Just this morning I finished reading Psychiatry: The Science of Lies by the late, great Thomas Szasz.
No, my dainty copyright enthusiasts, I did not purchase this book from a retailer. Sorry to disappoint yews. It was shared to me by some unknown peer who wanted to make it available for others to read and enjoy. Thank you, whoever you are.
Besides Szasz's work being pretty fuckn explosive, it is a publication I discovered through what is known as a shadow library.
enter the shadow
I wish I thought of it, to be honest—a colossal web archive of literature open to everybody with access to a web-connection and a machine. No strings attached. This idea of an open-source global literary commons, a liberated library, is nothing less than revolutionary. According to the eminent pirate archivist, Anna, like all things revolutionary, it's not exactly a walk in the park.
I've been using shadow libraries for three years now and boy, let me tell you: boners and bookmarks are aplenty. Readers, let us rejoice. I remember how amazed I was when I discovered that these archives maintain such an extensive collection of material. Really current publications, too.
I don't see how it is not a service to humanity. Making literature—a cultural treasure and perennial source of knowledge and inspiration—as accessible as possible sounds like a spankn good idea to me.
Alternatively, if, like so many well-groomed individuals, I am hoodwinked by the idea that art mustn't be freely shared, then I suppose I would cry theft! O' how the bleeding heart of the indignant author, the corporate publishing house, and the public relations hack vie for your sympathy.
intellectual property: just another rich man's trick
As I've chosen to educate myself about IP/copyright and its controversies, it has become clear to me that it's a confidence trick, albeit, a deplorable one meant to further extend the dogma of capital outward and into the mind of the human race. Slavers! up to their usual tricks again, eh ...
Because I am hungry and in need of a snack, I can't wax too philosophically about how contemptible it is to me that some assholes in a legislature want to prevent us from reading what is available to read. Fuck those guys!
(If there's any way to verify book downloads from these sh_libraries, it might be wise to do so. Checksums or hashes, whatever there is available. I can see this being a delicious opportunities for threat actors to insert various spyware/malware etc. into the freeware-copyleft community.)
The teams behind these archives really deserve a cookie. I have so much respect for them. There's still a lotta fasci dirtbags out there that wanna burn books, or at least, prevent you from reading the “wrong ones”. It's obvious to me that they've failed. So let's seize the day by learning, unlearning, and relearning all the things that matter to us.
I don't know about you, but I'm down to honor the work done by those who encourage us to read and read radically.