Advertisement

Peer-to-Peer Media File Sharing: From Copyright Crisis to Market?

  • W. Edward Steinmueller

“But if you copy a piece of software a thousand times, what is the cost? … Infinitesimal … this is a problem … and it isn’t just a problem of economics. We have a system of values, of morality, based on people competing with each other to copy things, at the lowest possible cost per unit. But when the cost, the object of all of this competition, effectively disappears, what happens to our system? Life gets very puzzling.” (Jones 1998), p. 516 (emphasis as in original).

The use of Peer-to-Peer technologies for the exchange of digital information, including audio, text, and still and moving images presents both business and government policymakers with a profound dilemma. On the one hand, many copyright owners view Peer-to-Peer technologies as a new publishing medium that opens opportunities for new sources of revenue. On the other hand, copyright owners’ customers are questioning why they should be prevented from or charged for using new technologies for acquiring, modifying, and exchanging information for entertainment, education, and cultural expression. In other words, the social convention of paying for a commodity whose marginal cost of reproduction is near zero has become increasingly frayed with the advance of technology.

Keywords

Business Model Medium File Intellectual Property Right Digital Right Management Internet Protocol Address 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Anderson, C. The Long Tail. Wired. 12.10: 170-177, 2004.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, C. The Long Tail: How Endless Choice is Creating Unlimited Demand. New York: Random House Business Books, 2006.Google Scholar
  3. Borland, J. “RIAA Files New Round of Peer-to-Peer Lawsuits.” C-Net News, 2004.Google Scholar
  4. David, P.A. “Intellectual Property Institutions and the Panda’s Thumb: Patents, Copyrights, and Trade Secrets in Economic Theory and History.” Global Dimensions of Intellectual Property Rights in Science and Technology. M. Wallerstein, M. Mogee, and R. Schoen, eds. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1993.Google Scholar
  5. David, P.A. “The Evolving Accidental Information Super-Highway.” Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 17 (2, June 1), 2001, 159-187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Jones, G. “La Cenerentola.” The Mammoth Book of Best New SF 12. G. Dozois, ed. London: Robinson, 1998, 510-524.Google Scholar
  7. Liebowitz, S.J. “File Sharing: Creative Destruction or Just Plain Destruction?” Journal of Law and Economics, XLIX (April), 2006, 1-28.Google Scholar
  8. Mansell, R. “New Media Competition and Access: The Scarcity-Abundance Dialectic.” New Media & Society, 1 (2), 1999, 155-182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Mansell, R. and Steinmueller, W.E. Mobilizing the Information Society: Strategies for Growth and Opportunity. London: Oxford University Press, 2000.Google Scholar
  10. Office of Technology Assessment. Intellectual Property Rights in an Age of Electronics and Information. Washington, DC: Office of Technology Assessment, US Congress, Government Printing Office, OTA-CIT-302, April, 1986.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Edward Steinmueller
    • 1
  1. 1.University of SussexUK

Personalised recommendations