Code Wars

Code Wars

10 Years of P2P Software Litigation

Rebecca Giblin

With reference to US, UK, Canadian and Australian secondary liability regimes, this insightful book develops a compelling new theory to explain why a decade of ostensibly successful litigation failed to reduce the number, variety or availability of P2P file sharing applications – and highlights ways the law might need to change if it is to have any meaningful effect in future.


Jane C. Ginsburg

Subjects: law - academic, intellectual property law


In Code Wars: 10 Years of P2P Software Litigation Dr Rebecca Giblin poses a paradox. From the inception of peer-to-peer file sharing networks (at the end of the Paleolithic 1990s), every time a copyright owner has alleged the legal liability of a P2P network entrepreneur, the copyright owner has prevailed in court; yet unauthorized P2P file sharing persists, if anything, more virulently than before. This book examines and explains the technological developments and legal doctrines that have produced that paradox. Equally importantly, and more rarely for analyses of the phenomenon of online piracy (which abound in the academic and popular press), Dr Giblin does not just diagnose the causes of current legal norms’ inadequacy to the task of stemming rampant copying; she prescribes how legal rules should change in order better to confront those causes. That said, Dr Giblin’s diagnosis is both original and persuasive. She aptly sets out how P2P technologies work; her straightforward explanations make the software-design decisions comprehensible even to the technologically unacquainted. She also provides a compelling account of the history of the various P2P cases in the United States and elsewhere, particularly her native Australia. She builds on the insights of scholars such as Tim Wu’s When Code Isn’t Law, which, contesting the claim that technology progresses according to its own logic that creates its own law, demonstrated that P2P technologies instead developed specifically to elude legal constraints. Dr Giblin significantly supplements the reasons that have motivated and enabled the propagation of what she calls...