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Pirates, Hydras, Trolls, and... Authors? On the Authorial Capacities of Digital Media Piracy

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Pirates, Hydras, Trolls, and... Authors? On the Authorial Capacities of Digital Media Piracy

MacDonald, Thomas (2018) Pirates, Hydras, Trolls, and... Authors? On the Authorial Capacities of Digital Media Piracy. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

In this thesis, I undertake a positive analysis of digital media piracy to examine the movement’s authorial capacities. Proposed by James Meese as a way of looking beyond the traditional “piracy is theft” framework, this perspective offers new insights about how the increasingly mundane act of downloading and sharing media files can incite social change. I begin by examining what it means to be a digital media pirate, and how that question is part of the construction of the piracy movement. In the second chapter, I explore the complex relationship between piracy and information capitalism, highlighting how piracy arises from within information capitalism. In the third chapter, I look to how moral panic discourse has been used to demonize pirates, but also how this process has been appropriated by pirates to circulate counter-hegemonic discourse. In the fourth chapter, I examine how pirates are the authors of alternative ethical criteria within private filesharing communities, and how pirates mobilize moral and ethical discourse to push back against attempts to impede their ability to pursue a good piratical life. The final chapter of this thesis takes up the ethnographically rich moment of the Kickass Torrents shutdown in July 2016. Looking at the shut down as an event that like digital media piracy is both meaningful yet mundane, we see how pirates, though contesting romanticized and naturalized norms of property and authorship, push for a new form of authorship constituted by p2p communication in online spaces. Through these perspectives on the piracy movement in the summer of 2016, I argue that through the agglomerated effects of individual acts of piracy, the broader piracy movement radically changes the ways we understand and engage with cultural media objects.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Sociology and Anthropology
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:MacDonald, Thomas
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Social and Cultural Anthropology
Date:16 April 2018
Thesis Supervisor(s):Forte, Maximilian
Keywords:Digital Media Piracy, Filesharing, BitTorrent, Authorship, Internet Activism, Ethics, Moral Panics, Kickass Torrents
ID Code:984558
Deposited By: THOMAS MACDONALD
Deposited On:16 Nov 2018 15:42
Last Modified:16 Nov 2018 15:42

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