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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 Lasica's interviews are far-ranging, and he provides a cogent analysis of the broad problems with America's outdated legal framework for dealing with intellectual property rights and the need for the entertainment industry to adapt to new technologies.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 © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
When the music-recording industry took a hard-line legal stance against file sharers, it alienated its customer base and hurt its own sales. A similar battle is brewing in the movie industry, as faster Internet speeds and video compression are making it easier to download entire movies over the Net for free. Lasica, a top online journalist, takes us into the Internet movie underground, where an elite club of pirates known as "rippers" and "crackers" secretly obtain copies of movies and release them in cyberspace. At the other extreme are the Hollywood studios, which are treating ordinary users like thieves, placing such shackles on digital media that we can't legally make a backup copy of a DVD we own and soon restricting the copying and sharing of high-definition TV. Contrast this with the freedoms that computers give us to remix, copy, and paste video and to author DVDs, and you have a scenario where ordinary producers of creative art become felons. Lasica takes the middle view that while copyrights need to be protected, the continual erosion of fair-use rights needs to be addressed. David Siegfried
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
According to this book, that is what a major studio head said to the inventors of TIVO. I disagree with the people who are giving a bad review because of "artists rights". Read morePublished on June 24, 2008 by Big Montanna
I just finished this book, and I disagree with the previous commentor. The book is highly readable. But it is clearly propoganda. I agree with the raters that give it low stars. Read morePublished on July 8, 2006 by Ajay
This book makes me very very angry, and not in the way that the author wants. He clearly wants me to be angry at big media for keeping me from doing what I want with my content... Read morePublished on May 28, 2006 by Steve Jimenez
Reading this book is like listening to a speach by Bush. His position is that "reasonable people" will agree with him, and those who don't either miss the point, are "unpatriotic"... Read morePublished on May 14, 2006 by Mary Ellis
This book tells us that consumers are hurt by big media. My friends are artists, and I know that they are hurt by the arguments made in this book. Read morePublished on April 1, 2006 by Arnaud
This is a superb documentation of how people want to use and are in fact using the new digital media technology. Read morePublished on March 20, 2006 by Ken McCarthy
Darknet uses the stories about individuals and their relationship to media to discuss complex issues such as copyright and fair use. It is a very easy read. Read morePublished on March 4, 2006 by Stanford Helen
This book is one of the most one-sided books on this issue that I have read. J.D. Lasica thinks that issues of artist expression and legal protection are only about consumer... Read morePublished on March 3, 2006 by Dana Cara
An earlier review suggested, in noting that this book seemed rather one-sided (possibly true) that "this debate would have been settled years ago if there were not two valid sides... Read morePublished on February 24, 2006 by bean