On the transformation of everyday culture in an era of liquid modernity

Posts Tagged ‘Overview’

The Pirate Bay: Commercial acquisition in a media-historic perspective

In file-sharing, history, marketing, media ecology, p2p, politics, post-piratical, Sweden on July 1, 2009 at 9:18 am

On June 30th, 2009, The Pirate Bay announced that they are to sell their trademark and website to the Swedish software company Global Gaming Factory X, with the proviso that said company can raise the 60 million SEK (€5,5 million) needed. If it is true that the purchase will come to pass, it will be a very interesting development in terms of media history.

This is a translation of my editorial published on Swedish debate site Newsmill.se.

As a PhD student writing my thesis on Swedish file-sharing, and with a general interest in digitization as a material and historical process, I instantly thought of two observations, rooted in media history:

(1) First of all, it shows that unrestricted file-sharing need not be antithetical to capitalism. In fact, it can be argued to be as much a product of capitalism as tabloid newspapers, pyramid schemes, and ring tones.

So-called “illegal” file sharing sites and services often have a latent commercial potential, right from the beginning. The Pirate Bay has for a long while been financed by advertising and merchandise sales, for example.

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The supposed link between unrestricted file-sharing and declining CD sales

In content analysis, file-sharing, history, media ecology, mp3, music, p2p on April 24, 2009 at 6:57 am

Some excerpts/cut-outs from my thesis. This one is an overview of that worn old question: Is there a link between falling CD sales and file-sharing, and in that casewhat does it look like?

Regarding the link between file-sharing and falling CD sales, there are various studies having different conclusions. A general conclusion is that CD sales started dropping simultaneously as unregulated file-sharing began to rise (initially with Napster in 2000).

However, a direct causal link is hard to establish, since there are so many other factors that could serve as an explanation to this drop: Changing consumption patterns (with the ascendance of video games, DVD:s, hardware etc. as new expenditures); shrinking profitability from CDs; a decline in the number of new titles; a cyclical slump after the boom of the 1990s; decreased diversity of radio playlists; and so on. Read the rest of this entry »

The Pirate Bay: The verdict marks the beginning of the “post-piratical”

In file-sharing, media ecology, p2p, politics, Sweden on April 20, 2009 at 1:31 pm

We saw a guilty verdict against all four prosecuted in the Pirate Bay trial, but this will be appealed and most likely go all the way to Sweden’s equivalent of the Supreme Court. The ruling symbolises how we are in the middle of a conflict between law and the new realities of the Internet, says media researcher Jonas Andersson.

This is a translation of my editorial published last Friday on Swedish debate site Newsmill.se.

We are entering a “post-piratical” decade. Unregulated file-sharing is a condition, no exception.

We have seen regular attacks against the “pirates”. Serious accusations, severe measures. Even convictions, such as this one. But the effect is fleeting. Some now point to the implementation of laws like IPRED and swear that “downloading is going down”. If only it were that simple. Also this effect is most likely transient. Read the rest of this entry »

The people who wouldn’t allow endlessly molecular slippage

In file-sharing, media ecology, philosophy, politics, post-piratical, Sweden on March 20, 2009 at 5:20 pm

In Sweden, we seem to prefer even the most nebulous, awesomely vast and non-overseeable phenomenon to be formulated in terms that carry at least a modicum of solidarity and national-corporatist coherence.

The state battles file-sharing using corporatist measures, but ironically the file-sharing world itself – as a product of the same society, the same morality and concept of liberty – is also construed in corporatist terms (albeit of a slightly different flavour than the strong-arm authoritarian state corporatism that the EU currently favours towards all things digital). But this is perhaps also what gives the Swedish file-sharing phenomenon its potency; pirates, warts and all.

Here follows some more excerpts/cut-outs from my thesis…

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The absolute majority of all Internet traffic is p2p file-sharing

In BitTorrent, content analysis, file-sharing, Internet traffic, net neutrality, p2p on March 14, 2008 at 12:34 pm

…and most of the files shared are video files. The biggest p2p protocol, by sheer volume of data exchanged, is BitTorrent.

According to a special report by Internet analyst ipoque (2007), peer-to-peer (p2p) keeps producing more Internet traffic than all other applications combined. Its average proportion of the overall data traffic regionally varies between 49% in the Middle East and 83% in Eastern Europe. The world average share of Internet traffic that consists of p2p-based file-sharing exchange is estimated to around 70%.

In both Germany and the Middle East, web-browsing makes use of the second-biggest share of overall traffic, with a share of 26% in the Middle East and 10% in Germany. These numbers do not include any audio or video streaming content embedded in web pages, like YouTube. This media-streaming content was counted separately. Tellingly, in Germany, media-streaming ranked third with a proportion of about 8%. In the Middle East it was negligible with less than 0.1% of the share. Possible reasons, ipoque argues, include lower-speed Internet access and less media-rich content on local-language Web sites. Read the rest of this entry »

Facebook fatigue

In Internet traffic, social networking sites on March 4, 2008 at 12:32 pm

Looking at the frequency of coverage that Facebook has been getting recently (courtesy of Google Trends), it is increasingly obvious that the hype around the site seems to follow Everett Rogers’ typical S-curve of technology adoption, where the accumulated penetration of an innovation flattens out as the uptake becomes saturated.
After a flurry of news stories alongside a surge in new user accounts, the interest around the site now seems to have reached a plateau. Read the rest of this entry »

Facebook, ‘til death do us apart

In everyday life, media ecology, social networking sites on February 5, 2008 at 3:12 pm

Facebook makes visible the futility of life, but also the marvel that appears in-between the banalities.

Not only do social networks like MySpace and especially Facebook make the primary channels for keeping informed about when people close to you break up, or have other important changes in their lives (losing their jobs, being pregnant etc). Sometimes you’re apprehending things not through what is actually said, but through what is left out. The “relationship status” indicator is all of a sudden taken down. The ever-present “wall” is temporarily suspended. Or nothing happens; the page remains immutable, inert, suspended in that void which life crises often generate.
In effect, here the social network does not mean anything; it doesn’t taint or colour reality, neither positively nor negatively; it just is, like life itself. Does it feel cheap to break up via text message? Does it feel equally cheap to let one’s mates know only through automatized Facebook feeds? Social facts remain; their charge is not in how they are mediated – whether they are gripping or banal lies in their own nature, not with the messenger. Read the rest of this entry »

Some notes on Internet and media history

In history, media ecology, politics on December 4, 2007 at 12:53 pm

…an overview of some current issues in the online world, intended for the UG course in Media History and Politics, Goldsmiths College.

A worldwide communications network whose cables spanned continents and oceans, it revolutionised business practice, gave rise to new forms of crime, and inundated its users with a deluge of information. Romances blossomed over the wires. Secret codes were devised by some users, and cracked by others. The benefits of the network were relentlessly hyped by its advocates, and dismissed by the sceptics. Governments and regulators tried and failed to control the new medium. Attitudes to everything from newsgathering to diplomacy had to be completely rethought. Meanwhile, out on the wires, a technological subculture with its own customs and vocabulary was establishing itself. (Tom Standage, The Victorian Internet, p. 1) Read the rest of this entry »