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Is hacking illegal?

Lin, Y and Beer, D 2005, 'Is hacking illegal?' , in: Sarai Reader 2005: Bare Acts , Autonomedia, pp. 205-214.

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Hacking is dominantly understood to be the pursuit of the corrupt, the devious, and sometimes the deviant. The contemporary music file-sharing phenomenon, however, has compelled a revision of this understanding. Legal forms of hacking have emerged in response to the massive economic pressure and strategic lobbying capabilities of the music industry. Such virtual trespassing is now common practice in the pursuit of revenue streams that the emergence of the Internet thinned for existing capitalist enterprises. We explore aspects of this particular form of legal hacking, analysing the complexity of the relationship between music and the Internet from cultural, social and technical perspectives. We will also focus on the ongoing lobbying activities and legal actions against users of file-sharing technologies, by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). The re-presentation of this complexity requires an in-depth analysis of socio-technical transformations rapidly proliferating within the digitalised world. We argue that in the development of P2P file-sharing technologies, users’ tacit knowledge and their online habits have transformed and challenged the dominance of entrepreneurs in the selling of information goods, as also traditional ways of production, marketing, licencing and distribution of information goods. We also demonstrate how unauthorised hacking was deemed legal when employed by RIAA and MPAA, both of whom already enjoy considerable social and material capital. We take a critical view of the way in which RIAA and MPAA both tried to undermine P2P file-sharing networks as well as justify their privacy-intrusive act, investigate how hacking and P2P technologies are constructed socio-technically, and how their meanings are negotiated through the interplay of technological artefacts, business value and morality.

Item Type: Book Section
Editors: Narula, M
Themes: Media, Digital Technology and the Creative Economy
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media > Arts, Media and Communication Research Centre
Publisher: Autonomedia
Related URLs:
Funders: Non funded research
Depositing User: Dr. Yu-Wei Lin
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2013 17:19
Last Modified: 29 Oct 2015 01:04

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