Bram Cohen is the author of the BitTorrent protocol, the preferred method for the distribution of files using distributed networks. Here he outlines the background to BT's development and the engineering problems it was designed to resolve. Thereafter Bram discusses the reasons for the failure of pay-for-access models on the net, and explains why advertising has become the preferred form of monetization of online 'content'.
Von Lohmann chronicles the legal actions which have met new media technologies for more than a century, demonstrating that neither current conflicts, nor the extreme language, are unprecedented. He goes on to outline how the lawmaking process in the United States structurally provides incumbent industry players with an advantage. Lastly he challenges the notion that Digital Rights Management (DRM) systems will provide an antidote to the copyright owners' woes.
From its inception in 1999, Napster was pursued by the music industry who succeeded in shutting it down. By doing so, they drove users towards decentralized methods of sharing with no centralized point of weakness. This was made possible network architecture or the so-called 'end-to-end principle'. Swartz outlines how thereafter industry tried other approaches such as digital rights management, which collided with the essential nature of computers as copying machines, and legal threats. While none of these strategies succeeded in stopping sharing, they have impeded the further development of p2p technologies (ion this see also Fred von Lohmann's interview). Arguably these events have encouraged a shift towards web 2.0 sites where users hand over control of their work to centralized sites based on advertising models. Could this trend be reversed in the future?