TitleDancing with Napster: Predictable consumer behavior in the New Digital Economy
Uniform TitleIT & Society
NameHorrigan, John B. (author), Schement, Jorge Reina (author),
DescriptionThe Internet is often characterized as a "disruptive technology," as recently argued by the music industry against Napster and by Sony against PC emulations of its PlayStation. Three questions are raised: 1) How much does the Internet replace traditional media? 2) As another information channel, does the Internet supplement traditional media? 3) How much do Internet users navigate the Web in order to download relevant information goods (news, music, movies) as part of their consumption and purchase strategies?
Data from the Pew Internet and American Life Project are used to test two competing hypotheses: 1) Easily copied and distributed digital content encourages
consumers to exploit the "information wants to be free" character of the Internet, thereby hampering the growth of the market for information goods and services, and 2)
Information consumers practice a sophisticated arbitrage process across different media, by weighing the value of online and offline information and thereby reinforcing active participation in the electronic marketplace. The efforts of the music industry to obstruct the downloading of MP3s may represent a serious misunderstanding of consumer arbitrage practices, much as book publishers characterize library use as a threat to book sales. Policy implications of this
work extend into ongoing public and corporate policy debates about digital content and intellectual property.
NoteThe original publication is available at: http://www.stanford.edu/group/siqss/itandsociety/v01i02/v01i02a11.pdf
CollectionSchement Jorge Collection
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
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