- Series: MIT Press
- Paperback: 408 pages
- Publisher: The MIT Press; Reprint edition (September 18, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0262513196
- ISBN-13: 978-0262513197
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,555,905 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Wired Shut: Copyright and the Shape of Digital Culture (MIT Press) Reprint Edition
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Gillespie has boldly attempted a broad and deep analysis of copyright that integrates cultural, historical, legal, social, political, and technological perspectives -- and he succeeds. This is an unusual, excellent, vitally important, and urgently needed book.(Kirsten Foot, Associate Professor in the Department of Communication, University of Washington)
A sophisticated accounting of several key developments and the ways in which these developments have impacted our ability to use digital cultural products. Law and Politics Book Review(Law and Politics Book Review)
Wired Shut is an important book, essential for those who care about the future of digital technologies and information flows. The societal implications of digital rights management technologies have never been explored this deeply or comprehensively. DRM technologies are neither technological nor economic imperatives, and Gillespie shows that their social costs are avoidable. Bravo!(Pamela Samuelson, Richard M. Sherman Distinguished Professor of Law & Information, University of California, Berkeley)
About the Author
Tarleton Gillespie is Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at Cornell University, with affiliations in the Department of Science and Technology Studies and the Information Science program. He is also a Fellow with the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School.
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Top Customer Reviews
The work is also a very welcome one in that the author convincingly shows that the current debate over digital rights, particularly as reflected in long-running discussions of music and piracy, has been very ably shaped and controlled by but one side in the debate, at least at the public level. After reading Wired Shut, any reader is going to be a much wiser consumer of information bearing upon public and legal debates over copyright law, and particularly over the technical fixes, such as digital rights management software and hardware so often said to be the solution to the "problem of piracy.
For a full review see Interface, Volume 8, Issue 2.
Gillespie tackles this unwieldy yet crucial subject with a strong backdrop of theories of society and technology, as well as intellectual property law. He finds that the corporate lockdown of culture has been achieved not by transparent and reviewable changes in the law and the legislative process, but by technological design that cannot be countered by consumers. Not only is this process undemocratic, it also does not bode well for culture unless creative people choose to remove themselves from market forces (actually anti-market politics) over which they have less and less input.
The only real problem with this book is not the strength of the argument, but readability. Some of the different chapters, especially in the middle portions of the book, unnecessarily repeat the main thesis and probably originated as separate research projects (a common occupational hazard for academics); and Gillespie's initially unique coverage of industry standard-building coalitions tends to dissolve into tedious coverage of parliamentary infighting. But with those flaws aside, Gillespie concocts a fascinating argument, utilizing everything from cultural studies to law to scientific philosophy, in bringing together a previously scattershot school of thought into the definitive book-length treatment. [~doomsdayer520~]
-the role of the federal government in largely adopting the perspective of institutional content providers (including record labels and the major motion picture studios) regarding the need for broader and more rigorous enforcement of copyright restrictions during the mid-1990s;
-the extent to which the reliance upon code (developed in secret by private corporate interests) instead of legal provisions (developed in public by popularly-elected representatives) to enforce copyright restrictions threatens to undermine the balance between the interests of creators and users that historically underlies United States copyright law;
-the fact that DVD players have no record function is the result of an alignment between legal, technological, institutional and market forces (the major motion picture studios require DVD manufactures to contractually agree to manufacture DVD players with no recording or copying functions as a condition of making motion picture titles available in the DVD format, without which there were would be much less demand for DVD players);
-the fact than a effective DRM scheme requires alignment between commercial institutions, not just the technology and content sectors, and the failure to achieve such an alignment was the main reason the Secure Digital Music Initiative failed; and
-the extent to which end-users of intellectual property in the digital realm increasingly function as active users of tools, rather than passive consumers of culture, and how focusing on the latter characterization was a key strategy employed the Motion Picture Association of America in its lobbying efforts to enact the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
The book suffers a bit from some long passages containing academic material and theorizing. Overall - a good read if you're a copyright geek.