The wily Lucas Gonze is at it again, defining ‘lightnet’ and ‘darknet’ by example, without explanation. The explanation is so simple that it probably only subtracts from Gonze’s [re]definition, but I’ll play the fool anyhow.
Usually darknet refers to (largely unstoppable) friend-to-friend information sharing. As the name implies, a darknet is underground, or at least under the radar of those who want to prohibit certain kinds of information sharing. (A BlackNet doesn’t require friends and the radar doesn’t work, to horribly abuse that analogy.)
Lightnet, as far as I know, is undefined in this context.*
Anyway, Lucas’ definition-by-example lumps prohibited sharing (friend to friend as well as over filesharing networks) and DRM together as Darknet. Such content is dark to the web. It can’t be linked to, or if it can be, the link will be to a name,** not a location, thus you may not be able to obtain the content (filesharing), or you won’t be able to view the content (DRM).
Lightnet contnet is light to the web. It can be linked to, retrieved, and viewed in the ways you expect (and by extension, searched for in the way you expect), no law breaking or bad law making required.
* Ross Mayfield called iTunes a lightnet back in 2003. Lucas includes iTunes on the dark side. I agree with Lucas’ categorization, though Ross had a good point, and in a slightly different way was contrasting iTunes with both darknets and hidebound content owners.
** Among other things, I like to think of magnet links and Bitzi as attempting to bridge the gap between the web and otherwise shared content. Obviously that work is unfinished. As is making multimedia work on the web. I think that’s the last time I linked to Lucas Gonze, but he’s had plently of crafty posts between then and now that I highly recommend following.