Small Publisher of the Year 2011, 2010, 2008, 2006 

‘A wonderful book that catches an encouraging shift in the zeitgeist. Ruen’s epiphany regarding the effects of his own piracy and freeloading of the bands he loves was eye opening.’

David Byrne, musician and author, How Music Works

INTERNET PIRACY: a battle that pits indies against corporations, free spirits against the money-grubbing Scrooge McDucks of the world. Right?

Sort of. Sometimes. Maybe not.

Internet piracy goes by many names — copyright infringement, file sharing, peer-to-peer lending — but in this lively narrative nonfiction account, author Chris Ruen argues that the practice of using unlicensed digital content should be called what it is: freeloading.

In this comprehensive investigation, Ruen examines the near pervasive problem of internet piracy, and the moral and monetary dilemmas to which it gives rise. The phenomenon, which today affects almost everyone who taps a keyboard, is creating unlikely alliances — between artists and corporations, and between consumers and technology geeks in the hacker tradition — and it is changing how society views and values artistic production.

Ruen, himself a former freeloader, came to understand how illegal downloads can threaten the artistic community after he spent time with successful Brooklyn bands who had yet to make a real profit from their music. Through original research and extensive interviews with musicians and artists, Freeloading dissects this battle. This provocative account is also a reminder of the truism that for every action there are consequences — a call to embrace practical, sensible solutions that protect artists and consumers alike.

Media Highlights:
Listen to Chris Ruen interviewed on the ABC Radio National technology show, ABC Radio Current Affairs ‘PM’, and Triple J’s ‘Hack’. You can also read an extract from the Australian Financial Review, an opinion piece from FasterLouder, and an interview from The Music.


‘A deeply moral and passionate book’

The Sunday Age

‘The original slacker’s dream of free everything may have been realized by the Internet—but along with it came the slacker’s nightmare of never getting paid for one’s creativity. Freeloading seeks—and to a large extent succeeds—to wrestle with the collapse of the commons and the possibilities for a renewed social contract.’

Douglas Rushkoff, media theorist, author of Life, Inc. and Program or Be Programmed

‘[The] fact that content can so easily be looted doesn’t justify doing so … If you value art you have to support those who make it.’

Fiona Capp, Sydney Morning Herald
» All reviews for this title

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