The Journal of Peer Production - New perspectives on the implications of peer production for social change New perspectives on the implications of peer production for social change
Issue #6: Disruption and the Law image

Issue 6: January 2015

The disruption caused by new technologies and non-conventional methods of organisation – from a Western perspective at least – have posed challenges for the law, confronting regulators with the need to balance justice and an appreciation of new realities with powerful interests and existing paradigms. Experience from the “disruptions” of the late twentieth century has shown that the response from incumbent industries can lead to a period of intense litigation and lobbying for laws that will maintain the status quo. For example, following its “Napster moment”, the music industry fought to maintain its grip on distribution channels through increased copyright enforcement and the longer copyright terms it managed to extract from the legislative process. The newspaper industry has similarly seen its historical revenue stream of classified ads disrupted by more efficient online listings, and responded to its own failure to capitalise on online advertising by launching legal campaigns against Google News in various European countries.

Though the law as it stands may not be well-equipped to deal with disruptive episodes, the technological innovations of the last twenty years have created an environment that generates disruption. The Internet, the Web and networked personal computers have converged into the ubiquitous post-PC media device, leaving twentieth century paradigms of production, consumption and distribution, particularly in the Western world, under considerable threat. The latest technology to be added to this group of disruptive innovations may be 3D printing, which in recent times has become increasingly available and accessible to users in developed economies, whilst the manufacturing capacity of 3D printers has dramatically grown. Although current offerings on the market are far from a Star Trek-like “replicator”, the spectre of disruption has once again arrived with the prospect of 3D printed guns inspiring a moral panic and raising questions of gun control, regulation, jurisdiction and effective control. In addition, 3D printing raises a number of issues regarding intellectual property, going far beyond the copyright problems that file-sharing brought about due to its production of physical objects.

It is against this backdrop that we present this special issue of the Journal of Peer Production, comprising six peer-reviewed papers and one discussion paper covering an array of diverse issues implicated by the emergence of new production and distribution technologies, associated peer practices and tensions with legal and de facto regulatory frameworks.

Table of Contents

Editorial Section

Edited by Angela Daly (Swinburne University of Technology and European University Institute) and Steve Collins (Macquarie University)

Editorial Note: Playing catchup? How the law encounters disruptive peer production [html]

Peer Reviewed Papers

Peer production and changing norms in music practice: An ethnomusicological perspective

by Denis Crowdy [html]

Expanding the Internet Commons: The Subversive Potential of Wireless Community Networks

by Primavera De Filippi and Félix Tréguer [html]

Peer-to-peer as a design principle for law: distribute the law

by Melanie Dulong de Rosnay [html]

Manufacturing imaginaries: Neo-Nazis, Men’s Rights Activists and 3D Printing

by Robbie Fordyce [html]

Cultures of sharing in 3D printing: what can we learn from the licence choices of Thingiverse users?

by Jarkko Moilanen, Angela Daly, Ramon Lobato and Darcy Allen [html]

Regulating the Liberator: Prospects for the Regulation of 3D Printing

by Isaac Record, ginger coons, Dan Southwick and Matt Ratto [html]


Disrupting the cab: Uber, ridesharing and the taxi industry

by Moira McGregor, Barry Brown and Mareike Glöss [html]