Trent McCauley is sixteen, brilliant, and obsessed with one thing: making movies on his computer by sampling and reassembling footage he downloads from the net. In the near-future Britain where Trent is growing up, this is more illegal than ever; if you’re caught three times, your entire household is cut off from the Internet for a year, with no appeal.
Trent is sure this won’t happen to him; he’s too clever. Except it does, and it nearly destroys his family—his father’s living, his mother’s health, and his kid sister’s studies all depend on Internet access. Shamed and shattered, Trent runs away to London where he learns how to stay alive on the streets. This drops him straight into the city’s always-rambunctious street scene, a demimonde of artists and activists who are fighting a new bill that will criminalize digital copying even more harmless than Trent’s, making millions of people felons at a stroke. The government is in the grip of a few wealthy media conglomerates. But the powers that be haven’t entirely reckoned with the power of a movie to change people’s minds. . . .