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Pirate Cinema

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  3,499 ratings  ·  630 reviews
Trent McCauley is sixteen, brilliant, and obsessed with one thing: making movies on his computer by reassembling footage from popular films he downloads from the net. In near-future Britain, this is more illegal than ever. The punishment for being caught three times is to cut off your entire household from the internet for a year - no work, school, health or money benefits...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published October 2nd 2012 by Tom Doherty (first published January 1st 2012)
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Worldsoul by Liz WilliamsThe Spindle of Necessity by Catherynne M. ValenteThe Fractal Prince by Hannu RajaniemiPirate Cinema by Cory DoctorowThe Man in Seat 11B by Andrew James Pritchard
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4th out of 25 books — 10 voters
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26th out of 118 books — 45 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kasey
Cory Doctorow is good at:

- Extrapolating current trends and creating plausible near futures from them.
- Writing about technical problems in a clear and mostly accurate way.
- Creating page turning stories.

He is terrible at:
- Being nuanced.
- Being credible about non-tech story elements.
- Avoiding sounding preachy.

Typically, with Cory you fight your way through the terrible stuff and the good stuff makes for, if not great literature, a fun read. This book, is an exception. From page 1 his preachy-n...more
Lisa (libraryink)
Cory Doctorow knocks another one out of the park in Pirate Cinema. Here he mixes existing (and already frightening) laws in England punishing those who download copyrighted music or videos by cutting off the family's Internet access with some that haven't yet come to pass but certainly could. I hope this book becomes a wake up call — we all have to remember to stand up for what's right and not just complacently go along with new laws because the rich and powerful say so. Well done, Doctorow.
First Second Books
I have to admit, I sometimes read books by Cory Doctorow and wonder why he is not in jail all the time.

That said, this book details yet another very good reason to consider going to jail – it’s a discussion of copyright and piracy, coming down (obviously) very much on the side of the user, rather than the big companies. I have lots of love for all the characters of this book, who are delightful and charming in their existence of modeling themselves after Oliver Twist (as possibly all British te...more
Rebecca
This is every bit as much a polemic as anything Ayn Rand ever wrote. The saving grace, though, is that Doctorow's characters are sympathetic people and Doctorow himself has an actual sense of humor.

While I don't agree with all of Cory Doctorow's positions, I do lean sympathetic to them. His personal hobbyhorse is the mess that is our current IP system. Here, he sets up a strawman of an entertainment industry with even more sweeping powers than it currently has, and then sets up his plucky protag...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I admire Cory Doctorow, but this isn't a novel.

This is a thin veil over the issues and interests near and dear to his heart - freedom to access and use information, creativity not being limited by copyright law, and being aware of limiting legislation.

If it is a novel, it is a fantasy novel, not really near-future dystopia. In a dystopia, the characters would experience a real struggle, and life would suck a little bit. In Pirate Cinema, the main character "Cecil" downloads enough illegal stuff...more
Josh
Trent McCauley is a teen addicted to illegal downloading and splicing cinema to create ‘remixes’ of his favourite actors’ performances into a single short film send-up. However, the government doesn’t get the humour, and suspend his access to the internet which not only causes Trent grief but also proves disastrous for his family.

Author Cory Doctorow instils the classic David verses Goliath battle of the underdog against ‘the man’ as Trent leads the charge from a squat in London against the Gov...more
Matija
I really dig Cory Doctorow. He is fighting the good fight on behalf of us all. He is one of the few individuals in the world who has the clout to appear in mainstream media in order to talk about copyright issues, a task which would otherwise be left completely in the hands of bigcorp mouthpieces. This is why I support his work in every way possible and also why I think this book is a must read if you care about these issues (and if you don't, you must be living under a rock).

However, his writin...more
Stefan
Trent McCauley is a talented teenager: his main hobby, more an obsession really, is creating movie clips by downloading, remixing and reassembling footage of his favorite actor. Problem is, those movies tend to be copyrighted, which means Trent’s innocuous pastime involves breaking the law on an ongoing basis. All of this goes well, until it suddenly doesn’t: there’s a knock on the door, and a policeman informs the McCauley family that, because of repeated copyright infringements, their internet...more
Evgeny
Trent McCauley loves to create movies on his computer using the old footage from old movies which he downloads from the net illegally. He was caught doing this three times and his whole family was punished by cutting off their internet access. In the near-future Britain (or was it present world; I cannot really tell as nearly everything Cory Doctorow wrote about in this book came into reality already) it is impossible to live without internet access. His father lost his job for which he had to u...more
William Hertling
I'm a long term Cory Doctorow fan, having loved Makers, Little Brother, For the Win, and Eastern Standard Tribes.

Set in the near-term future, Pirate Cinema is essentially about the struggle against oppressive copyright laws.

In Pirate Cinema, like Little Brother, we have another young adult protagonist and his super-smart female love interest and their tribe, who become outraged at government and corporate interests and take action to improve the world.

As in other Doctorow novels, we get great, r...more
Ranting Dragon
http://www.rantingdragon.com/review-o...


Cory Doctorow is almost as well known for his blog and internet activism as he is for his speculative fiction. So it’s no surprise that he combines the two in his latest release for youth audiences, Pirate Cinema.

Sixteen-year-old Trent McCauley loves creating illegal films by editing together clips from other people’s work. Unfortunately for him, in his near-future Great Britain the penalties for illegal downloading are harsh. When his entire family is cut...more
Linsey Duncan
Topical: A discussion about fair use and how it relates to art. How fanfiction, remixes, commentary, satire feeds into the culture that gave it life, and how the Internet speeds up the whole process. Also topical: How far can piracy really be classed as theft, is it worth prosecuting, and does protecting copyright give corporations too much power over a network that does not belong to them, and what about otherwise unavailable/very rare/abandoned media, etc.

These are all dense, complex discussio...more
elizabeth tobey
I liken Pirate Cinema to Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand: Atlas was my favorite book during my childhood because Rand crafted an interesting story whose characters I enjoyed following, however I did not buy into her philosophy and in fact found that the clunky repetition hampered an otherwise interesting tale.

Pirate Cinema is the same: a good story (albeit quite unbelievable - man, I want to be a teen who runs away and somehow ends up in a squat without fear of being evicted, surrounded by other home...more
Daniel Swensen
Nov 30, 2012 Daniel Swensen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Daniel Davis, Alexander Maisey
Shelves: scifi
I'm a little on the fence about Pirate Cinema. On one hand, it's an entertaining, solid read with some fun (if not terribly complex) characters and a political stance on copyright I agree with completely. On the other, there are moments where the novel veneer grows a bit thin and you can almost see the characters turning to the reader to deliver their Important Message.

The number of lengthy and eloquent speeches about copyright spike near the end, and the big media corporations have no voice or...more
Karl-Friedrich Lenz
I was very surprised by the ending. Actually, I am not sure that my Kindle is not malfunctioning.

Just to be sure, I just double-checked before writing this review (I finished reading yesterday). Yes. Again, there it is:

"All rights reserved."

So Doctorow writes a whole book about the evil Hollywood fat cats buying draconian copyright laws from Parliament. And then he reserves all his rights.

What's next? Auctioning off the movie rights? Might make for a fun opening night, if they really have suitab...more
Delyan Kratunov
This is just the latest in the chain of Doctorow's FOSS-proselytizing works, with a pinch of teenage angst and a tick-all-the-checkboxes attitude to writing fiction.

I only read this book because I had it from the Humble Ebook Bundle and needed something to read on the tube. That said, it's repetitive, goes into preaching mode way too often and overall is highly (and I mean HIGHLY) predictable. No twist, no real character development (or characterization at all for that matter), and sitcom-like c...more
Case
If you haven't yet read Free Culture by Lawrence Lessig, you can read this book instead. It's the same tract, just turned into fiction. The characters and story do help keep you interested though, as they are both compelling. There are definitely passages where entire paragraph arguments are pulled out of Free Culture into Pirate Cinema, and spoken by the characters to each other. This can be a bit awkward at times.

I guess my biggest complaint with this book is that it is positioning itself as a...more
Benjamin Strozykowski
'Pirate Cinema' is one of those books that is pretty much impossible to put down. I spent 3 sleepless nights reading through this, after purchasing it through the Humble eBook Bundle, and I can easily say that it was worth the tired feeling I had the following days.

Set in the not-too-distant future, this book is exciting, thought provoking, and becomes a sort of "call to arms" for our generation and our children's generation.

It's rare for me to find a book nowadays which gives me that feeling of...more
Kate Sherrod
"If it's just theft, then why do they need to get their laws passed in the dead of the night, without debate or discussion?" - 26 in Pirate Cinema

There's something more than a little bit After School Special-ish about Pirate Cinema, I'm afraid. Well, let's say half After-School Special and half Steal This Book. With maybe a little of some sunny Oliver!-ish can-do musical extravaganza thrown in here and there. Which is to say that in a lot of ways, the didactic agenda of this novel gets noticeabl...more
Margaret Killjoy
The book takes place in a near-future London only the tiniest bit more dystopian than what we have now, and it’s about a young runaway who finds camaraderie, love, dumpster-diving, and meaningful ways to apply his talents to direct action social change.

Cory Doctorow has an amazing talent for making socially-useful fiction. And in this case, he’s written an immersive book that shows quite clearly the ways that legal and illegal activism work hand-in-hand. Of course, I personally found the direct...more
Petr Kalis
Welcome in near future London, the city ridden with CCTVs and obnoxious copyright protection laws, where you can get your internet access revoked because of downloading of movies. Young hero Trent likes to create hommages from the movies by Scot Colford, his "beloved" actor, and through this he gets his family's internet access banned,thus ruining the future of the whole family. Feeling shamed, he runs to London, where his new career as a clever beggar, a squatter, an alternative filmmaker, and...more
Lissa
Cory Doctorow = Awesome.

Technology = Complicated.

Being a Teenager = Always Plot-worthy.

For a novel that is on it's surface about a teenage boy obsessed with making video mashups of clips starring a fictional movie star, it spends most of it's time on other things. Many other things. Because life isn't all about one thing, even when you are obsessed.

While checking to see who the fictional movie star was named after--because I just knew it had to be someone Cory Doctorow thought was worth idolizin...more
Sdluvingit
Doctorow is known for using his books as a soapbox for causes he believes in; Pirate Cinema is no different. However, be they soapboxes, they are always fun and they are generally causes that I agree with. Pirate Cinema deals with the very real threats to our internet freedoms from the big entertainment conglomerates. We have seen it this past year in bills such as SOPA, PIPA and ACTA. Trent, the main character, is a teenager that loves to download old movies and edit and combine them into inter...more
Brendan
This is, simply put, a cracking good book. Even better, it's good on multiple levels. I really have to look at it in two parts: as a piece of literature, and as a manifesto of sorts, or at the very least expressive of a certain ideology.

The writing style feels like an odd mix of young adult and cyberpunk. It's related in a casual, first-person sort of way, like a story someone might tell in the pub. On the other hand, it's also brimming with an enthusiasm for technology that's infectious, from b...more
Hollowspine
In the summary this book is described as a dystopia. Are we living in a dystopia currently? Perhaps some would think so, and perhaps with only a few changes, such as those happening in Doctorow's fictional England, more would join that opinion. The story revolves around Trent McCauley a pretty normal kid, he's obsessed with mashing footage from films on his computer, and spends most of his time downloading and organizing clips on his computer.

Normal, except that what he's doing is illegal. Downl...more
Patrick
I absolutely loved this book, every bit as much as Little Brother, the last Doctorow novel I read. I realize the basic premise is a bit implausible, since in reality a teenager who ran away to become homeless on the streets of London (or any other big city) would be more likely to fall in with a gang of drug dealers or human traffickers than a merry band of copyright reform activists. And yes the book was preachy to the max, but considering I am just as much a copyright-obsessed nerd as any of t...more
Joel Neff
Oct 18, 2012 Joel Neff rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Every 13 year old I know.
Is there a thirteen year old in your life? If there is, this is their Christmas present. Maybe their birthday. Maybe, just maybe, this is one of those books that you don't give to them at all. Maybe it's one you toss down on the sofa in angry disgust, while exclaiming, "I can't believe they publish this crap! It actually teaches kids how to think like pirates." Then maybe you walk away and make a sandwich or something and never quite get around to inquiring after the book.

Because this is the kin...more
Susan
There's a great story in there. Not just a good one, a great one--so I want to give this book more stars, I really do, but I feel like someone has to say this: Cory Doctorow needs a firmer hand when it comes to editing. I expect editors must rather be afraid of him, assuming they'll be charged with censorship, but I hope someone eventually makes a stab at this because it would make a real difference for him--and his books.

Pirate Cinema takes a page from the same book as Little Brother by followi...more
Ben
This was the preachiest book I've read in a long time, and really took away from a decent story. There was no subtlety whatsoever in any of the impassioned speeches the main characters make about copyright policies

I like Doctorow, and agree with some of his philosophical and political beliefs about technology, capitalism, and the world in general.

Perhaps it's because I already know and agree with his stances that this book seems like little more than an excuse to thinly wrap a plot around politi...more
Lori
i had a real problem with this book. i know the author is a well known sci fi writer so i had high hopes that were dashed. he took a cause he cares about - laws against internet piracy - and created characters to advance his beliefs. british teen Trent is caught downloading movies and his punishment is banishment from using the internet for his entire family. this means dad can't use it for his customer service rep job, mom can't file for disability benefits, sis can't use it for school. shamed,...more
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12581
Canadian blogger, journalist and science fiction author who serves as co-editor of the blog Boing Boing.

He is an activist in favor of liberalizing copyright laws and a proponent of the Creative Commons organization, using some of their licenses for his books.

Some common themes of his work include digital rights management, file sharing, Disney, and post-scarcity economics.

http://us.macmillan.com...more
More about Cory Doctorow...
Little Brother (Little Brother, #1) Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom For the Win Makers Homeland (Little Brother, #2)

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“If you want to double your success rate, triple your failure rate.” 12 likes
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