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Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow
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Pirate Cinema (edition 2012)

by Cory Doctorow

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4152925,597 (3.74)16
Member:literateowl
Title:Pirate Cinema
Authors:Cory Doctorow
Info:Tor Teen (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 384 pages
Collections:Currently reading
Rating:***
Tags:etmooc, connectivity

Work details

Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow

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  1. 10
    Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (PghDragonMan)
  2. 10
    Makers by Cory Doctorow (PghDragonMan)
    PghDragonMan: Big corporations seek to control creativity and the creative forces strike back.
  3. 00
    Junk by Melvin Burgess (kaledrina)
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Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
Read and discussed this one with my teen library book club. Wasn't my cup-o'-tea, as I feel Doctorow spent WAY too much time explaining the technical bits of practically everything his character ran into. I really don't need to know exactly how everything works in order to enjoy a story...

From Book Obsession: http://bookobsessiongpl.blogspot.com/2014/08/kearstens-book-club-pirate-cinema-b...

This past Monday, book club met to discuss online piracy and copyright as we talked about our experiences reading Cory Doctorow's Pirate Cinema.

In a dystopian, near-future Britain, sixteen-year-old Trent, obsessed with making movies on his computer, joins a group of artists and activists who are trying to fight a new bill that will criminalize even more harmless internet creativity.

This was a tough book for many of our teens to get through - Doctorow's writing is dense, and explains a LOT of the technical details. Some examples: building a computer, creating a multi-projector movie screening, using various editing tools to create new media... While several of our teens loved and appreciated this aspect, it forced others to skim big chunks of the book in order to get to Trent's story.

It wasn't long, however, before our discussion moved to topics of online piracy (the illegal downloading of media that one hasn't paid for), digital rights management (a system for protecting copyright of digital media), and why the idea of stealing a DVD from the store is clearly bad, but downloading the same movie to your laptop without paying makes things seem...murky.

Overall, we had a great time talking ethics, morality, and remixing movie clips, and rated the book in a range of 6-12 "illegally downloaded songs."

If you've already read and enjoyed Pirate Cinema, but would like something with similar themes, try one of these teen-recommended reads!

1984 by George Orwell. Winston Smith works for the Ministry of Truth in London, chief city of Airstrip One. Big Brother stares out from every poster and the Thought Police uncover each act of betrayal. When Winston finds love with Julia, he discovers that life does not have to be dull and deadening and awakens to new possibilities. Despite the police helicopters that hover and circle overhead, Winston and Julia begin to question the Party. Yet Big Brother will not tolerate dissent - even in the mind...

Brain Jack by Brian Falkner. In a near-future New York City, fourteen-year-old computer genius Sam Wilson manages to hack into the AT&T network and sets off a chain of events that have a profound effect on human activity throughout the world.

Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx. In his Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx argued that history flows inevitably toward a social revolution, which will result in a society without economic classes.

Epic by Conor Kostick. On New Earth, a world based on a video role-playing game, fourteen-year-old Erik persuades his friends to aid him in some unusual gambits in order to save Erik's father from exile and safeguard the futures of each of their families.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. The system was simple. Everyone understood it. Books were for burning, along with the houses in which they were hidden.Guy Montag was a fireman whose job it was to start fires. And he enjoyed his job. He had been a fireman for ten years, and he had never questioned the pleasure of the midnight runs or the joy of watching pages consumed by flames, never questioned anything until he met a seventeen-year-old girl who told him of a past when people were not afraid...

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. After being interrogated for days by the Department of Homeland Security in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco, California, seventeen-year-old Marcus, released into what is now a police state, decides to use his expertise in computer hacking to set things right.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. It's the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place. Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS--a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be. Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune--and remarkable power--to whoever can unlock them. ... And then, Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

For more fun, administrative librarian Merideth recommends checking out the awesome John Scalzi's blog, whatever.scalzi.com! ( )
  kayceel | Oct 16, 2014 |
To call this science fiction would be an exaggeration - there's scarcely anything sciency about it. Even the speculative fiction label is hard to apply, because what little speculative invention it contains only forecasts into next Tuesday. Hardly a leap of prognosticating wizardry. No, this is about as speculative as a John Grisham novel, which is to say, it isn't. I'm pretty sure the conditions Pirate Cinema show us in Britain do not yet exist there - but for all I know, they could very well exist in Lithuania, or Scotland, or some other less visible corner of the modern world.

Now, there are lots of great novels set in the contemporary world, or somewhere much like it, but this is not one of them. From the outset, Pirate Cinema feels forced. Its settings, its characters, and the situations they get into all feel entirely contrived, by Doctorow, for the express purpose of lining up his rant on freedom of expression and the tyranny of copyright law. The situation is a complete straw dog from opening to close.

He does make some interesting arguments, but even those brief glimmers of engagement were snuffed out, for me, by the obviously contrived, artificial situation. I don't think it spoils anything to reveal that the protagonist is a film mashup artist who runs afoul of increasingly strict copyright law. But all through the book, I kept asking myself, "If the point he's making about copyright is so valid, then why didn't he cast Trent as an up and coming pianist or composer or novelist, even?" Surely his reliance on such a niche art form weakens his argument. My only answer to that question is that it's because he trying to present a simplistic analysis of what is actually a complex, multi-layered, and nuanced social problem.

So as spec fic, there isn't much there, while as social commentary it's entirely contrived and artificial feeling. I suppose it works as a simple urban coming of age piece in a very slightly dystopian setting, but on that basis, it's also pretty formulaic - a David and Goliath tale, pitting little-guy artist against evil corporations, with entirely predictable obstacles, tactics and outcomes. ( )
  Jefficus | Apr 25, 2014 |
I think the difficulty with this book is it simplifies something that is incredibly nuanced and that made it, for me at least, slightly patronising and poorly handled.
I liked
- characterisation
- some of the premise that the book was based on

I didn't like
- the dumbing down of piracy concepts
- the ending. It could have ended without the very final twist and been ok in that regard.

It's worth reading if you can suspend disbelief, but it's not as good as 'when says admins ruled the earth' ( )
  Kaiberie | Feb 8, 2014 |
This book started off kinda preachy. I've heard/watched some of doctorows google talks about the new signed bootloader / hardware stuff. I think he spoke way better at google.
I see now why it was done.

The book was great. I loved the characters, and the story.

If you are a fan of his other books, i'd highly recommend it. ( )
  halkeye | Feb 6, 2014 |
This was entertaining enough, set in a near-future in London when things are just a little more Big Brother-y than they are now. A bunch of kids living in a squat and making remixes and mash-ups of films come under the scrutiny of corporations trying to enforce their copyrights. Then they band together and put on a show in the barn fight the system and say a lot of things about art and creative freedom.

It's nicely written in general, perhaps a little meandering and the characters are maybe a little too likely to break into a long expository monologue about fair use regulations. Aside from that, it's easy to like the characters and be interested in what they do. I liked that it depicted people engaged in activism and social justice work in a positive and serious way. Serious in the sense that their convictions are shown as valid, as opposed to meaning they had no fun at all. A lot of their activities seemed extremely fun.

One thing that wasn't working for me personally is that even though I agree with the book's sentiments on the state of copyright (I think it's forcing an outdated system to try to manage a new technology to the detriment of everybody involved), the choices the author makes about what supports this stance were ... odd, to me. It's like he tried to fit every possible justification in there, and at some point (well, it was a point toward the beginning), it turned the corner from "convincing argument" to "okay, now you're just rambling." ( )
  delphica | Oct 14, 2013 |
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In a dystopian, near-future Britain, sixteen-year-old Trent, obsessed with making movies on his computer, joins a group of artists and activists who are trying to fight a new bill that will criminalize even more harmless internet creativity.

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