Becker, Jan U. and Michel Clement

Das ökonomische Kalkül eines Anbieters von Mediendateien bei Filesharing-Diensten

Wirtschaftsinformatik, 45 (3): 271-261, (2003).

Copy reference link   DOI: 10.1007/BF03254944

Abstract: Filesharing has recently proved to be one of the most controversial applications in the Internet. Millions of users enjoy downloads of billions of media files such as songs or movies. But where do these files come from? While the economic rationale to download files is obvious, the rationale of individuals to actually share and therefore internalize the costs (i.e. the risk of being sued for copyright infringement) is not obvious. Consequently empirical studies have shown a large proportion of users not offering any but demanding files and therefore freeride on their peers. Nevertheless sharing can be rational. This article offers a theoretical base to explain sharing and proves that the users’ utility considerations depend heavily on the networks life cycle. The user’s utility of sharing decreases over time. In order to prevent the (theoretically) inevitable break-down of the filesharing network, the authors present strategies for filesharing networks to enhance the user’s willingness to share.

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