The New York Times gave futurist and avant-garde pianist Jaron Lanier space to complain that he wants you to pay up for Internet content. You probably don't know who he is unless you watched PBS science programs in the '90s. He allegedly coined the phrase "virtual reality" back when it meant bulky goggles and the Nintendo Power Glove, not cruising for a mistress in Second Life. We agree with this much: Everyone has the right to try to make a buck. Some Internet content has value. But definitely don't buy Lanier's CDs. Instead, we'd pay for a high-def webcast cagematch between Lanier and his unnamed nemesis. Can you guess who?
Copyright crusader Cory Doctorow, who, like Lanier, is known more for his opinions than for his actual body of work. But does Lanier's essay really have Doctorow shaking in his Skechers? "I wrote a manifesto titled 'Piracy Is Your Friend,'" Lanier confesses. "But I was wrong. We were all wrong." Lanier rewrites the old saw that information wants to be free as, "Information could be universally accessible but on an affordable instead of an absolutely free basis." WTF, Cory! We propose a fight to the finish between Lanier and Doctorow for the future of the Net. Two men enter, one utopia leaves. (Photo from "A Brief History of (Virtual) Reality," by Kunochan)