Ethics Among Peers: From Napster to Peppermint, and Beyond

  • U. Pagallo


The aim of this paper is to analyse some ethical issues concerning the development of P2P systems. Some scholars consider them to be the key to a new social paradigm, others express alarm about how these systems undermine crucial elements of our societies. The result is often the ban of P2P technologies, like those on some campuses in the U.S. where Capitol Hill still debates on whether to impose more. Hence, by stressing why there is “ethics among peers,” the idea is to strike a fair balance between the principle of precaution and the principle of openness, so that threats arising from P2P systems should not be a pretext to limit freedom of speech, research, or “the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community,” according to the phrasing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


Precautionary Principle Universal Declaration Cultural Life Copyright Infringement Digital Piracy 
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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Benkler, Y. (2006) The Wealth of Networks. How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom. New Haven, CT., Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Anderson, Ch. (2008) The Long Tail. Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More. New York, Hyperion.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bauwens, M. (2005) P2P and Human Evolution. Placing Peer to Peer Theory in an Integral Framework. On line at .
  4. 4.
    Keen, A. (2007) The Cult of the Amateur. How Today’s Internet is Killing Our Culture. New York, Doubleday.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Pagallo, U. (2008) Something Beyond Technology: Some Remarks on Ignorance and Its Role in Evolution, in Living, Working, and Learning Beyond Technology, edited by T.W. Bynum, M. Calzarossa, I. De Lotto and S. Rogerson, Tipografia Commerciale, Mantua (Italy): 623–631.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Berners-Lee, T. (1999) Weaving the Web. The Original Design and Ultimate Destiny of the World Wide Web by His Inventor. San Francisco, Harper.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Cerf, V. (2007) User-Generated Content Is Top Threat to Media and Entertainment Industry, interview in Accenture on April 16th.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Lessig, L. (2002) The Future of Ideas. The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World. New York, Vintage.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Pagallo, U. (2007) “Small World” Paradigm in Social Sciences: Problems and Perspectives, in Glocalisation: Bridging the Global Nature of Information and Communication Technology and the Local Nature of Human Beings, edited by T. W. Bynum, S. Rogerson, and K. Murata, Research Center and University of Meiji, Tokyo: 456–465.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Physica-Verlag Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Università di TorinoTorinoItaly

Personalised recommendations