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The Empire of Mind

The Empire of Mind: Digital Piracy and the Anti-Capitalist Movement

Series: Digital Futures
Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    The Empire of Mind
    Book Description:

    In the course of exploring new media,The Empire of Mindalso makes apparent that digital piracy will not be eliminated.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-5726-7
    Subjects: Technology, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-22)

    Perhaps no other word characterizes the dawn of the twenty-first century more than ‘empire.’ Within the World Wide Web the word occurs approximately fifty million times. It is a word that evokes fear. It is often used to draw a contrast with democracy, and is frequently applied to the United States of America. Reflecting on the new popularity of the notion of ‘empire,’ journalist Doug Saunders related the following to readers of Canada’s national newspaper, theGlobe and Mail: ‘Until quite recently, it was used only by writers on the extreme left and right, or by journalists seeking some sort...

  5. CHAPTER 1 Capitalism and the Limits to Thought
    (pp. 23-55)

    It has long been recognized that, along with the production of goods, capitalism also produces the desire to consume. Within market economies desire is ubiquitous and taken for granted. Nothing sounds less convincing than a consumer who claims to be unaffected by advertising’s compelling voice. It is a rare individual who is truly content, with no desire for more cash, more clothes, more vacations, more living space, morestuff.Anyone who claims to be free of desire risks being labelled either a fool or a liar.

    Desire is hardly a novel product of the modern economy. Eve desired knowledge. King...

  6. CHAPTER 2 Content and Audiences beyond Control
    (pp. 56-78)

    Within the Internet there is a tremendous conflict between consumer behaviour and the law. Corporations have proven themselves incapable of maintaining control over digital products such as games, music, software, and films. Future developments in technology, corporate alliances, Internet architecture, and law could potentially re-establish control over private property within the Internet, but what if control is not re-established? What could happen to the social order under capitalism if online consumer behaviour continues to evade the reach of law and the status of private property continues to be undermined through widespread digital piracy? I will argue that full control will...

  7. CHAPTER 3 The Abnormalization of the Internet
    (pp. 79-98)

    Almost immediately after businesses first rushed onto the Internet back in 1993, the call was heard that this wired frontier must be civilized. The marketplace, cried business leaders, will bring order to the chaos of cyberspace. The online audience must be corralled in corporate Web sites, eyeballs must be owned, surfing habits ‘monetized,’ freeloaders converted into online subscribers, and piracy reined in once and for all. Books such as Steven E. Miller’sCivilizing Cyberspace: Policy, Power, and the Information Superhighway(1996) and Joseph Migga Kizza’sCivilizing the Internet: Global Concerns and Efforts Toward Regulation(1998), along with magazine articles and...

  8. CHAPTER 4 Culture Jamming and the Transformation of Cultural Heresies
    (pp. 99-133)

    The Internet’s potential to destabilize capitalism’s management of the consumer’s mind would be insignificant if the economy did not exercise substantial control over expression and the free flow of information. But such control exists and thus gives special significance to the Internet’s emergent role in introducing profound changes in contemporary discourse and cultural production. Until the mass adoption of the Internet, consumers had very little access to information that was not produced by the economic system, and the physical range of their discourse was limited to their local social networks. The success of capitalism throughout the 1900s owes a great...

  9. CHAPTER 5 Naughty Barbies and Greasy Clowns
    (pp. 134-161)

    The state and the economic system have limited control over the flow of goods. Billions of dollars are lost to software piracy, trillions of dollars to the underground economy, yet the economic system absorbs these losses and continues to work. While some businesses bitterly protest online piracy, others use it as a covert marketing strategy. Some of the largest companies within the software industry have been accused of promoting piracy in Third World markets as a strategy for gaining increased market penetration. Piracy is used as a strategy for locking cash-poor markets into applications before the competition can establish itself.¹...

  10. CHAPTER 6 Online Journalism and the Subversion of Commercial News
    (pp. 162-198)

    Societies dominated by market economies share a common feature. Within the social orders of capitalism, the production of meaning is concentrated within an increasingly centralized network of corporations. Another defining aspect of capitalism is that it treats meaning as a form of private property. This system of centralized and privatized meaning production serves a very specific purpose – the management of individual belief and action. Still, the media environment is rapidly changing. Capitalism’s system of meaning production is now confronted with a highly decentralized communication system that treats meaning as public property. Industrialized meaning production is faced with the rise of...

  11. CHAPTER 7 Utopic Capitalism, Global Resistance, and the New Public Sphere
    (pp. 199-217)

    Back in 1994, while working on a doctoral degree at the University of Ottawa, running a small publishing company, and driving my first marriage into the ground, I wrote a brief thought-piece called ‘The Internet, Electric Gaia and the Rise of the Uncensored Self.’ The popculture article described aspects of the Internet as a cultural system that I thought would ‘give birth to a new form of human behaviour and, with novel behaviour, a new form of human consciousness – the uncensored self.’¹ I suggested that mass participation in uncensored mass communication was an inherently subversive activity. This book has been...

  12. Conclusion
    (pp. 218-232)

    I have argued that the Internet’s potential for radical social change is widely discounted. My argument is similar to the claims made by John D.H. Downing when he counters the notion that radical media are fading away. Downing suggests that the power of radical media is misperceived ‘because they are not stereotypical mainstream media.’¹ Likewise, the Internet’s age of unconstrained expression and alternative media is widely seen as fading because it does not fit within the economy of corporate media. I do not deny that the communicative freedom of Internet users is under attack. Such freedom represents a substantial challenge...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 233-284)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 285-312)
  15. Name Index
    (pp. 313-318)
  16. Subject Index
    (pp. 319-338)
  17. Back Matter
    (pp. 339-339)