Some notes on the format of this book

“With enough of us, around the world, we’ll not just send a strong message opposing the privatization of knowledge — we’ll make it a thing of the past. Will you join us?” – Aaron Swartz[1]

Because the format of this book is unorthodox, it seems worth addressing its format, licensing scheme and initial distribution before really getting into things. Viral Art has initially been published online on a WordPress installation running the PressBooks plugin (so it’s basically a giant blog reformatted to look like a book) and made available free of charge under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. The philosophy behind free cultural works is too much to get into here, but suffice it to say that I want Viral Art to be read, shared, and tweaked by as many people as possible without concerns of copyright infringement. Going the traditional publication route with a print publisher would have limited access to this project to those who could pay for a physical book.

On a more practical level, much of the artwork referenced in this book exists in a form that would be difficult to reproduce in a traditional printed book. By publishing online, I am not limited to screenshots of videos or a certain number of pages of full-color images. Instead, the doors are to opened to hyperlinks, embedded videos and as many photographs and screenshots as is necessary.

Finally, there’s the possibility for constant tweaking of the text and having conversations with you, the reader. As you read, you can leave public comments, and I hope you will. Through these comments, we can engage in healthy debates. You can bring up anything I’ve missed or let me know where I’ve rambled on too long. Your feedback could result in tweaks to the text of the book itself.

Yes, the format of this book is strange, maybe even off-putting for some people, but publishing it in this way promotes the free flow of information and allows Viral Art to be the best book it can be.

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  1. Swartz, Aaron. "Guerilla Open Access Manifesto." Guerilla Open Access Manifesto. Openlibrary.org, July 2008. Web. 14 Feb. 2013.

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