Blog 8: Social sharing and online piracy

Blog 8: Social sharing and online piracy

In his last sprint, Johnny Ryan turns to the social and political effects the new web has in our increasingly globalized society. Ryan focuses on how the social internet encourages mass collaboration (which we discussed in our last class session), and how that leads to new openings in the ways we create, contain, and share knowledge and ideas. Ryan has covered the problems in social sharing over the web, particular piracy, due to the lack of regulations in the early phase of peer-to-peer sharing.

I believe many of us have been a participant in online piracy, either through sharing content without appropriate permission, or downloading or viewing content that are shared illegally. This phenomenon is native to internet culture. As Ryan points out, it is more difficult for similar piracy to happen with non-digital content, such as books, scripts, and other physical creative work. Digital works, such as music, are easy victims of online piracy.

I have been interested in the implications of online piracy to the entertainment business. From what I can observe, the music and show business have had to change their models in order to cope with the culture of online sharing. Take for example the recording industry that Ryan has highlighted in his book– how it shifted from a physical distribution model to a digital, online format. According to Ryan, YouTube and iTunes are deconstructing the sales models of artists and their recording company. The need to shift to a social sharing sales method is necessary for the survival of business, since not many consumers are willing to spend big bucks on physical albums anymore.

That leads to considerations of co-advertising, native advertising, and targeted commercials on social platforms. For those who are interested in these new revenue generating methods, I recommend doing a project to investigate the impacts of the web on specific businesses.

Also of interests to those who want to read more on peer-to-peer sharing, I recommend one of our faculty’s book: Logie, John (2006). Peers, pirates, persuasion: Rhetoric in the peer-to-peer debates. Anderson, SC: Parlor Press.

My discussion questions for this class session are:

  • How should we handle piracy issues? Are current methods efficient or justifiable?
  • What are the benefits of peer sharing in the education context?


Ryan, J. (2010). A history of the internet and the digital future. London, UK: Reaktion Books. [Phase 3: 11, 12, & 13]


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