I spent much of this book wishing I disagreed with it, because when it gets described on the cover as a call to arms, that's really what it is, and I don't disagree with the point of view Doctorow's espousing here. The creative freedoms and communication freedoms he wants to protect are worth protecting. Definitely. If there's a choir to preach to here, I sing contralto.
But that's just it: it's not preaching, exactly...but it's a lot closer than I found really enjoyable. It was explicitly didactic, which has its advantages if the book is interesting. This...was pretty dull copyfight stuff. And pretty dull teen parties, street life, and vidding stuff. The advantages to the didactic point in setting the story in the near-future are clear, but it means that very little of the science fiction content really wowed me--it was all very plausible "if this goes on...for five to ten minutes." I kept saying to myself, "Well, these aren't my specific interests, probably I'm not the target audience here," which is true...but it's been true of previous Doctorow books and hasn't gotten in the way of my enjoyment before. But Trent/Cecil just never really clicked for me. He moped and whined a lot, and while I got that he was interested in the stuff he did, I never really shared his interest. I felt like I was getting the least interesting story out of the group of characters, which was frustrating.
The spine of this one is labeled with a clear, large "1," so I hope that later installments go further along the timeline extrapolated here, either with Trent/Cecil growing up and doing more interesting things or else with other characters completely.