Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow

How important is access to the internet for you and your family? For Trent McCauley, a.k.a. Cecil B. DeVil, and his family - it means nearly everything.

Cecil is a film maker. Not a traditional film maker using a camera and crew to create his art, but a film maker who uses films already made and remixes them to create his something new. The only problem is, doing so is illegal. As Cecil works at his art, he
gets caught downloading video protected under copyright laws, thus getting his
entire family cut off from the internet for an entire year! As a result, his
dad loses his job, his mom has difficulties getting the medications she needs,
and his sister is unable to use the internet for her school work.

This story, set in the not-so-distant future, takes the battle for who owns the
rights to art and media to the streets. Literally. Cecil runs away from home
and ends up on the streets of London where he meets some pretty amazing
characters, including his fantastically named girlfriend "26." At
first, he is out to just have a bit of fun with his mates, but as things heat
up with proposed copyright laws Cecil and his cohorts (the Jammie Dodgers)
begin to grow increasingly enraged by the way that the government is shown to
be bought and paid for by the big media corporations.

How does the individual or a small group of individuals fight back against a multimillion
dollar corporation? The only way they know how, through their art - the very
reasons they are cast out in the first place become the tools used to work
against the corporations.

This fast-paced read is geared to slightly older readers (grades 8 and up) of realistic fiction with some tech and social awareness thrown in. Doctorow’s writing is, as Cecil would say, “magisterial!”

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