Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Proxy Battles over Peer-to-Peer Movie Sharing
In the words of Jack Valenti, Peer-to-Peer video sharing engages the movie industry in a “furious battle” in which “file stealers” threaten to annihilate America’s “greatest trade export and an awesome engine of growth, nourishing the American economy.”1 To an extent, Internet digerati agree.2 Peer-to-Peer, they suggest, has changed the landscape of information control and ownership. The genie – Peer-to-Peer technology – is out of the bottle; and the content industry, as we know it, seems beyond help.
As is often the case in heated public debates over core governance challenges in a networked world, both sides paint the picture almost exclusively in black and white. They have strong incentives to do so. Stark contrast, binary choices, and extreme alternatives will best energize one’s support base and reach out and draw in the vast majority of the public that does not yet mind or care.
For all the rhetoric though, Valenti’s “furious battle” is a battle over proxies, and it is sharing this quality with a number of other core arguments over Peer-to-Peer and video. In the following, these proxy battles provide the red thread to analyze the Peer-to-Peer and video debate.
KeywordsTransaction Cost Supra Note Information Good Digital Right Management Movie Industry
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