Darknet: Hollywood's War Against the Digital Generation / Edition 1

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Overview

An indispensable primer for those who want to protect their digital rights from the dark forces of big media.
-Kara Swisher, author of aol.com
The first general interest book by a blogger edited collaboratively by his readers, Darknet reveals how Hollywood's fear of digital piracy is leading to escalating clashes between copyright holders and their customers, who love their TiVo digital video recorders, iPod music players, digital televisions, computers, and other cutting-edge devices. Drawing on unprecedented access to entertainment insiders, technology innovators, and digital provocateurs-including some who play on both sides of the war between digital pirates and entertainment conglomerates-the book shows how entertainment companies are threatening the fundamental freedoms of the digital age.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
* An online journalist and blogger (newmediamusings.com), Lasica has written a book for anyone who has ever downloaded music, movies, or other entertainment products from the Internet. Probed here is the phenomenon of "darknets," networks of people who rely on closed-off digital spaces for the purpose of sharing copyrighted digital material privately with others. As entertainment companies continue to shut down public P2P networks of illegal file sharing such as KaZaA, Lasica speculates that many more darknets will spring up to accommodate the desire for sharing such media. He describes how corporations will continue their attempts to lock down our entertainment devices so they become no more useful than a receptacle for one-way transmission of media products restricted by the companies producing them. This new lockdown culture could result in not being able to copy a song from a CD (legitimately purchased or otherwise), watch a recorded DVD (legitimately purchased or otherwise), or store a copy of a television program for more than a day. In the end, Lasica offers a ten-point "digital culture road map" that can both serve to protect intellectual property and to provide consumers with the ability to express, sample, and share. An absorbing book; highly recommended for most libraries.—Joe Accardi, William Rainey Harper Coll. Lib., Palatine, IL (Library Journal, May 1, 2005)

Rapid-fire advances in technology have transformed home entertainment. Not only can we store hours of television programming and music on hard drives, software has made it easy to create our own movies and songs, splicing and sampling professional-grade material into amateur productions. Entertainment conglomerates are understandably concerned, but in online journalist Lasica's reporting on the culture clash over digital distribution and remixing, corporations are simplistically portrayed as dinosaurs intent on stifling the little guy's creative freedom in order to protect their profit margins. The characterization is not entirely unmerited, but the deck feels unfairly stacked when "Big Entertainment" honchos are juxtaposed with a preacher who illegally copies and downloads movies so he can use short clips for his sermons. Similarly, Lasica infuses the allegedly inevitable triumph of "participatory culture" with a sense of entitlement and anti-corporate bias that he never fully addresses. Lasica's interviews are far-ranging, and he provides a cogent analysis of the broad problems with America's outdated legal framework for dealing with intellectual property rights and the need for the entertainment industry to adapt to new technologies. Too often, though, he falls back to an alarmist tone. With so many other works addressing this issue from both sides, it will be hard for Lasica's book to stand out from the pack. (May 13) (Publishers Weekly, April 11, 2005)

Publishers Weekly
Rapid-fire advances in technology have transformed home entertainment. Not only can we store hours of television programming and music on hard drives, software has made it easy to create our own movies and songs, splicing and sampling professional-grade material into amateur productions. Entertainment conglomerates are understandably concerned, but in online journalist Lasica's reporting on the culture clash over digital distribution and remixing, corporations are simplistically portrayed as dinosaurs intent on stifling the little guy's creative freedom in order to protect their profit margins. The characterization is not entirely unmerited, but the deck feels unfairly stacked when "Big Entertainment" honchos are juxtaposed with a preacher who illegally copies and downloads movies so he can use short clips for his sermons. Similarly, Lasica infuses the allegedly inevitable triumph of "participatory culture" with a sense of entitlement and anti-corporate bias that he never fully addresses. Lasica's interviews are far-ranging, and he provides a cogent analysis of the broad problems with America's outdated legal framework for dealing with intellectual property rights and the need for the entertainment industry to adapt to new technologies. Too often, though, he falls back to an alarmist tone. With so many other works addressing this issue from both sides, it will be hard for Lasica's book to stand out from the pack. (May 13) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
An online journalist and blogger (newmediamusings.com), Lasica has written a book for anyone who has ever downloaded music, movies, or other entertainment products from the Internet. Probed here is the phenomenon of "darknets," networks of people who rely on closed-off digital spaces for the purpose of sharing copyrighted digital material privately with others. As entertainment companies continue to shut down public P2P networks of illegal file sharing such as KaZaA, Lasica speculates that many more darknets will spring up to accommodate the desire for sharing such media. He describes how corporations will continue their attempts to lock down our entertainment devices so they become no more useful than a receptacle for one-way transmission of media products restricted by the companies producing them. This new lockdown culture could result in not being able to copy a song from a CD (legitimately purchased or otherwise), watch a recorded DVD (legitimately purchased or otherwise), or store a copy of a television program for more than a day. In the end, Lasica offers a ten-point "digital culture road map" that can both serve to protect intellectual property and to provide consumers with the ability to express, sample, and share. An absorbing book; highly recommended for most libraries.-Joe Accardi, William Rainey Harper Coll. Lib., Palatine, IL Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Sprawling account of the battle between corporations and creative individuals over what constitutes the proper use of digital media. Blog journalist Lasica (newmediamusings.com) could have pulled this up-to-the-minute story together with a flurry of phone calls and Web searches, but his reporting from the field gives it sweep and intimacy. The cast of characters is vibrant. Railing against DVD bootleggers, Hollywood lobbyist and ex-MPAA chairman Jack Valenti comes off as the ever-indignant guardian of media companies' right to every last penny. He's but one of the corporate flacks who sound shrilly evangelistic when describing the evils of digital camcorders, file-sharing networks and DVD burners. Lasica's skill at capturing personalities also benefits his recounting of visits with various professors, filmmakers, hippies, hackers, hobbyists and entrepreneurs who have run afoul of American copyright law in one way or another. The author contends that the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act criminalizes harmless behavior, citing law-abiding citizens who have been sued, threatened or fined for copying material for their own personal use. With deep pockets and aggressive lobbyists in Washington, Lasica says, Hollywood is trying to halt the kind of progress that allowed the photocopier, the VCR and the MP3 player into the marketplace. In the chapter "Cool Toys Hollywood Wants to Ban," he describes the next generation of digital goodies that content companies will fight until they're absolutely certain they can profit from them. The cool quotient here suffers slightly from Lasica's tendency to reiterate over and over the same point-the digital age has transformed consumers into producers-inthe breathless tone of a TV newsmagazine. His strength is presenting vivid snapshots of our rapidly changing cultural/technological landscape, not scrounging up metaphors for same. Frequently riveting, occasionally long-winded. Well worth your time, but read fast: it has the unwritten expiration date of a Wired article on tech trends.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471683346
  • Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 4/15/2005
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.28 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

J.D. LASICA has written articles for Legal Affairs, the Washington Post, Salon, and The Industry Standard, and he blogs at NewMediaMusings.com. He's also the founder of ourmedia.org, the global home for grassroots media.

www.darknet.com

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Howard Rheingold.

Introduction.

1. The Personal Media Revolution.

2. Now Playing: Hollywood vs. the Digital Freedom Fighters.

3. Inside the Movie Underground.

4. When Personal and Mass Media Collide.

5. Code Warriors.

6. Cool Toys Hollywood Wants to Ban.

7. A Nation of Digital Felons.

8. Personal Broadcasting.

9. Edge TV.

10. The Sound of Digital Music.

11. Channeling Cole Porter.

12. Architects of Darknet.

13. Mod Squads: Can Gamers Show Us the Way?

14. Remixing the Digital Future.

Acknowledgments.

Notes.

Online Resources.

Index.

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