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Amateurs R Us

"Millions and millions of exuberant monkeys ... are creating an endless digital forest of mediocrity." -- Andrew Keen.

The Cult of the Amateur: How today's Internet is killing our culture
by Andrew Keen

List Price: $22.95
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Currency (June 5, 2007)
ISBN-10: 0385520808
ISBN-13: 978-0385520805

Book Description: Amateur hour has arrived, and the audience is running the show

In a hard-hitting and provocative polemic, Silicon Valley insider and pundit Andrew Keen exposes the grave consequences of today’s new participatory Web 2.0 and reveals how it threatens our values, economy, and ultimately the very innovation and creativity that forms the fabric of American achievement.

Our most valued cultural institutions, Keen warns—our professional newspapers, magazines, music, and movies—are being overtaken by an avalanche of amateur, user-generated free content. Advertising revenue is being siphoned off by free classified ads on sites like Craigslist; television networks are under attack from free user-generated programming on YouTube and the like; file-sharing and digital piracy have devastated the multibillion-dollar music business and threaten to undermine our movie industry. Worse, Keen claims, our “cut-and-paste” online culture—in which intellectual property is freely swapped, downloaded, remashed, and aggregated—threatens over 200 years of copyright protection and intellectual property rights, robbing artists, authors, journalists, musicians, editors, and producers of the fruits of their creative labors.

In today’s self-broadcasting culture, where amateurism is celebrated and anyone with an opinion, however ill-informed, can publish a blog, post a video on YouTube, or change an entry on Wikipedia, the distinction between trained expert and uninformed amateur becomes dangerously blurred. When anonymous bloggers and videographers, unconstrained by professional standards or editorial filters, can alter the public debate and manipulate public opinion, truth becomes a commodity to be bought, sold, packaged, and reinvented.

The very anonymity that the Web 2.0 offers calls into question the reliability of the information we receive and creates an environment in which sexual predators and identity thieves can roam free. While no Luddite—Keen pioneered several Internet startups himself—he urges us to consider the consequences of blindly supporting a culture that endorses plagiarism and piracy and that fundamentally weakens traditional media and creative institutions.

Offering concrete solutions on how we can reign in the free-wheeling, narcissistic atmosphere that pervades the Web, The Cult of the Amateur is a wake-up call to each and every one of us.

About the Author: Andrew Keen is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur whose writings on culture, media, and technology have appeared in The Weekly Standard, Fast Company, The San Francisco Chronicle, Listener, and Jazziz. As the Founder, President and CEO of Audiocafe.com, he has been featured in Esquire, Industry Standard, and many other magazines and newspapers. He is the host of the acclaimed Internet show AfterTV and frequently appears on radio and television. He lives in Berkeley, California.

Editor's Note: Yes, I cut and pasted this from Amazon.com. [JH]

June 8, 2007 in Web 2.0 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Swedes Open Embassy in Second Life

CNN is reporting that Sweden became the first country to open an embassy in Second Life. [JH]

June 7, 2007 in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

2007 Law Student Podcast Survey Results

CALI's John Mayer has compiled the results from the 2007 Survey of Law Students who were in podcasted courses. Check it out. [JH]

June 6, 2007 in Podcasts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Shucha Identifies 116 Blogs by Law Librarians

Bonnie Shucha, Head of Reference, University of Wisconsin Law Library, has updated her directory of law library blogs and blogs by law librians or law library associations. Check it out. [JH]

June 5, 2007 in Blog News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Legal Wikis on Lawyer 2 Lawyer

From the Legal Talk Network:

"On Lawyer 2 Lawyer, we will explore the world of “Legal Wikis.” Are they helping or hurting the law? What does the future hold for Wikis? Are we reshaping years and years of facts through the click of a button? Join co-hosts and Law.com bloggers, J. Craig Williams and Bob Ambrogi as they hear from the experts: Martin Farley, an Intellectual Property Law librarian at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in London, Tom Mighell, Senior Counsel and Litigation Technology Support Coordinator at Cowles & Thompson in Dallas and Daniel N. Lewis, entrepreneur and Vice President of Business Development and General Counsel of Wikia, Inc."  [RJ]

June 4, 2007 in Wikis | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack