Lasica's 'Darknet' illustrates battle between industry and innovation

“Darknet: Hollywood’s War against the Digital Generation,” by OJR Senior Editor J.D. Lasica, offers an intriguing look at how attempts to protect copyrighted digital material threaten creative and technical innovation in the United States.

Lasica speaks with both industry leaders lobbying Congress for legal restrictions against technology as well as computer experts who are undermining existing restrictions in the “Darknet,” a loosely-defined neighborhood of the public Internet where some file traders, open source programmers, remix fans and technological libertarians intersect.

As Hollywood pushes Congress and the courts to punish digital pirates, many innocent consumers are losing “fair use” rights to copy and remix digital entertainment for their personal, noncommercial use. Ultimately, Lasica illustrates, the battle over digital copyrights may result in the U.S. government federal controlling the manufacture of electronic equipment, including computers and their operating systems.

Lasica concludes with a 10-point plan, a “digital culture road map,” he offers as a compromise to protect both professional and amateur artists through market-, not government-, based solutions.

Darknet: Hollywood’s War against the Digital Generation, by J.D. Lasica. Wiley, 308 pp. US$25.95.

About Robert Niles

Robert Niles is the former editor of OJR, and no longer associated with the site. You may find him now at