From Digital to Analogue: Copyright and Peer-to-Peer File-sharing

Mark Poster

The speaker at the next Informatics Seminar (12/1/2006 3:00pm ICS2 136) will be Mark Poster, from
the UCI Department of History (and Informatics).

From Digital to Analogue: Copyright and Peer-to-Peer File-sharing

My theoretical standpoint frames the question of copyright in the
context of a new relation of humans and machines, and this in a
global context. I argue that digital culture involves changes in the
binaries of modernity that are due to the new relations of humans to
information machines – subject/object; producer/consumer; time/space;
etc. As a result there are changes to epistemology – the new
epistemology is no longer one of a relation of the individual subject
to truth but one of assemblages of humachines and knowledges.

Media become central to the question of truth – as always – print
gives you modern subject; film gives you imagination as surface; TV
gives you passive consumer; global, digital networks give you truth
as a function of care of self, of the process of self-transformation
implicated in the relation to information machines. Instead of fixed
identity as presumption and/or goal of the self, whether that fixity
be the modernist notion of reason or the traditionalist notion of the
past, the self becomes a fluid, non-territorial process of

Peer-to-peer practices and software are central to the new relation
of humans to information machines and require a politics that
seriously revises or eliminates copyright law. At stake is a new
culture, a new configuration of the self, and this is at the level of
the global.

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