They hated the VCR. Ditto on the DVD, the iPOD and TiVo. It seems, according to grass-roots media expert Lasica, anything that allows independence of choice of thought, any technology that will reduce the market for what Hollywood has to offer generally gets into the hands of the consumer only because someone else figures he or she can make enough money on sales to ignore what entertainment execs have to say about said technology. He explains how the personal media market actually works, which cool toys Hollywood wants to ban or replace with their own products, and the dangers of allowing corporate control of media of any sort, even that considered pure entertainment. Annotation ©2005 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
Rapid-fire advances in technology have transformed home entertainment. Not only can we store hours of television programming and music on hard drives, software has made it easy to create our own movies and songs, splicing and sampling professional-grade material into amateur productions. Entertainment conglomerates are understandably concerned, but in online journalist Lasica's reporting on the culture clash over digital distribution and remixing, corporations are simplistically portrayed as dinosaurs intent on stifling the little guy's creative freedom in order to protect their profit margins. The characterization is not entirely unmerited, but the deck feels unfairly stacked when "Big Entertainment" honchos are juxtaposed with a preacher who illegally copies and downloads movies so he can use short clips for his sermons. Similarly, Lasica infuses the allegedly inevitable triumph of "participatory culture" with a sense of entitlement and anti-corporate bias that he never fully addresses. Lasica's interviews are far-ranging, and he provides a cogent analysis of the broad problems with America's outdated legal framework for dealing with intellectual property rights and the need for the entertainment industry to adapt to new technologies. Too often, though, he falls back to an alarmist tone. With so many other works addressing this issue from both sides, it will be hard for Lasica's book to stand out from the pack. (May 13) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.