Week 8, Fall 2020

Fall 2020

Week 8: 1999–2005

Sharing: Music, Peer-to-Peer Networks, and Piracy



“Pirate Utopias: A History of Digital Distribution,” University of Cambridge, Research, April 30, 2013.
Ryan Dombal, “A Eulogy for the MP3: How Music Got Free Author Stephen Witt on the Past, Present, and Future of the Industry,” Pitchfork, September 14, 2015.
Derek Walmsley, “Brandenburg’s Dream,” London Review of Books 38, no. 1 (2016).
Jonathan Sterne, “The MP3 as Cultural Artifact,” New Media & Society 8, no. 5 (2006): 825–842.

Technical Papers

Karlheinz Brandenberg, “MP3 and AAC Explained,” AES 17th International Conference on High-Quality Audio Coding, 1999.
Bram Cohen, “Incentives Build Robustness in BitTorrent,” Workshop on Economics of Peer-to-Peer Systems, 2003.

Graphic Novel

Theft! A History of Music, by James Boyle and Jennifer Jenkins, illustrated by Keith Aoki, Duke Center for the Study of the Public Domain, 2017. [PDF]


Further Reading

Jonathan Sterne. MP3: The Meaning of a Format. Duke University Press, 2012.
Stephen Witt. How Music Got Free: A Story of Obsession and Invention. Penguin, 2015.
James Allen-Robertson. Digital Culture Industry: A History of Digital Distribution. Springer, 2013.


“How Bittorrent Works,” TechStuff, August 12, 2013.
“The History of File Sharing,” Parts 1 and 2, Creative Minds, November 2016.
“The Future of Bittorrent with Bram Cohen,” Steal This Show, April 23, 2017.


“Napster Documentary: Culture of Free,” Retro Report, New York Times, December 8, 2014.
“How Torrenting Works,” The Verge, May 8, 2016.