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Configuring peer-to-peer software: an empirical study of how users react to the regulatory features of software

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The emergence of new digital media has led to new sources and locations of power, and as a result, a heated debate on the regulability of cyberspace. The myth that cyberspace is by its nature free and uncontrollable has been challenged by Lessig's New Chicago School of Regulation that argues that code, or the architecture of information technologies, will be an important regulatory modality. This paper examines the relationship between regulation, information technologies and human behaviour, by examining what happens whenever individual human beings configure technology for use, in this case, file-sharing peer-to-peer applications. The evidence from the research suggests that Lessig's view does not capture all the nuances of practice involved in the use of peer-to-peer applications. The paper ends with proposals for future study of the actual practices of the users of this technology that will improve our understanding of the relationship between technology and regulation.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/41776/

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