Book Review – Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow

Pirate CinemaPirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Trent McCauley is a British, teen, fan vidder, making his own movies from the components of other, copyright films. English copyright law has been bought by the corporations and copyright infringement is punished with a year’s suspension of Internet.

When Trent’s downloading causes the family’s Internet access to be revoked, his father loses his telecommuting job, his mother can’t access her online health benefits, and his sister can’t effectively study for her A level exams. Trent flees the house in shame, and ends up homeless on the streets of London.

Fortunately, Trent falls in with a good crowd of squatters and learns the ropes, partying, meeting new people, and having a great time. When the copyright corporations push for even harsher legislation, Trent finds himself involved in the fight, and uses his key skill, fan vidding, to shine attention on the issue.

Doctorow is good at writing kick arse teens, lives and breathes copyright, and this book merges the two in a mostly successful way. I say mostly successful as it seemed a little preachy and the main character had some unbelievably (suspension of disbelief breaking) good fortune.

Overall this was an enjoyable tale with some key messages, but was a bit too heavy on the propaganda. I assume the intent was to get the readers (presumably young adults) involved in the fight against unfair copyright legislation. A laudable aim, but not really what I desire for recreational reading.


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