Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Peer-to-peer-based file-sharing beyond the dichotomy of 'downloading is theft' vs. 'information wants to be free' : how Swedish file-sharers motivate their action
Author: Andersson, Jonas
ISNI:       0000 0004 2692 6485
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths, University of London
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2010
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
This thesis aims to offer a comprehensive analysis of peer-to-peer based file-sharing by focusing on the discourses about use, agency and motivation involved, and how they interrelate with the infrastructural properties of file-sharing. Peer-to-peer-based file-sharing is here defined as the unrestricted duplication of digitised media content between autonomous end nodes on the Internet. It has become an extremely popular pastime, largely involving music, film, games and other media which is copied without the permission of the copyright holders. Due to its illegality, the popular understanding of the phenomenon tends to overstate its conflictual elements, framing it within a legalistic 'copyfight'. This is most markedly manifested in the dichotomised image of file-sharers as 'pirates' allegedly opposed to the entertainment industry. The thesis is an attempt to counter this dichotomy by using a more heterodox synthesis of perspectives, aiming to assimilate the phenomenon's complex intermingling of technological, infrastructural, economic and political factors. The geographic context of this study is Sweden, a country characterised by early broadband penetration and subsequently widespread unrestricted file-sharing, paralleled by a lively and well-informed public debate. This gives geographic specificity and further context to the file sharers' own justificatory discourses, serving to highlight and problematise some principal assumptions about the phenomenon. The thesis thus serves as a geographically contained case study which will have analytical implications outside of its immediate local context, and as an inquiry into two aspects of file-sharer argumentation: the ontological understandings of digital technology and the notion of agency. These, in turn, relate to particular forms of sociality in late modernity. Although the agencies and normative forces involved are innumerable, controversies about agency tend to order themselves in a more comprehensive way, as they are appropriated discursively. The invocation to agency that is found in the justificatory discourses - both in the public debate and among individual respondents - thus allows for a more productive and critically attentive understanding of the phenomenon than previously.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Internet, File-sharing, p2p, Peer-to-peer, Copyfight, Copyright, Piracy, Sweden, The Pirate Bay,