This penetrating and informative book provides readers with the perfect systematic critical guide to the file-sharing phenomenon. Combining inter-disciplinary resources from sociology, history, media and communication studies and cultural studies, Matthew David unpacks the economics, psychology, and philosophy of file-sharing. It fuses a deep knowledge of the music industry and the new technologies of mass communication with a powerful perspective on how multinational corporations operate to monopolize markets, how international and state agencies defend property, while a global multitude undermine and/or reinvent both.  

Legal Genealogies

Legal genealogies
  • Introduction
  • Technology and legality
  • The US legal genealogy
  • A curious case of international and inter-media comparison
  • Comparative legal frameworks and interpretations
  • National specifics from three cases: Canada, UK and Hong Kong
  • The emperor's new sword
  • More on the Sony Ruling
  • Conclusions


The global framework for intellectual property rights highlights that globalization is as much about regulation as deregulation (Holmes 2003), but limitations also highlight contradictions. Diverse legal frameworks and the wide variation by which the same laws are interpreted in different jurisdictions are explored. Geographical variation and changing legal interpretations of property rights and infringement have significantly shaped the development of file-sharing technologies. Initially Napster offered a sharing service that required transfer through a central server and its legal demise was premised on its supposed ‘active collusion’. This attack on active ...

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