Open Revolution Rewriting the rules of the information age

Forget everything you know about the digital age. It’s not about privacy, surveillance, AI or blockchain—it’s about ownership. Because, in a digital age, who owns information owns the future.

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What People are Saying

The richest, most powerful people in the world have bet everything on the control of information in all its guises; Pollock's fast-moving, accessible book explains why seizing the means of attention and information is the only path to human freedom and flourishing.

Cory Doctorow
Journalist and Activist

A manifesto for the future, Open Revolution is a powerful call to arms. It rallies all of us to take up the cause of Open information against the forces of monopolization, surveillance and control of information. Be inspired! Read this book!

Beth Noveck
Professor and Director, the Governance Lab, NYU and former director of the White House Open Government Initiative

I hope this book will stimulate a much more imaginative, and balanced, debate about the many ways a knowledge based economy can be organised

Geoff Mulgan
CEO of NESTA, Former Director of the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit

This book's practical insights are invaluable in guiding our "Open by Default" philosophy … beyond artificial scarcity and zero-sum games

Audry Tang
Taiwan’s Digital Minister

Rufus Pollock has worked tirelessly to show us the importance of access to knowledge and data. He makes a compelling and lucidly argued case that our society needs an open "information environment." Whether one cares about democracy, economic efficiency, innovation… Pollock’s work makes fascinating reading.

James Boyle
William Neal Reynolds Professor of Law and co-founder of the Center for the Study of the Public Domain at Duke Law School

This book draws the distinction between the open world in which we might live - a world in which all information available to humankind is available to each of us instantly - and the closed world of intellectual property monopoly rights in which we currently operate …. From music to medicine, Pollock shows how the closed world is an unnecessary evil.

David Levine
Professor of Economics, European University Institute & John H. Biggs Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Washington University

The Internet and our digital future are under threat and this timely and accessible book shows why and what we can do about it. Essential reading for anyone interested in creating a fair, free and innovative future for the Internet age

Mark Surman
Executive Director of the Mozilla Foundation

In The Open Revolution, Rufus Pollock deftly explains how open access to knowledge and creativity generates enormous benefits for all of us. Openness is not just a way to liberate ourselves from oppressive systems of proprietary control. It can help us develop the commons as a powerful tool for assuring democratic engagement, fairness, innovation, and accountability in countless contexts.

David Bollier
Director of Reinventing the Commons Program, Schumacher Center for a New Economics

Using easily accessible examples, Rufus Pollock argues for a world of Open information. The revolution in information technology makes the old world of Closed information obsolete and Pollock presents bold ideas on how to replace it. An enjoyable yet provocative read.

James Bessen
Executive Director, Technology & Policy Research Initiative Director, Boston University

About the Author

Dr Rufus Pollock is a researcher, technologist and entrepreneur. He has been a pioneer in the global Open Data movement, advising national governments, international organisations and industry on how to succeed in the digital world. He is the founder of Open Knowledge, a leading NGO with a presence in over 35 countries, empowering people and organizations with access to information so they can create insight and drive change. Formerly, he was the Mead Fellow in Economics at Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge. He has been the recipient of a $1m Shuttleworth Fellowship and is currently an Ashoka Fellow and Fellow of the RSA. He holds a PhD in Economics and a double first in Mathematics from the University of Cambridge.

The Open Revolution in a Nutshell

An open world, a world in which information is openly and freely available to us all

Will the digital revolution give us digital dictatorships or digital democracies? Forget everything you think you know about the digital age. It’s not about privacy, surveillance, AI or blockchain—it's about ownership. Because, in a digital age, who owns information controls the future.

Today, information is everywhere. From your DNA to the latest blockbusters, from lifesaving drugs to the app on your phone, from big data to algorithms. Our entire global economy is built on it and the rules around information affect us all every day.

As information continues to move into the digital domain, it can be copied and distributed with ease, making access and control even more important. But the rules we have made for it, derived from how we manage physical property, are hopelessly maladapted to the digital world.

In this urgent and provocative book, Rufus Pollock shows that we must make a choice between making information Open, shared by all, or making it Closed, exclusively owned and controlled, and how today’s Closed digital economy is the source of problems ranging from growing inequality, to unaffordable medicines, to the power of a handful of tech monopolies to control how we think and vote.

Choosing Open is the path to a more equitable, innovative and profitable future for all.

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