Announcing The Techdirt Book Club, Starting With Consent Of The Networked By Rebecca MacKinnon

from the join-us dept

We're going to try something new, starting today: The Techdirt Book Club. There are tons of interesting books coming out these days, and we keep getting questions from the Techdirt community about other things they should be reading. So, we're going to try to set up a somewhat informal "Techdirt Book Club" (not to be confused with the original Techdirt book club from a few years ago, where we offered a bundle of cool, signed books). In this case, we're going to pick a book to read as a community each month, and then host a discussion towards the end of the month about the book hopefully including the author of that book as a part of the discussion.

To kick it off, for the month of March, we're thrilled that Rebecca MacKinnon has agreed to take part in a discussion around her recently released book, Consent of the Networked, which discusses "the worldwide struggle for internet freedom." Considering recent events around the globe -- from the Arab Spring to the SOPA/PIPA fight to ACTA, Anonymous and Wikipedia -- that have touched on this topic, it certainly seemed timely. The book is fascinating, and there's plenty of "red meat" topics for discussion -- much of which people around here are likely to agree with... and some they might not. Thus, I'm sure it'll be an interesting and lively discussion.

If you'd like to take part... go read the book. Later on in the month, we'll get the discussion kicked off, but we didn't want to do that until people have actually had a chance to read the book. Then Rebecca will join in the discussion as well, and hopefully we'll all learn something and solve the world's problems (or something like that).

This is very much an experiment at this point, so we're learning as we go, but the plan is to do this with a new book every month, and hopefully have some great discussions with lots of interesting authors.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2012 @ 3:27pm

    Is there a link I can freely download the book?

    An interesting book to consider is the one released by the Pirate Party, No Safe Harbor.

     

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    TheNutman69321 (profile), Mar 1st, 2012 @ 3:47pm

    Where's the torrent at, lol. Actually looks interesting, might pick it up.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2012 @ 3:59pm

    Anyone else find it ironic?

    "Touched on?" THAT'S the understatement of the year. :-)

     

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    Modplan (profile), Mar 1st, 2012 @ 4:06pm

    Will hopefully be able to pick this up (and read it) before the discussion date. Definitely seems like an interesting read.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2012 @ 4:20pm

    You mean the Techdirt PDF Club, right?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2012 @ 4:56pm

    Sounds like another flop in the making.

     

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    freeloader, Mar 1st, 2012 @ 5:06pm

    Yeah, where's the link to download the entire book free of cost?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2012 @ 5:32pm

    Re:

    You should try your local library.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2012 @ 6:17pm

    "We're going to try something new, starting today:"

    Aka, "following the relative failures of public parts of the Insight Community and Step 2, I am going to take another stab at being a middleman".

    Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2012 @ 6:50pm

    Re:

    You'd have thought that Masnick would have subjected this latest doomed idea to Step 2. I guess that no confidence vote underscores what a flop that is too. He must be kicking himself for not getting into the echo chamber-sourced bill writing game.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2012 @ 6:52pm

    Re: Re:

    Hey Masnick, given these serial failures, maybe you need a different business model.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2012 @ 8:33pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    No no no... obviously, he needs to payoff congress to pass laws which protect failing business models - that's the way it's done.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 1st, 2012 @ 8:37pm

    Wow...no ebook for Digilife listed? I think I'm actually honestly hurt, tech dirt......

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 1st, 2012 @ 8:37pm

    Re: Anyone else find it ironic?

    Wow...no ebook for Digilife listed? I think I'm actually honestly hurt, tech dirt......

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2012 @ 8:55pm

    Gee, I don't feel like paying for $17.81 for it on Amazon and waiting a week to get it. Besides, I believe in "try before you buy". Do you think Rebecca will mind if I download a free copy from Files Tube? Will I still get to learn the club's secret handshake?

     

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    Colin (profile), Mar 1st, 2012 @ 10:54pm

    No epub for my Sony reader either. Even if I had a US credit card to order the hard cover from Amazon, I'm sure that the censors here in China would stop it at the border. You really would think that a book available to a broader audience would have made more sense to kick off the book club

     

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    Colin (profile), Mar 1st, 2012 @ 11:27pm

    Well, that was quick - 30 seconds to find a pirated copy on the web. Afterwards, 5 minutes to post to lostbooksales.com

     

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    PaulT (profile), Mar 2nd, 2012 @ 12:41am

    Re:

    "middleman"

    Really, running a book club is being a middleman now?

     

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  19.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 2nd, 2012 @ 12:42am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Please, oh glorious AC, please direct us to details of your successful business ventures so we can bask in the glory of your perfect models.

     

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  20.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 2nd, 2012 @ 12:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Please, oh glorious AC, please direct us to details of your successful business ventures so we can bask in the glory of your perfect models.

    It seems worth pointing out, by the way, that we did this because we thought it would be fun for everyone to discuss some interesting books. It's got no "business model" around it. If there was as business model, we'd probably be trying to sell people the books directly ourselves, which we're not.

    We're just trying to get people to discuss a book. And our usual crew of haters are so insane that they have to attack it. Kind of amazing how incredibly silly it makes them look.

    I also like how they decide what the think is a "failure" and what's a "success" when they have no knowledge of why we set up things like Step 2. But, alas, it's fun to watch them flounder about as they try to denigrate any and everything we do. Just shows how far off base they are. Even if Step 2 was a failure (it's not, in any way, shape, or form) we've said time and time again that we think content creators should continually experiment -- and that means taking chances on some things that will work and some that will fail. To mock something as a failure, shows why they don't get the new business models. They're so childish and clueless they won't even accept the fact that some people, much smarter than them, take risks, and that's where innovation comes from.

    But, that's because of where they come from. No risks should be taken, because risks mean going outside the big established players. So they mock the risks. And we laugh, because they don't even understand where we're heading with everything we've been piecing together. They'll keep mocking as each new part of what we're doing is unveiled, never even being able to comprehend what we're doing. It's amusing how they telegraph their own cluelessness.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Mar 2nd, 2012 @ 1:04am

    Hmmm... count me in on the "interested but hesitant" area. I'd like to read the book, but having just moved apartment I really don't want to start acquiring more physical books, and the Kindle version's far more than I'm normally comfortable paying (nearly 14, I usually don't bother with digital media over 5). Perhaps that makes me a cheapskate, but we'll see how the rest of the month pans out for me before I can commit to the reading and discussion.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm most definitely interested, it might just not be the right time for me to commit the necessary time & money.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Mar 2nd, 2012 @ 1:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yep, I understand there's no business model here, hence the heavy sarcasm! I just wanted to take it the next step - i.e. if the AC is such a successful businessman that he can actively attack those in business for not following his preferred methods, he should identify his ventures. Otherwise, he admits he's just an armchair critic who spend his time attacking people for coming up with new ideas that go against what he's used to, and that's just sad.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 2nd, 2012 @ 5:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Mike, as mere mortal with no super powers, no ability to see through miles of internet connections to understand your secret, back room dealings, we can only judge from what we see.

    So we see that most of the threads on the front page of Step2 are months old.

    So we see that the last public case paid for on Step2 would go back 2010.

    On that basis, we can conclude that, from the surface, it appears to be a failure.

    "But, that's because of where they come from. No risks should be taken, because risks mean going outside the big established players."

    No, risks are always taken, in all sorts of ways. The difference is that I am not claiming to be a new business model guru. It's funny to watch someone who portrays themselves as knowing better than the people running billion dollar industries who can't seem to get a single startup idea off the ground, even with the help of some of the largest players in the area.

    So rather than lashing out at those who call you out as "clueless", why not just accept it? Accept your failures, mark them as failures, come out and discuss WHY they are failures, and move on. Some business models work, some don't. Accepting that you are not perfect, and just as likely to fail as the next guy would actually add some humility to your public persona. Your outburst here sort of shows the opposite of that, someone unwilling to accept that, perhaps, they aren't quite as good as they think they are.

     

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  24.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 2nd, 2012 @ 5:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So, you admit you have no inside knowledge and are basing everything from a superficial surface view backed by wild assumptions. Yet, you see nothing wrong with repeatedly attacking Mike as a "failure" and then trying to call him a liar when he disagrees.

    Classy.

     

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  25.  
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    Modplan (profile), Mar 2nd, 2012 @ 5:27am

    Re:

    Amazon's "Look Inside" is good to get the general idea of the book, and seems generous enough as try before you buy option:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Consent-Networked-Worldwide-Struggle-Internet/dp/0465024424/

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 2nd, 2012 @ 7:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Paul, I use only the same standards that Mike applies to everything. I see no activity on these sites, I don't see people tripping over each other to share their "business models". What more can I say?

    I am not calling Mike a failure in and of himself. I am saying some of his business models, some of the ways he seems to think he knows better than everyone else have either failed or were not good enough to continue.

    He is unable to show business model success, and all the outward signs are of failures. I think it is key to understand that "the emperor has no clothes" as it were. It is particularly evident in the nasty tone of a reply to anyone who claims such. No supporting information, nothing... just a nasty lash out.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 2nd, 2012 @ 7:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    How cute. Cubby's rallying his fanboys.

     

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  28.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 2nd, 2012 @ 8:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So, again, you self-selected criteria, and even though you admit you don't know the whole story, you attack Mike for failure. Meanwhile, you give no method to identify who you even are, let alone why your blind assumptions should be taken at face value over and above Mike's claims - even if Mike's claims have equal evidence to back them up.

    "He is unable to show business model success, and all the outward signs are of failures."

    Just out of curiosity, which "model" are you addressing here? You keep referring to a business model failure, I'm just wondering if you even know which model you're criticising.

     

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  29.  
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    Doug B (profile), Mar 2nd, 2012 @ 8:10am

    Interesting that you chose a book where the kindle edition actually costs more than buying it new. I realize amazon is charging slightly more for its new hardback, but if you look you can buy it from other sellers new for almost $4 less than the Amazon kindle edition.

     

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    Tom Barger, Mar 2nd, 2012 @ 8:14am

    Bought the book thanks

    I bought it. Let us know when the discussion kicks off.

     

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    Baldaur Regis (profile), Mar 2nd, 2012 @ 9:01am

    An interesting idea...

    I continue to be impressed with the general intelligence of the TD community and would welcome the opportunity to a more in-depth discussion on these topics. May I make some suggestions?

    1. Make the book available (in e-form) at no charge for registered TDers
    2. Arrange to make the author available for the discussion.
    3. Set up a chat room for the discussion (real-time is much better than constant refresh).
    3a. HAVE A MONITOR WITH BAN PRIVILAGES!
    4. Break the discussion into a two day format - allowing the ideas presented the first day to be processed for the second day.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 2nd, 2012 @ 9:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Paul, why the nasty attitude? Are you going to hold Mike to the same high standards, and kick and scream every time he observes something or says that "it seems to me", because he is working with less than 100% accurate and confirmed information?

    I am looking at the sites. I am drawing a conclusion based on the information that I have. Why am I wrong to have an opinion? Mike does the same every day.

    As for "business model", Mike's attempts have been to try to become a middleman for various things - like crowdsourcing help for companies, or setting up a chat board / help site for new business models. Step2 is pretty much a clear failure, it never got busy, hasn't seen a ton of support, and most of the posts come from a very few users (who appear to be staff).

    It is an idea, one that perhaps has some merit, but it appears Mike failed because he doesn't have the widespread support of people who actually work or create in music, movies, and video, but rather that his user base are mostly fanboys of his copyright bashing, pirate coddling attitude.

    It has all the indications of being a total failure. It would be nice for Mike to just come out and admit it, show some humility, and accept that perhaps he doesn't know what is best for everyone else for once.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 2nd, 2012 @ 1:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    " if the AC is such a successful businessman that he can actively attack those in business for not following his preferred methods, he should identify his ventures."

    So Paul, are you saying that Mike should only comment on music if he is a successful musician, or on copyright only if he holds many copyrights?

    Damn, I love your double standards. Proves you are just being a prick about things.

     

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  34.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 3rd, 2012 @ 12:45am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "So Paul, are you saying that Mike should only comment on music if he is a successful musician, or on copyright only if he holds many copyrights?"

    No, I'm saying - as ever - what I'm saying, not the strange things you read into them. For example, here, you're criticising Mike vehemently, using nothing but base and superficial assumptions, but never giving us a single reason to even consider believing your claims. At least Mike states his credentials, and he criticises things from his own clarified position (e.g. when he criticises music and copyrights, he does so from a business POV, something he has demonstrable experience with).

    At least if you stated your credentials and why you constantly think you know better than everyone here, there would be some reason to consider your claims.

    "Damn, I love your double standards."

    Reality, as ever, is over here >>>> try joining us some time. There's no double standards in the actual points I'm making.

    "Proves you are just being a prick about things."

    ...and yet again, you prove you're incapable of making even the slightest point without childish name calling.

     

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  35.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 3rd, 2012 @ 1:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Paul, why the nasty attitude? "

    This is a nasty attitude to you? I think I'm being rather polite, especially compared to some of the ACs around here.

    "Why am I wrong to have an opinion?"

    You're not. But, you have the same opinion about everything Mike does, no matter how much information to the contrary he presents. When you launch yet another attack on him, based on little other than blind assumptions, and have a history of never backing down even when proven entirely wrong in said assumptions, why should we give you the benefit of a doubt this time?

    Unless you have actual evidence that Step2 is a "failure" and under which criteria (profitability is something you've already admitted you can't prove), stop whining.

    "As for "business model", Mike's attempts have been to try to become a middleman for various things"

    ...and here, we have some things that maybe need to be addressed. First of all, Mike has never said he's against middlemen, it's gatekeepers he dislikes. There's still room in every single one of the "new" business models for middlemen, only they have to be supportive rather than exploitative of the artists. So, why is being a middleman an issue for you?

    Then, you seem to have a rather strange idea of what a middleman is. How is a company that gives advice and support to new artists and business models a middleman in the same way as, say, an old school record label? I don't see it. Then again, you may be the same idiot who thinks that a book reading group is a middleman in another thread, so you may not know what you're referring to...

    " that his user base are mostly fanboys of his copyright bashing, pirate coddling attitude."

    ...and yet again you prove yourself to be a single-minded fool who literally doesn't know who he's talking to nor accepts any idea that doesn't fit a preconceived world view. just once, you might try to enter a discussion without trying to launch these idiotic attacks on honest people who pay for content like myself, and then maybe you can join us in real world discussion.

    Have fun playing with your strawmen.

     

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  36.  
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    chillienet (profile), Mar 3rd, 2012 @ 1:38am

    " Standard Shipping Rates to Australia
    Delivery within 18 to 32 business days"

    Something tells me I might not have read the book in time for the discussion...
    Before you say anything, I know I could get the kindle version faster then that but I am only prepared to pay more then $5 for an ebook if i know I would go back and read it again and again because unlike the physical version i can not lend it to friends and family and then sell it second hand. Oh well, sorry Rebecca. You nearly had a sale out of me thanks to techdirt but it's not going to happen today.

     

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  37.  
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    chillienet (profile), Mar 3rd, 2012 @ 1:52am

    " Standard Shipping Rates to Australia
    Delivery within 18 to 32 business days"

    Something tells me I might not have read the book in time for the discussion...
    Before you say anything, I know I could get the kindle version faster then that but I am only prepared to pay more then $5 for an ebook if i know I would go back and read it again and again because unlike the physical version i can not lend it to friends and family and then sell it second hand. Oh well, sorry Rebecca. You nearly had a sale out of me thanks to techdirt but it's not going to happen today.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 3rd, 2012 @ 12:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "using nothing but base and superficial assumptions, but never giving us a single reason to even consider believing your claims."

    Oh fuck Paul, give it a rest.

    Last paid insight community deal was in 2010. Clearly, if this product was successful in delivering true value to companies, and if it had been a successful program, Mike would be working it every day (and might even hire staff to manage it). Clearly, it wasn't successful enough to keep doing it. It failed to meet any reasonable goals for keeping it as an ongoing business. When your local food store closes down, it's not because they were a raving success, it's because they failed.

    Step 2? Many of the posts on the front page are 3 months old, Except for a couple of replies since this thread, the thing is damn near dead as a doorpost, with mostly staff propping it up. No flood of new business ideas... 48 total threads in a year, and many of them started by staff as well. Few people seem to go there, fewer still contribute, and if Mike hadn't hyped it on the main Techdirt site a bit, probably nobody would even know about it. It appears to be a total failure end to end.

    Moreover, Step2's failure is pretty key: It shows that not only does Mike not have any true new business models that are working on any scale besides occassional dumb luck, he also doesn't appear to have the contacts or the exposure within his target communities to get people in the door. Even with connections on other sites, it seems that he is being solidly ignored.

    References from the "partner" sites are pretty rare, it seems that almost everyone has dropped any front page style support for the site, and only barest references to it are fairly out of date. Seems like the partners have figured it out already.

    So I am not working from nothing, I am working from what I can see, what is going on, etc. This is the same standard Mike uses every day. Why are you holding me up to a higher standard?

    As for childish name call, honestly, stop being a prick and I won't have to call you out on it.

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 3rd, 2012 @ 12:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "and yet again you prove yourself to be a single-minded fool who literally doesn't know who he's talking to nor accepts any idea that doesn't fit a preconceived world view. just once, you might try to enter a discussion without trying to launch these idiotic attacks on honest people who pay for content like myself, and then maybe you can join us in real world discussion."

    Paul, I try to have real world discussions with you. Sadly, they all get killed off by your "gimmie, gimmie, gimmie" attitude. Look, you moved to a country where English is not the main language, where the market for english material is very limited, with significant local laws regarding movies, releases, ratings, and all that stuff... and the only ones you call out are the studios that make the content?

    Are you crazy? You don't think perhaps that you have done some of this to yourself? Did you not put yourself in a stupid position, and now you are whining because you can't have the best of both worlds?

    Your attitude is just a justification for piracy. If the stuff isn't available in your country (you know, the one you intentionally moved to) then too bad. Live with it. I can't get decent Brazilian BBQ where I live. Should I be allowed to get free meals everywhere else because of it? Nope.

    As for Mike, see my post above. There is plenty of proof of Step2 as a total failure, and the Insight Community as something that wasn't a viable long term business. How hard is it to go look with your own eyes and see the reality? Are you so stubborn as to not except what is right in front of you?

    Honestly, there are no real world discussions until you take off your blinders and start accepting reality - including the one you created for yourself.

     

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  40.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 4th, 2012 @ 12:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    " Look, you moved to a country where English is not the main language, where the market for english material is very limited, with significant local laws regarding movies, releases, ratings, and all that stuff..."

    None of which has anything to do with my complaints. None of which has anything to do with why, for example, Netflix are not available here despite being available elsewhere in the Spanish speaking world. none of which explains the arbitrary barriers such as region coding that blocks me from playing content I can otherwise quite legally obtain, none of which explains the numerous other idiocies your industry imposes on the 46 million other inhabitants of this country, including millions of English-speaking ex pats, yet you morons constantly call the nation out for "piracy" without ever offing legal alternatives.

    Again, you rail against your fantasy version of my position rather than the one I actually hold.

    "Your attitude is just a justification for piracy."

    Once again you drooling fucking retard: I DO NOT PIRATE.

    I BUY EVERY PIECE OF ENTERTAINMENT I CONSUME DESPITE THE OBSTACLES YOUR MASTERS PUT INTO PLACE

    Is that clear enough for you? After discussions for years, you can't even get this simple fact through your thick skull, is it any wonder you completely fail at ever other discussions you have?

     

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    Digitalist (profile), Mar 4th, 2012 @ 3:17pm

    Great idea

    Really nice idea TD. I'm gonna read it as soon as i can. Maybe, as a future proposal, the readers could vote on a book (from a list determined by You) so the book that gets the most votes, will be a part of the book club that particular month.

     

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