You’ve probably heard the slogan, “information wants to be free.” It’s credited to Stewart Brand, the visionary instigator behind The Whole Earth Catalog.

When the phrase became commonly known in 1984, Brand was referring specifically to the cost of information, but hackers and cyberpunks soon adopted the phrase as justification for their often-illegal activities in “unlocking” access to restricted materials. Free software activist Richard Stallman elaborated on the idea in a 1990 article…