Book Piracy As Peer Preservation

Tenen, Dennis; Foxman, Maxwell Henry

In describing the people, books, and technologies behind one of the largest “shadow” libraries in the world, we find a tension between the dynamics of sharing and preservation. The paper proceeds to contextualize contemporary book piracy historically, challenging accepted theories of peer production. Through a close analysis of one digital library’s system architecture, software and community, we assert that the activities cultivated by its members are closer to that of conservationists of the public libraries movement, with the goal of preserving rather than mass distributing their collected material. Unlike common peer production models emphasis is placed on the expertise of its members as digital preservations, as well as the absorption of digital repositories. Additionally, we highlight issues that arise from their particular form of distributed architecture and community.


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Computational Culture

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Academic Units
English and Comparative Literature
Published Here
November 19, 2014