"AAAARG is a conversation platform - at different times it performs as a school, or a reading group, or a journal.
AAAARG was created with the intention of developing critical discourse outside of an institutional framework. But rather than thinking of it like a new building, imagine scaffolding that attaches onto existing buildings and creates new architectures between them."
For some, AAAARG is an online library or archive: a resource facilitating the free sharing of digital copies of books that, by and large, relate to the tradition of continental philosophy and critical theory. The sharing of these texts serves a democratizing and educational function, enabling equal access to resources that might be otherwise unavailable, or unaffordable. For others, AAAARG is a website for book pirates, which violates both authorial copyright and the copyright license owned by publishers. Or, expressed in terms less legalistic, the free distribution of these texts harms publishers and authors by intercepting remuneration they might otherwise receive for their labor.
In this class, we will consider AAAARG as a model for distribution in a digital environment, and the political and economic implications of such a model. Our goal is not to reject or affirm its politics categorically—if such a politics can be assigned—but to question, probe, and assess the outcomes of this project, and others like it, as we consider the future of publishing, writing, and readership more generally.
This class will take the form of an open discussion with no one facilitator.
Janneke Adema, "Scanners, collectors and aggregators. On the 'underground movement' of (pirated) theory text sharing"
Emmett Stinson, "The Pirate Code"
David Wallace-Wells, "The Pirate's Prophet: On Lewis Hyde"
Morgan Currie, "Small is beautiful: A discussion with AAARG architect Sean Dockray"
Cory Doctorow, "Why free e-books should be part of the plot for writers"
Steven Poole, "On writers, 'digital rights management', and the internet"
Gary Hall, "Pirate Philosophy (Version 1.0): Open Access, Open Editing, Free Content, Free/Libre/Open Media" (originally published in Culture Machine. Vol 10. 2009 ; other pieces here may be of interest)
Verso Books, Letter to AAAARG Administrator + User Comments
AND, different but related:
Kenneth Goldsmith (UbuWeb), "An Open Letter to the Frameworks Community"