Darknet: Hollywood's War Against the Digital Generation

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$25.95  $24.13
Trade Paper Press
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6.44 X 9.36 X 1.08 inches | 1.15 pounds

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About 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.


* 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)