Chokepoint Capitalism: How Big Tech and Big Content Captured Creative Labor Markets and How We’ll Win Them Back
Sunday, 9/25/2022
2:00 - 3:30
Koret Auditorium
Main Library

100 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States

Contact Telephone

Corporate concentration (and profits) have breached the stratosphere. An ever-expanding constellation of industries are now monopolies (where sellers have excessive power over buyers), monopsonies (where buyers hold the whip hand over sellers)—or both. Rebecca Giblin and Cory Doctorow argue in their new book that the result is Chokepoint Capitalism: rigged markets where powerful corporations have managed to position themselves between workers and customers in ways that allow them to extract far more than their fair share of value.

Nowhere are chokepoints more endemic than creative labor markets. Chokepoint Capitalism details breathtaking abuses being carried out in almost every place creativity meets money: book publishing; Hollywood screenwriting; game development; news; music streaming, publishing, and ticketing, and more. Deconstructing the playbook used by Big Tech and Big Content to create their chokepoints, Giblin and Doctorow show the problem to be fundamentally one of power imbalance. But they don’t stop there. They have a whole bunch of detailed, rousing, unabashedly hopeful proposals for change, showing how creators and audiences can work together to widen these chokepoints out—and get artists paid.

Praise for Chokepoint Capitalism:

“Are you a writer, a musician, an artist? Is Big Tech eating your brain and sucking your financial blood?...Chokepoint Capitalism tells us how the vampires crashed the party and provides protective garlic.”—Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale

“This book is an absolute must-read for anyone who senses that the predominant economic mythology is a lie…and who is ready to finally start fixing the problem.” —David Sirota, writer of Don't Look Up and founder of The Lever

“This book gets it” – Stephen Fry

Rebecca Giblin is a Professor at Melbourne Law School where she works at the intersection of law and culture, leading interdisciplinary teams researching issues around creators’ rights, access to knowledge, and technology regulation. She is Director of the Intellectual Property Research Institute of Australia (IPRIA) and heads up the Author’s Interest and eLending projects, as well as Untapped: the Australian Literary Heritage Project.

Cory Doctorow is a bestselling science fiction writer and activist. He is a special advisor to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, with whom he has worked for 20 years. He is also a visiting professor of computer science at the Open University (UK) and of library science at the University of North Carolina. He is also a MIT Media Lab research affiliate. He co-founded the UK Open Rights Group and co-owns the website Boing Boing.

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A security journalist for more than two decades, Joseph Menn is the author of the bestseller Cult of the Dead Cow: How the Original Hacking Supergroup Might Just Save the World. It revealed that then-presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke had belonged to the oldest surviving and most influential group of U.S. hackers and explained the origins of hacktivism and ethical security work. 

Menn now covers digital threats for the Washington Post, having joined in early 2022 after working at Reuters, the Financial Times and Los Angeles Times. Menn also wrote the 2010 bestseller Fatal System Error: The Hunt for the New Crime Lords Who Are Bringing Down the Internet, a real-life thriller that brought the modern face of cybercrime to a mainstream audience.

Menn speaks regularly at security conferences including Def Con, Black Hat and RSA. 



Rebecca Giblin - Twitter 

Cory Doctorow - WebsiteCory Doctorow - TwitterCory Doctorow - Instagram 

Joseph Menn - Twitter


photo credits: Jonathan Worth for Cory Doctorow, and Ivanna Oksenyuk for Rebecca Giblin