Internet & Society: Technologies and Politics of Control Essay

Internet & Society: Technologies and Politics of Control Essay

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Internet & Society: Technologies and Politics of Control

From the moment Internet file-sharing became a reality, exploding into millions of homes and dorms, something changed. Internet file sharing brought with it the opportunity to access for free what had previously cost money. Beyond that, file sharing created a social norm that music and digital media ought to be free. How did this happen? How did file sharers warp reality and forever create this notion that digital media, notably music doesn’t require the money it always had before?

Through this paper, I will attempt to prove that the social norms of the Internet public were corrupted by code, by deceptive P2P programs that mask reality for the sake of prosperity. It is this warped social norm that plagues the future of digital media tomorrow. By examining the programs that have forced this revolution (Napster, LimeWire, KaZaA) much can be learned and understood about where and how society failed to recognize its Internet world is in fact an extension of the physical world, and the same rules of civility and morality ought to apply. It is my contention that the P2P networks created an atmosphere built around harmonious sharing—using the ideas of strength in numbers and anonymity to create richly stocked P2P networks. Finally, after careful analysis and discussion of the facts, I will offer suggestions on moving forward and hopefully solving the chaos and problems faced by the present system (or lack thereof).

In “Code and other Laws of Cyberspace”, Lawrence Lessig outlines the four modalities of regulation—law, markets, norms, and architecture. Law has the ability to regulate behavior through penalty and markets create incentives for people to behave in particular...


... middle of paper ...


...the Internet and online file sharing no longer be a chaotic jungle of copyright infringement, but an extension of community and relationships as we understand these terms in the offline world.

Works Cited

Goulder, Alvin. “The Norm of Reciprocity: A Preliminary Statement” American
Sociological Review 1960.

Levin, Daniel. “Building Social Norms on the Internet”. Yale Journal of Law &
Technology. 2001-2002.

Steiner, Peter. “On the Internet, Nobody Knows You’re a Dog”. The New Yorker 5 July 1993.

Strahilevitz, Lior Jacob. “Charismatic Code, Social Norms, and the Emergence of
Cooperation on the File-Swapping Networks”. John M. Olin Law & Economics Working Paper No. 165. The University of Chicago Law School.
http://law.uchicago.edu/lawecon.index.html

Takahashi, Nobuyuki. “The Emergence of Generalized Exchange” American Journal of
Sociology 2000.

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