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Peer to Peer and the Music Industry

Peer to Peer and the Music Industry
The Criminalization of Sharing

December 2009 | 200 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Have the music and movie industries lost the battle to criminalize downloading?

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, David unpacks the economics, psychology and philosophy of file-sharing.

The book carefully situates the reader in a field of relevant approaches including network society theory, post-structuralism and ethnographic research. It uses this to launch into a fascinating enquiry into:
  • the rise of file-sharing
  • the challenge to intellectual property law posed by new technologies of communication
  • the social psychology of cyber crime
  • the response of the mass media and multi-national corporations.

Matthew David concludes with a balanced, eye-opening assessment of alternative cultural modes of participation and their relationship to cultural capitalism.

This is a landmark work in the sociology of popular culture and cultural criminology. It fuses a deep knowledge of the music industry and the new technologies of mass communication with a powerful perspective on how multinational corporations seek to monopolize markets, how international and state agencies defend property, while a global multitude undermine and/or reinvent both.

The Global Network Society: Territorialization and Deterritorialization
File-Sharing: A Brief History
Markets and Monopolies in Informational Goods: Intellectual Property Rights and Protectionism
Legal Genealogies
Technical Mythologies and Security Risks
Media Management
Creativity as Performance: The Myth of Creative Capital
Alternative Cultural Models of Participation, Communication and Reward?

[T]his superb book explores the many aspects of the debates surrounding the emergence of the peer-to-peer file-sharing phenomenon and subsequent attempts at control of both the technologies and consumer... The result is a wide-reaching, highly incisive work that should be on the reading lists of any music, media and culture courses... [A] brilliant examination of the criminalisation of culture understood through the context of the contradiction between profitability and the potential suspension of scarcity.

Martin James
Times Higher Education

Takes the reader on an interesting journey along the knife edge of contemporary criminology and deep into the machinations of the intellectual property land grab that is currently taking place in the information age... There is far more information and analysis packed into the 186 or so pages of the book than this simple review can give credit to, but its main strength is that it nicely brings together the themes that currently form various debates about intellectual property and file sharing. The book's interesting and sophisticated academic analysis provides and interesting narrative of contemporary events in the life of intellectual property that contextualizes the law and opens up the reader's imagination to what has, until lately, been a relatively unchartered area of social (and criminological) activity.

David Wall
British Journal of Criminology

This book is far-reaching in its implications for our understanding of modern society and culture and should be read by anyone with an interest in the future of music. David's discussion of the music industry's response to digitisation and the culture of downloading and file-sharing dispels the myths about pirates stealing our musical heritage. It puts the spotlight firmly on an industry that has exploited artists and audiences alike for years but which now finds itself imperilled by a mixture of technological change and the creative practices of (mainly) young people. The analysis is scholarly and rigorous yet the book is accessibly written and contains moments of real humour.

Graeme Kirkpatrick
University of Manchester

Too often the music industry is seen as merely being about entertainment. In this closely and clearly argued book Matthew David explains in detail why anyone interested in the future of our global information society must understand the questions raised by this industry's relationship with its customer base. Clearly establishing the importance of understanding the production and distribution of music for the wider realms of the globalising information economy, Matthew David develops an analysis of much wider relevance; he offers a clear and informative analysis of these developments that will be of interest to social scientists, lawyers and music lovers alike.

Christopher May
Lancaster University

Matthew David has done a rare and valuable thing with this work. He has comprehensively exposed the inherent radicalism of peer-to-peer communication and exposed the absurdities of the various efforts to quash the practice and technologies. This book is certain to outlast the recording industry.

Siva Vaidhyanathan
University of Virginia

A detailed and comprehensive account of the current state of the sector... will do much to help reorientate the file-sharing debate towards achieving sustainability for the industry, as well as de-emphasizing the regulatory approaches adopted so far. This book will be of interest to all those studying or researching in the fields of cyber-crime, network studies or cultural sociology, as well as those engaged with cultural policy and the preservation of intellectual property within the creative industries.


Peer-to-peer file-sharing is a monumental example of unintended social action. Because of the opacity of how has turned and is turning our relationship with music and the music industry up-side down, Matthew David’s important analytical dissection of it must be valued... this book offers a fascinating depiction and analysis of the tensions, paradoxes and dilemmas that peer to peer file-sharing has generated.

Roger Martínez
International Sociology Review of Books

This is a really good book and is adopted for LLM International Economic Law, International Commercial Law and LLM International Intellectual Property Law as recommended book. I have requested my library to get hold of copies of this book.

Dr Yog Upadhyay
Faculty of Business, Computing & Law, Derby University
October 17, 2013

This is a really good book is adopted for LLM International Economic Law, International Commercial Law and LLM International Intellectual Property Law as recommended book. I have requested my library to get hold of copies of this book.

Dr Yog Upadhyay
Faculty of Business, Computing & Law, Derby University
October 17, 2013

Gives a good incite on the damage P2P can cause to the music industry. Covers a range of importantant areas including legislation.

Mr Colin Goodlet
School of Computing, Engineering & IS, Northumbria University
November 1, 2012

Sample Materials & Chapters


Chapter Two

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