REVIEW: "Darknet", J. D. Lasica

Discussion in 'Computer Security' started by Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Trevor, Jul 25, 2005.

  1. BKDRKNET.RVW 20050603

    "Darknet", J. D. Lasica, 2005, 0-471-68334-5, U$25.95/C$33.99/UK#16.99
    %A J. D. Lasica
    %C 5353 Dundas Street West, 4th Floor, Etobicoke, ON M9B 6H8
    %D 2005
    %G 0-471-68334-5
    %I John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
    %O U$25.95/C$33.99/UK#16.99 416-236-4433 fax: 416-236-4448
    %O Audience n- Tech 1 Writing 2 (see revfaq.htm for explanation)
    %P 308 p.
    %T "Darknet: Hollywood's War Against the Digital Generation"

    The introduction defines a darknet as a collective system for sharing
    media files, especially those involved with the removal or
    circumvention of copy protection technologies. As such, it is
    basically what is also referred to as a file sharing or peer-to-peer
    (in the non-technical sense) network, and later the book says that
    *the* "Darknet" is the merging of all such networks. Lasica also
    notes other possible implications of the term Darknet, such as the
    fear that excessive copyright and digital rights restrictions may
    having a chilling effect on creativity and free speech. (Neither the
    consistency of capitalization nor the usage of the term darknet become
    any more definite as the book progresses.)

    Chapter one provides some stories from the world of "personal media":
    works created by individuals. There is not much analysis of the
    content, although there are lots of anecdotes and quotes. Gambits,
    particularly by movie producers, to extend copyright protections and
    restrict use, are covered in chapter two. "Release groups," discussed
    in chapter three, break copy protection and distribute new movies over
    the net. Personal media gets more coverage in chapter four. Chapters
    five and six review various new technologies, first for compression
    and transmission, then for modified usage, such as systems that
    automatically "G-rate" restricted movies. The point of chapter six is
    somewhat confused, and this turmoil is even more evident in chapter
    seven, where accounts of people doing "good works" with pirated
    material seems to be intended to raise some kind of issue with respect
    to copyright. (Lasica has a brief mention of a new kind of fair use
    which he calls "digital rights," but the topic is abandoned
    undefined.) Chapter eight is back to personal media (with personal
    broadcasting), and nine has more modified use technologies such as
    TiVO, ad skipping, and modified pay-per-view. Music gets special
    attention in chapters ten and eleven, first with collections and
    playlists, and then with modified use. Chapter twelve provides some
    historical notes on early file sharing networks. Gaming, and the
    trading of game "content," is discussed in chapter thirteen. And
    there is yet one more run at "personal media" in chapter fourteen.

    As can be seen by the outline, the same themes and topics tend to be
    repeated several times. The stories are easy to read, but the social
    ramifications promised in the early parts of the text do not
    materialize. The narratives are fun, but there is nothing here that
    hasn't been said before in the mass of magazine articles that have
    been written on the subject.

    copyright Robert M. Slade, 2005 BKDRKNET.RVW 20050603


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    Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Trevor, Jul 25, 2005
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