In the past fifteen years, file sharing of digital cultural works between individuals has been at the center of a number of debates on the future of culture itself. To some, sharing constitutes piracy, to be fought against and eradicated. Others see it as unavoidable, and table proposals to compensate for its harmful effects. Meanwhile, little progress has been made towards addressing the real challenges facing culture in a digital world.
An in-depth exploration of digital culture and its dissemination, Sharing: Culture and the Economy in the Internet Age offers a counterpoint to the dominant view that file sharing is piracy, analyzing it rather as the modern form of long recognized rights to share in culture. Sharing starts from a radically different viewpoint, namely that the non-market sharing of digital works is both legitimate and useful. Philippe Aigrain looks at the benefits of file sharing, which allows unknown writers and artists to be appreciated more easily. It supports this premise with empirical research, demonstrating that non-market sharing leads to more diversity in the attention given to various works.