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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.
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Rebecca Giblin

I am indebted to a number of legal and technical experts who assisted me during the course of writing this project. Mark Davison supervised the PhD from which this book ultimately emerged, engaged in many spirited discussions about its themes and ideas, and provided indispensable support and advice throughout. David Lindsay munificently shared his encyclopedic knowledge of the copyright law, and Melissa de Zwart and Alan Hands generously read and commented on the work in draft form. Sam Ricketson and Jacqueline Lipton examined the thesis on which the book is partly based, and their comments helped to improve and shape the final manuscript. Peter Jaszi provided useful feedback used to further develop the ideas presented in this book at a seminar held at American University, as did Alfred Yen and other participants of the 6th Annual Works in Progress IP Conference at Tulane in 2008, and Rochelle Dreyfuss on a visit to Monash in the same year.

Jane Ginsburg read and commented on the work shortly before the manuscript was submitted, and her insights and advice helped enormously to focus the direction of the final chapter. Together with June Besek, Philippa Loengard and Fran Boone of the Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts at Columbia Law School, she also provided generous hospitality and support during the final writing stages. GTK-Gnutella developer Raphael Manfredi afforded me direct insights into the worldview of a P2P programmer. Spike helped to give me a fresh way of looking at some aspects of my analysis, particularly with regard to the final chapter.

Above all, my resident technical expert JC Chen provided technical advice throughout the project, a sounding board for new ideas, and fresh perspectives. He also created the network diagrams featured within the book, and has supported the project throughout.

This book was made possible by the funding and facilities provided by Monash University Law School, where I am a permanent member of the academic staff, and by Columbia University Law School, where I completed the book whilst a Kernochan Center International Visiting IP Scholar in 2011.

Publication acknowledgements

I also wish to acknowledge Thomson Reuters and Sweet & Maxwell for giving permission for some of my previously published work in this area to be incorporated into the book. That work appeared in the following publications:

Rebecca Giblin, “The Uncertainties, Baby: Hidden Perils of Australia’s Authorisation Law” (2009) 20 Australian Intellectual Property Journal 148–77.

Rebecca Giblin, “On Sony, StreamCast and Smoking Guns” (2007) 29(6) European Intellectual Property Review 215–26.

Rebecca Giblin and Mark Davison, “Kazaa Goes the Way of Grokster? Authorisation of Copyright Infringement via Peer-to-Peer Networks in Australia” (2006) 17(1) Australian Intellectual Property Journal 53–76.

Rebecca Giblin, “Rewinding Sony: An Inducement Theory of Secondary Liability” (2005) 27(11) European Intellectual Property Review 428–36.

Some additional context was drawn from the following publication in which I hold the copyright:

Rebecca Giblin, “A Bit Liable? A Guide to Navigating the US Secondary Liability Patchwork” (2008) 25(1) Santa Clara Computer & High Technology Law Journal 7–49.

Note about internet resources

This project has been under development for a number of years, and not all internet resources referenced within the book remain online. However, copies of all electronic sources are on file with the author. Please contact the publisher or author if you wish to view any source. Alternatively, archived copies may be available via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine at