The New Information Ecosystem: Cultures Of Anarchy And Closure

from the say-that-again? dept

One interesting thing in the ongoing debate about file sharing is that every side (and, it’s increasingly obvious that there are more than two sides in this) tries to redefine the debate in their own terms. This makes sense, clearly, since they frame it in a way that best supports their argument. The music industry says downloading is the same thing as shoplifting a CD. Supporters of file sharing say that it’s simply promoting the music to a wider audience at no cost to the producer. In the end, which side you believe comes down to which framework makes the most sense to you. Thus, even if you disagree with certain frameworks, it’s always worth reading about them, to try to figure out what’s wrong with them (and what’s right with them). Here’s a fairly academic attempt at redefining the issues facing all sides in the “peer-to-peer” debate. I don’t necessarily agree with everything written – as I think it’s trying too hard to balance things that don’t need to be balanced. However, it does bring up some issues that are rarely discussed when debating peer-to-peer apps, such as how peer-to-peer mimics some forms of social interaction that have been around for years. The piece also wonders if the plans to “crush” peer-to-peer networks will also be used to “crush” dissent and activism in certain areas. In the end, the paper suggests that it’s a struggle between anarchy and tyranny, which strikes me as a bit extreme.

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