Trylon Communications  - September 2005

Digital Repression

A new book has hit the streets, with some candid observations regarding empowered media consumers and alleged Hollywood attempts to maintain the status quo of the public as passive media consumers. Darknet: Hollywood's War Against the Digital Generation by J.D. Lasica explores the evolution in media consumption through a series of stories that illustrate the theory that Hollywood is actively attempting to repress consumer freedom of choice.

Who will control digital information consumption in the future? According to Lasica, that battle is being fought today through copyright protection, political wrangling, and legal strategies.

While consumers want increased control over the use of digital content, those who produce and deliver such content want to be able to charge a fee to use it. This goes back to the days of Napster, Replay TV and file sharing – and forward to Kazaa, TiVo and iPod.

Lasica does recognize the value of copyright protection, but espouses the ideal of an eventual consumer-controlled media that offers true information democracy. By illustrating “Darknet” stories, he is able to show how some digital freedom fighters are working to protect the rights of information citizens – and sometimes abuse those rights.

An interesting aspect of the book is that it was written using many of the tools that empowered information consumers use today – blogs and a wiki. While Lasica is the author of the book, much of the information was contributed by digital citizens.

As Lasica states in his introduction, “I wrote this book for two reasons: to tell the stories of the strong personalities and colorful characters at ground zero of this momentous battle and to spotlight the threat posed to digital culture.” He does an excellent job, and the book should be required reading for media executives and information consumers alike.

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