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New Digital Technologies: Privacy/Property, Globalization, and Law

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For more content, please see Journal of Developing Societies.

This paper addresses attempts to locate and dislocate music audiences in the context of global commercial, legal, and technical developments. The 2001 legal decision against Napster in the United States found the file share service company guilty of copyright infringement. This precedent appeared to support the recording industry. However, such legal frames have been bypassed by new softwares. Supporters see such global networks of sharing and distribution as undoing corporate control. The recording industry has responded with parallel claims of having encryption and surveillance technologies capable of globally reregulating property. However, as this article shows, there is no technical necessity and that total freedom and total enforcement are impossible. Just as globalization is reified into an inevitable process of deregulation in one instance and at the next moment it is reified into an indispensable regulatory regime, so new electronic media and global electronic networks promote neither regulation or deregulation, except in so far as the balance of social forces at any one time interprets and enacts them in such ways.


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