***** Darknet: Hollywood’s War Against the Digital Generation.By J.D. Lasica; published by John Wiley & Sons, 877/762-2974 (phone), www.wiley.com (Web); 320 pages; $25.95.
Darknets refer to small networks of users who typically share files. In J.D. Lasica’s book, Darknet is the lawless underground economy in which computer users share and trade music, movies, television shows, games, software, and porn. In a sense, it’s the black market of the Internet.
With exceptionally evocative writing, Lasica opens readers’ eyes to the digital underground lurking underneath the traditional economy. Every security practitioner tasked with protecting intellectual property should become familiar with this phenomenon.
According to Lasica, a Darknet justifiably sprang up because of the extreme restrictions placed on media, lawsuits filed to prevent fair use of that media, and piracy countermeasures built into equipment. Owners and creators of such media would, justifiably, disagree. Considerable investment and resources go into the production of a book, movie, or album, and it’s unfair for that material to be used for someone else’s gain or for it to be released before the creator can profit from it. Allowing untrammeled use of others’ work chills the creation of future works.
Lasica’s sympathies are clearly on the side of Darknet users as opposed to big business, but he makes some valid points about how corporations have abused their power. For example, he mentions how the Digital Millennium Copyright Act has been wielded to prevent people from making legal, personal use of material. The lesson is that Hollywood, the music industry, and other big players should consider moderation in the enforcement of their property rights.
Putting aside some of the more extreme views argued, readers will find valuable exposition here. For example, the author offers a fascinating peek into the world of key players in both digital technology and digital generation.
Security professionals involved in the entertainment, film, or recording industries are obvious audiences for this book, but others will benefit as well in learning about the ethics and social mores of the Darknet. The book also imparts the lesson that owners and originators of intellectual property must actively consider weapons besides lawsuits and legislation to safeguard their intangible assets.
Reviewer: Ross Johnson, CPP, is a retired Canadian Forces Intelligence Officer working for an offshore-drilling company in Houston. He is the membership chairperson for the Houston Chapter of ASIS International and a member of the ASIS Oil, Gas, and Chemical Industry Security Council.