This week, the academic blog In Media Res is hosting a series of posts on the theme of "copyleft," and today I've contributed a post about the Polish Parliament donning Guy Fawkes masks to protest the ratification of ACTA in 2012. It's directly related to the work I did for my new book The Piracy Crusade. Check it out, and leave a comment!
Today, I published a new article with my friend and grad student Aaron Trammell, entitled "Visualizing games studies: Materiality and sociality from chessboard to circuit board." Although I've been researching and teaching the games studies field for a long time, this is the first journal article I've published on the subject. I'd be interested to hear what my more hardcore games scholar friends make of it.
Since about 2008, I've been teaching a graduate course called "Visions and Revisions of Cyberspace," intended to chart some of the fundamenal ideas about the internet from its conception through its development, growth, regulation and -- ahem -- maturity. I love teaching this class because it encapsulates many of my deepest interests, and provides a good primer for future researchers in the field. But it's also a bitch of a class because I have to substantially revise the syllabus every single time I teach it. Compare this new version, for Spring 2014, to the syllabus I previously posted for two revisions ago, in 2010.
Class 1: Introduction
Class 2: The Memex and the Mushroom Cloud
Borges, J. L. (1941). The library of Babel.
Bush, V. (1945). As we may think. The Atlantic.
Rifkin, J. (1995). A view of the future. Utne Reader.
Slouka, M. (1996). Reality is death. (from War of the Worlds).
Class 3: The Metaverse
Nelson, T. (1974). Computer lib/dream machines. [excerpt]
Baudrillard, J. (1988). Simulacra and Simulations [excerpt]
Chesher, C. (1994). Colonizing Virtual Reality. Cultronix, 1(1).
Barron, L. (2011). Living with the virtual: Baudrillard, integral reality and Second Life. Cultura Politics, 7(3): 391-408.
Class 4: Free Love, Free Speech, Free Software
Stallman, R. (1985). GNU manifesto
Barlow, J. P. (1996). A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace.
Turner, F. (2005). Where the Counterculture Met the New Economy.
Christopher Kelty (2005). Geeks, Social Imaginaries, and Recursive Publics
Coleman, G. (2013). Coding Freedom. Conclusion: The Cultural Critique of Intellectual Property Law, pp. 185-205.
Class 5: Cyber-bubbles
Meeker, M. (1995). The Internet Report. Morgan Stanley.[Read part 1. The restis skimmable].
Lovink. G. (2002). After the Dotcom Crash: Recent Literature on Internet, Business and Society. Austrian Humanities Review.
O’Reilly, T. (2005). What is Web 2.0?
Anderson, C. & Wolff, M. (2010). The Web Is Dead. Long Live the Internet. Wired.
Edwards, J. (2014). SHADES OF '99: New Data Show The Tech Boom Is Looking More And More Like A Bubble
Class 6: Remixes and Mashups
Class 7: Networked Politics
Rheingold, H. (2008). Mobile media and political collective action. In J. Katz (Ed.), Handbook of Mobile Communication Studies.
boyd, d. (2008). Can Social Network Sites Enable Political Action? In Allison Fine, Micah Sifry, Andrew Rasiej and Josh Levy (Eds.) Rebooting America. 112-116
Shirky, C. (2010). The political power of social media. Foreign Affairs.
Karpf, D. (2012). The MoveOn Effect. Chapter 2, pp. 52-76.
Class 8: Digital Backlash
Keen, A. (2007). The cult of the amateur: How today’s internet is killing our culture. Introduction & Chap. 1, pp. 1-34.
Levine, R. (2011). Free ride: How digital parasites are destroying the culture business, and how the culture business can fight back. Introduction & Chapter 10
Morozov, E. (2011). The net delusion: The dark side of internet freedom. Chapter 6; pp. 143-178.
Class 9: Rules and Regulation
Class 10: Surveillance and Resistance
Brin, D. (1996). The transparent society. Wired.
Vaidhyanathan, S. (2011). The Googlization of Everything. Chapter 3.
Bossewitch & Sinnreich (2012). The end of forgetting: Strategic agency beyond the panopticon. New Media & Society.
WNYC (2014). A Running List of What We Know the NSA Can Do. So Far.
Class 11: Big Data, Big Dreams
Bollier, D. (2010). The promise and peril of big data. Aspen Institute.
Manovich, L. (2011). Trending: The promises and the challenges of big social data.
boyd, d. & Crawford, K. (2012). Critical questions for big data: Provocations for a cultural, technological, and scholarly phenomenon. Information, Communication & Society.
Silver, J. (2013). Digital medieval. Chapter 7.
Class 12: Singularity and Fracture
Vinge, V. (1993). What is the Singularity?
Kurzweil, R. (2010). Q&A on The Singularity (pdf)
Baym, N. (2010). Personal Connections in the Digital Age. Conclusion: “The Myth of Cyberspace”.
de Beer, F. (2012). Responsibility in the age of the new media: Are cyborgs responsible beings? Communicatio: South African Journal for Communication Theory & Research, 38(1), 15-29.
Sinnreich, A. (2013). The Piracy Crusade. Chapter 9.
Last week, I was a panelist at the APAP World Music preconference, on a panel about streaming music business models hosted by Dmitri Vietze and featuring Ben Sisario of the The New York Times, Drew Thurlow of Pandora, and Dick Huey of Toolshed. It was a great conversation, with some good audience questions as well. Joly MacFie of Punkcast caught the whole thing on video.
There was also a pretty lively Twitter backchannel during the event, worth checking out while you watch the video.
Today, I gave my first radio interview about my new book The Piracy Crusade, on Ireland's NewsTalk radio station. The host, Sean Moncrieff, asked some good questions, as well as some pretty hackneyed-but-necessary ones ("Isn't P2P just theft?"). I think I did a pretty nice job of hitting the book's major themes in 12 minutes.
The live stream is available here (interview starts at 8:40):
In the decade and a half since Napster first emerged, forever changing the face of digital culture, the claim that “internet pirates killed the music industry” has become so ubiquitous that it is treated as common knowledge. Piracy is a scourge on legitimate businesses and hard-working artists, we are told, a “cybercrime” similar to identity fraud or even terrorism.
In The Piracy Crusade, Aram Sinnreich critiques the notion of “piracy” as a myth perpetuated by today’s cultural cartels—the handful of companies that dominate the film, software, and especially music industries. As digital networks have permeated our social environment, they have offered vast numbers of people the opportunity to experiment with innovative cultural and entrepreneurial ideas predicated on the belief that information should be shared widely. This has left the media cartels, whose power has historically resided in their ability to restrict the flow of cultural information, with difficult choices: adapt to this new environment, fight the changes tooth and nail, or accept obsolescence. Their decision to fight has resulted in ever stronger copyright laws and the aggressive pursuit of accused infringers.
Yet the most dangerous legacy of this “piracy crusade” is not the damage inflicted on promising start-ups or on well-intentioned civilians caught in the crosshairs of file-sharing litigation. Far more troubling, Sinnreich argues, are the broader implications of copyright laws and global treaties that sacrifice free speech and privacy in the name of combating the phantom of piracy—policies that threaten to undermine the foundations of democratic society.
Where to Get The Piracy Crusade
"This is a book that needed to be written and Sinnreich is the perfect author for it. There are critiques and histories of piracy, and there is at least one state of the music industry book, but this book makes a very different case by critically interrogating the rhetoric and effects of both piracy and anti-piracy efforts."—Nancy Baym, author of Personal Connections in the Digital Age
"Sinnreich provides a sophisticated economic and political analysis of the evolution of the anti-piracy agenda, identifies major stakeholders, and does so with brisk and reader-friendly prose."—Patricia Aufderheide, coauthor of Reclaiming Fair Use: How to Put Balance Back in Copyright
"A fascinating takedown of the corporate anti-music-piracy movement, packed with history, interviews, and great pop-cultural references, from REAL pirates (the swashbuckling kind) to Harry Smith to 'The Pink Panther Returns' to Amanda Palmer. My favorite phrase is 'cyborgian sexual innuendos.'"—Steve Knopper, author of Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record Business in the Digital Age, and Rolling Stone contributing editor
Presentations, Interviews and Events
Sinnreich speaks about The Piracy Crusade and related issues frequently. Some examples include:
About the Author
Dr. Aram Sinnreich is an Assistant Professor at Rutgers University’s School of Communication and Information, in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies. Sinnreich’s work focuses on the intersection of culture, law and technology, with an emphasis on subjects such as emerging media and music. He is the author of two books, Mashed Up (2010), and The Piracy Crusade (2013), and has written for publications including the New York Times, Billboard and Wired. Prior to coming to Rutgers, Sinnreich served as Director at media innovation lab OMD Ignition Factory, Managing Partner of media/tech consultancy Radar Research, Visiting Professor at NYU Steinhardt, and Senior Analyst at Jupiter Research. He is also a bassist and composer, and has played with groups and artists including NYC soul band Brave New Girl, LA dub-and-bass collective Dubistry, and Ari-Up, lead singer of the Slits. Sinnreich holds a Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Southern California, and a master's in Journalism from Columbia University.