The Infoanarchist

Could this 23-year-old British programmer unravel the Web?

Ian Clarke boots up a computer in a house he shares with two flatmates in a gritty London neighborhood, across the street from Brixton Prison. With a few quick keystrokes, he downloads a free copy of Britney Spears' new single, Oops!...I Did It Again. As Britney's sugary lament fills his dorm-style bedroom, bouncing off the unmade bed and the laundry bag on the door, Clarke insists he feels no pangs of conscience. "Copyright is a crutch," he says. "It's inherent in nature that information wants to be free."

Ho-hum. Just another Gen Y geek pirating music on the Net. Napster--the file-sharing...