JD Lassika, M2 Editions, Mai 2006
Préface de Howard Rheingold.
Titre original : « Darknet, Hollywood’s War against the Digital Generation. »
Denis Failly – JD Lasica could you portray us this mysterious underground universe that you name Darknet (stakes, rules, main actors, strategies…) ?
JD Lasica -« Darknet » works on several levels. It refers to the universe of blogs and small, independent websites outside the bright glare of mainstream media sites. These may be small and obscure sites on their own, but collectively they’re becoming as significant and weighty as traditional media.
It also refers to the hundreds of underground sites, in the dark recesses of the Internet, where users can communicate and exchange files in relative security, outside the orbit of the legal system.
Usenet, Internet Relay Chat and university « top sites » are examples of this.
Most importantly, « Darknet » refers to what may happen to the Internet itself should current trends continue. The forces of control, exercised by the entertainment and media companies and backed by their allies in the United States government and unthinking governments abroad, refuse to embrace their digital futures.
This is in no way an endorsement of unfettered file sharing, which is wrong, plain and simple. But the public is largely unaware of the restrictions being placed on on our digital devices — from portable music player to home networks to digital televisions — which prevent law-abiding citizens from using legally purchased media in ways they’ve come to expect. »
Denis Failly – What is your vision of Peer to Peer tomorrow, and is there any limits ?
JD Lasica – « Yes, certainly there are limits. Few reasonable people believe that because a file has been digitized, it’s therefore free for all the world to copy.
An interesting phenomenon has emerged in the past year: the birth of legal peer-to-peer services. Several companies, such as Outhink.com and Pando.com, allow users to exchange large video files with other via p2p. But these services emphasize that users are to exchange files that they’ve created, such as home movies.
I think that’s the future: more and more we’ll see p2p used in legal ways, allowing us to exchange large digital files that we own or created. This will become even more pronounced as we move into the era of high-definition video. »
Denis Failly – Do you believe the Personal media era that you describe in your book, is a epiphenomenon or is it a deep and viable trend in the long run ?
JD Lasica – There’s no question that the personal media revolution is a long-term, lasting phenomenon. All the signs suggest that this era is here to stay. Millions of people are turning to grassroots media sites like YouTube.com and Ourmedia.org for their entertainment, news and information.
The question is, where do we go from here? I think people will quickly tire of the short silly videos you see on some of these sites. We’ll be looking for something deeper and meaningful, something outside the formulas and cliches seen in traditional television.
One prediction: grassroots media will get better, more polished and professional-looking, as the tools of creativity get easier to use and as small groups of people get together to collaborate on higher-quality works.
Second prediction: Many people will start making money for grassroots videos they’ve created.
Final prediction: In the next year we’ll see several deals between traditional media companies and small startups to bring grassroots media works into television channels, cell phones and other distribution networks. »
Denis Failly – Which solutions are possible according to you to (re)conciliate the interests of Majors and the « darknet users » ?
JD Lasica -The solution is apparent for all to see: Entertainment companies need to embrace their digital destinies and start experimenting with new business models for music, video and games. If not, the darknet users will force their hand. My concern is not with the bottom line of the media companies but with the artists and creative individuals who need to receive a fair payment for their creations.
Currently, the music system is out of balance, with the vast majority of artists receiving little or no income for their efforts. If we blew up the current music distribution system and started from scratch, there’s no way we’d come up with anything resembling the current system.
I don’t believe Hollywood faces the same threat to its well-being that the music labels are facing. Swapping and watching Hollywood movies is still a practice you find on college campuses and among geeks, but it hasn’t penetrated the middle class, and probably won’t. But the film industry needs to be aware that people want to watch movies on their terms, without the absurd kinds of restrictions encumbering digital devices.
Denis Failly – As observers of Internet, I suppose you begin to have a idea about the possible scenarios in term of news uses, news economic models for next years ?
JD Lasica – « I recently returned from a trip to Seoul, South Korea, where I attended the International Citizen Reporters’ Forum. It was amazing to see so many people passionate about citizen journalism from all over the world — places like Brazil, Chile, Cameroon and Nepal.
I think smart news organizations are waking up to the fact that the public no longer wants to be spoonfed the news as passive consumers.
Many of us want to engage in a conversation about the news, and to participate in a meaningful way. That means blogs, citizen media videos and podcasts are all part of today’s media equation.
Newspapers and television news networks will find a way to survive — as they must. Professionals still bring a lot to the table that amateurs cannot emulate. But traditional news outlets also must evolve to the new participatory realities or perish. »
Denis Failly – « Thank you JD »
Le blog de JD Lasika
Le blog français autour du livre
Bio : JD Lasica, journaliste et blogueur américain reconnu, a écrit de nombreux articles pour des journaux comme le Washington Post, Salon, le Industry Standard… Il est le fondateur du site ourmedia.org qui est au centre du phénomène du journalisme citoyen au niveau mondial. Auparavant, éditeur du principal quotidien de Sacramento, le Sacramento Bee, pendant 11 ans et responsable de l’équipe éditoriale dans trois startups.