Paradoxes of Property: Piracy and Sharing in Information Capitalism

Amsterdam University Press
Publication Type:
A Reader on International Media Piracy: Pirate Essays, 2015, pp. 145 - 166
Issue Date:
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All societies both suffer and benefit from levels of what is perceived as disorder, and the guiding principles of the society may be contradictory, or paradoxical, in that their ordering systems create disorder. Our aim in this text is explore the disorders and vagaries of property that seem essential to its continuance, construction and destruction, and then demonstrate how these paradoxes play out in the information economy in particular within the domain of peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing. We do not wish to reduce these paradoxes and contradictions to a temporary error or to a future ordered synthesis, but to take them as they are in all their splintered fury. Much contemporary social action stems from these incoherencies, and the disputes, displays of power, and innovations which circle around them. In the P2P field the disorder generated by the order of property provides opportunities for new productive and adaptive social and technical forms of life to emerge. By contrasting order and disorder we are not implying the necessary existence of a binary distinction between the two, or that those definitions of order and disorder will not change depending on the social position of the definers. Disorder is not always and everywhere the same. It resists definition, which adds to its effects
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