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Lasica’s Darknet Book Wiki

May 5th, 2004 · 1 Comment

JD Lasica has put up a Wiki of his forthcoming book “Darknet: Remixing the Future of Movies, Music and Television.” Its an interesting experiment – anyone can edit it! From the introduction:

Darknet tells the story of the digital media revolution. The future of movies, music, television, and the Internet are all on the line in this clash between the irresistible force of technological innovation and the immovable object of entertainment media.

I wrote this book for two reasons: to tell the stories of the strong personalities and colorful characters on both sides of the digital culture war, and to spotlight the ways in which entertainment companies are locking down the digital technologies we want to use.

The stories in this book speak to how technology is shifting the balance of power between big media and regular people. The rise of personal media is throwing the old rules into disarray. Media companies are losing their traditional control over audiences as the Internet propels a cultural shift from push to pull, from passive consumer to empowered user.

We no longer consider ourselves couch potatoes who absorb whatever mass media may funnel our way. We produce, publish, reinvent, and share personal media. We make our own movies. We create digital photos, animation, niche news sites, hyper-fiction, online picture albums. We program our personal video recorders so that we watch programming not on the networks schedule but on our terms. We capture TV shows and stream them from one room to another on our home networks. We record music with cheap tools that not long ago cost more than a house, and perhaps distribute our works on the Internet. We listen to satellite or Web radio stations that cater to our individual tastes rather than homogenized commercial radio. And we download music from the Net to our MP3 players and burn music to our own CDs.

We make our own media. We are our own media.

But traditional culture fights back. Under the banner of fighting piracy and protecting copyright, influential companies are threatening to turn back the clock. Our personal devices are becoming handcuffed, our televisions dumbed-down, and our computers hamstrung. This is not some far-off threat; it is happening today.

This book will show that the digital revolution encompasses much more than piracy or file sharing. I hope to enlarge the debate by bringing into focus some of the important new developments in digital culture: personal media, participatory culture, space shifting, edge TV, open media, digital rights, and darknets.

Now, about the title. Darknets refer to underground or private networks where people trade files and communicate anonymously. But there’s a deeper meaning as well. Darknet serves as a warning about a world where digital media become locked down, a future where the network serves not the user but the interests of Hollywood and the music industry. The Darknet is where many of us may wind up if current trends continue.

The next few years will be pivotal in the war on creative expression. As Joe Kraus of the public interest group DigitalConsumer.org warns, This battle will affect consumers rights for the next fifty years.

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