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07. Tarleton L. Gillespie, Communication

Tarleton Gillespie
Tarleton Book

Tarleton Gillespie

Wired Shut: Copyright and the Shape of Digital Culture (MIT Press, 2007). Gillespie looks at how the enforcement of copyright laws in the digital media industries has shifted from regulating the copying of a work’s contents to technical copy protection: the design of technology such as encryption to protect the work. The book examines the political, economic, and cultural arrangements that are being put into place to make the “technical fix” work. As the music and film industries build alliances with legislators, regulators, and the courts to protect digital material, they are increasingly commercializing culture and regulating communication, as well as undermining the democratic potential of a networked society. Gillespie discusses three recent controversies over digital copyright: the failure to develop copy protection for portable music players with the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI), the successful encryption system used in DVDs and the film industry’s legal response to the tools that challenged them, and the FCC’s attempt to mandate the broadcast flag copy protection system for digital television. Gillespie holds that digital copyright shows us how we use mechanisms of law, technology, and the marketplace to structure cultural expression and how the outcomes of today’s controversies over digital copyright will shape the future of digital culture.

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