasy Books by Award". Retrieved 2010.
  25. ^ "2004 Locus Awards". The Locus Index to SF Awards. Locus Publications. September 3, 2004. Archived from the original on March 1, 2007. Retrieved 2014.
  26. ^ Cory Doctorow (August 27, 2003). "Truncat". Salon.
  27. ^ "2004 Sunburst Award Winner". The Sunburst Award Society. September 1, 2004. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  28. ^ "2004 Nebula Awards". The Locus Index to SF Awards. April 17, 2004. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved 2010.
  29. ^ "Little Brother Blog". April 28, 2008. Retrieved 2010.
  30. ^ "AnticipationSF Hugo Nominees: Best Novel". Anticipation: The 67th World Science Fiction Convention. January 31, 2010. Retrieved 2014.
  31. ^ a b c d "Libertarian Futurist Society". Retrieved 2010.
  32. ^ a b "2009 Winners: The Sunburst Awards". The Sunburst Award Society. September 28, 2009. Archived from the original on December 2, 2012. Retrieved 2009.
  33. ^ "2009 John W. Campbell Memorial Award". The Locus Index to SF Awards. Locus-Locus Publications. July 7-12, 2009. Archived from the original on November 24, 2012. Retrieved 2014.
  34. ^ "Cory Doctorow's Makers; Blog posts". Retrieved 2010.
  35. ^ According to this citation, this work is about "greenfarming" -> Strahan, Jonathan, ed. (2010), Godlike Machines, Garden City, New York: Science Fiction Book Club, p. 167, ISBN 978-1-61664-759-9
  36. ^ "Post publication progress report for "With a Little Help"". Retrieved 2012.
  37. ^ Cory Doctorow (October 19, 2009). "Doctorow's Project: With a Little Help". Publishers Weekly.
  38. ^ "Cory Doctorow, Charles Stross' Rapture of The Nerds cover art and summary reveal". Archived from the original on 18 July 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  39. ^ "2013 Prometheus Winners Announced". Libertarian Futurist Society. July 20, 2012. Retrieved 2014.
  40. ^ "Cover for Homeland, the sequel to Little Brother". June 20, 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  41. ^ "Author Cory Doctorow to Speak at UC San Diego on Scarcity, Abundance and the Finite Planet". Retrieved .
  42. ^ "WorldChanging: User's guide for the 21st Century". 24 October 2006.
  43. ^ "Metacrap". Retrieved .
  44. ^ Doctorow, Cory (7 December 2016). "Mr. Robot Killed the Hollywood-Hacker". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved 2018.
  45. ^ Doctorow, Cory. "Freesouls - You Can't Own Knowledge".
  46. ^ "Doctorow's Law: Who Benefits from DRM?". Electronic Frontier Foundation. 20 April 2009. Retrieved 2013.
  47. ^ "TOC 09: Digital Distribution and the Whip Hand: Don't Get iTunesed with your eBooks". O'Reilly. 15 April 2009. Archived from the original on 21 February 2013. Retrieved 2013.[1]
  48. ^ "Digital Rights Management vs. the Inevitability of Free Content: Book Publishing, the Illusion of Piracy, and Giving the Customer What they Pay For". Simon Fraser University's Digital Publishing Workshop 2009. 25 July 2009. Retrieved 2013.
  49. ^ "Submission to the Canadian Copyright Consultation". Industry Canada ( 4 September 2009. Archived from the original on 24 May 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  50. ^ "Internet Crapshoot: How Internet Gatekeepers Stifle Progress". Internet Evolution. 20 April 2009. Retrieved 2013.
  51. ^ Doctorow, Cory (2004-12-12). "Steal This File Sharing Book - A-Z HOWTO for file-sharing". Boing Boing. Retrieved .
  52. ^ Doctorow, Cory. "The Internet is Not a Waffle Iron Connected to a Fax Machine". IAI. Retrieved 2014.
  53. ^ "Cory Doctorow at Cambridge Business Lectures". 22 July 2008. Retrieved .
  54. ^ Doctorow, Cory (2014-05-27). "Call for Speakers: Copycamp Warsaw, with Birgitta Jónsdóttir and Cory". (in Polish). Retrieved .
  55. ^ Doctorow, Cory (2014-12-16). "Cory Doctorow - CopyCamp 2014". Fundacja Nowoczesna Polska. Retrieved .
  56. ^ "xkcd #345-1337: Part 5". Munroe, Retrieved 13 January 2014
  57. ^ (see also [e.g.],,,,, and
  58. ^ "Cory Doctorow, Part II". xkcd. 2007-03-28. Retrieved .
  59. ^ Cline, Ernest (2011). Ready Player One. New York: Broadway. p. 201. ISBN 978-0-307-88744-3.
  60. ^ "Doctor Oh". Kingdom of Loathing. 2013-10-08. Retrieved .
  61. ^ "The Long List of Hugo Awards, 2000". Retrieved .
  62. ^ "EFF: Yochai Benkler, Cory Doctorow, and Bruce Schneier Win EFF Pioneer Awards". Archived from the original on 2010-08-16.
  63. ^ "The John W. Campbell Memorial Award Listing". Retrieved .
  64. ^ "White Pine Award list of winners". Archived from the original on 2011-09-30. Retrieved .
  65. ^ A quasi-sequel to Down and out in the Magic Kingdom.
  66. ^ "Car Wars: a dystopian science fiction story about the nightmare of self-driving cars". Boing Boing. Nov 23, 2016.
  67. ^ 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". Robinson, Tasha (2008-06-11). "Cory Doctorow / The A.V. Club". The Onion. Retrieved .

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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