The Laws of Disruption: Harnessing the New Forces that Govern Life and Business in the Digital Age [NOOK Book]


While digital life races ahead, the rest of our life, from law to business, struggles to keep up. Business strategists, lawyers, judges, regulators, and consumers have all been left behind, scratching their heads, frantically trying to figure out what they can and can’t do. Some want to bring innovation to a standstill (or at least to slow it down) through lawsuits and regulation so they can catch their breath. Others forge madly ahead, legal ...
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The Laws of Disruption: Harnessing the New Forces that Govern Life and Business in the Digital Age

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While digital life races ahead, the rest of our life, from law to business, struggles to keep up. Business strategists, lawyers, judges, regulators, and consumers have all been left behind, scratching their heads, frantically trying to figure out what they can and can’t do. Some want to bring innovation to a standstill (or at least to slow it down) through lawsuits and regulation so they can catch their breath. Others forge madly ahead, legal consequences be damned.

In The Laws of Disruption, Larry Downes, author of the best-selling Unleashing the Killer App, provides an invaluable guide for these confusing times, exploring nine critical areas in which technology is dramatically rewriting the rules of business and life.

The Laws of Disruption will help business owners and managers understand not only how to avoid being blindsided by customer rebellion, but also how to benefit from it. It will teach lawyers, judges, and regulators when to keep their hands off the system and it will show consumers the consequences of their digital actions.

In the gap created by the Law of Disruption, golden opportunities await those who move quickly.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Like other great upheavals, the Digital Revolution left many things in confusing disarray. The most conspicuous of these messes, according to Larry Downes, is the chaos caused by an antiquated legal system trying to patch together new regulations for our ever-changing, ever-expanding digital infrastructure. With persuasive examples, the author of Unleashing the Killer App shows how billion-dollar lawsuits, YouTube uprisings, legislative proxy battles, and global regulatory problems have caused disruptions that impact everyone who has ever pressed "ENTER." An apt crossover read for techies, legal beagles, Internet users, and people interested in progress.
Library Journal
Downes (Ctr. for Internet & Society, Stanford Univ. Law Sch.; Unleashing the Killer App) is a gifted observer of the laws of digital disruption, a phenomenon in which the technological advances and new digital modes of commerce and communication outpace the ability of social, economic, and legal frameworks to keep pace. With a lens on businesses and legal aspects of technologies, Downes takes the reader chapter by chapter through important issues regarding personal information and human rights. We see how new crimes are possible with the ever-increasing data produced by users of digital content. The laws governing new commerce and new digital identity would seem inadequate to the current reality of digital environments. Downes asserts that the market will balance these unequal paradigms and that new laws should not be foisted upon misunderstood problems. The author includes a concise and easy-to-follow survey of patents, copyrights, and trademarks and the requirements that these legal codes place on the digital consumer. VERDICT For business collections especially.—Jim Hahn, Univ. of Illinois Lib., Urbana
From the Publisher

Andrew Lippman, Director of the Digital Life program at the MIT Media Lab
“Larry Downes’ Laws of Disruption is important reading for all of us. It provides valuable guidance for confronting innovations and reacting to them with vision and responsibility, and eye-opening examples of the failures that result when we don't.”

Paul F. Nunes, Executive Research Fellow, Accenture Institute for High Performance

“There is no one better than Larry Downes to explain to us the complicated interaction between law and digital life, and what it all means for business. In The Laws of Disruption, Downes brings to life how industrial age law is leaving today’s companies in the lurch, and how tomorrow’s businesses and business leaders will usher in a new age of lawful innovation, content creation, and content ownership, one that will deliver meaningful rights to companies and ordinary citizens alike. Ignorance of the law is no excuse—not knowing the Law of Disruption in today’s rapidly digitizing world could prove fatal.”

Dan’l Lewin, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Corporation

“The convergence of information and communications technology is fundamentally disruptive—we’ve known this for a long time. Downes’ model helps clarify where, and how, to pay attention.”

David Hornik, General Partner, August Capital

The Laws of Disruption is a must read for entrepreneurs. Many of the most interesting venture backed technology companies to emerge in the last decade (e.g. Google, Skype, YouTube, Facebook) have been products of the Laws of Disruption. Larry Downes’ book may well serve as the guide to my next great investments.”

Tim Wu, Professor of Law, Columbia University and co-author, Who Controls the Internet?
“Critical reading if you want to understand the last ten years—and be ready for the next ten.”

The Conference Board Review
“Downes offers a guided tour of what’s happening and what’s next, what’s legal and what’s not, and how all of it is likely to impact individuals and businesses. Laced with examples of how conflicts and shifts are playing out in real life, the book looks beyond typical strategic advice, offering a fresh and valuable perspective.”

Wall Street Journal, October 13, 2009
“The Internet is our own era's big disrupter. We already know how it has changed our habits and ways of doing things. Mr. Downes says that its long-term effects on society will be even greater. . . .there is no doubt that a lot more disruption lies ahead.”

Financial Times, November 7, 2009
“. . . Downes eloquently expresses the problems that many industries face and shows how using old laws to maintain the status quo is futile. The digital revolution is here and we will make sense of it – somehow.”

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465019984
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 10/13/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 1,040,868
  • File size: 414 KB

Meet the Author

Larry Downes is a noted expert on information technology, strategy, and law. He is a partner with the Bell-Mason Group, a consulting firm focused on corporate innovation and venturing, and is a nonresident fellow at the Stanford Law School Center for Internet & Society. He has written for a variety of publications including the Harvard Business Review and USA Today. He lives in Kensington, California.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Nine laws governing the changes sparked by digital technology

    Business strategist Larry Downes, author of Unleashing the Killer App, is much more specific than most authors about how digital technologies are changing the world - and why technology will advance even more and have more impact. While he addresses numerous issues that have received lots of attention already, Downes also looks beyond the headlines and the obvious implications of digital technology to examine the root causes of change. He pays informed attention to the law and legal structures. He also draws parallels between the digital revolution and the social changes wrought by other technologies, showing how such change ripples through the economy. He presents his findings as nine "laws of disruption," which, somewhat confusingly, are the change agents of the "Law of Disruption." This forward-looking book is fun, lively and useful. getAbstract recommends it to executives who are trying to plan for a shifting future and to those intrigued by digital technologies or social structures.

    To learn more about this book, check out the following Web page:

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