The Intersection of Audiences and Production in Contemporary Theory – Volume 2
Contributors reflect varied perspectives in their approaches to the spaces formed as a result of rapidly developing and swiftly deploying new communications technologies and social software. They shine multiple spotlights into the intersection of audiences and production, providing a guide toward a nuanced understanding of the interstitial spaces.
Chapter Three: Duality Squared: On Structuration of Internet Governance (Dmitry Epstein)
C H A P T E R T H R E E Duality Squared: On Structuration of Internet Governance Dmitry Epstein n Wednesday, January 18, 2012, the Internet went dark, in many cases literally. The English Wikipedia, Reddit, Google, Flickr, and others—together over 115,000 websites—presented some kind of banner or landing page to protest two laws proposed in the U.S. Congress. The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) were aimed at curbing copyright and intellectual property violations on websites hosted outside of the United States by focusing enforcement at the level of the Domain Name System (DNS). What made those protests unique was the very public way in which the technical community confronted policy makers and the public support they were able to garner. This is a vivid illustration of how structure and agency play out in Internet governance through technology, culture, and policy. The SOPA/PIPA protests illustrate fundamental tension and inherent interdependency between the East Coast code and the West Coast code (Lessig, 2006). Following a U.S. geographic metaphor, the former refers to laws and regulations and the latter to computer and web programs and technical standards. This time, the East Coast versus West Coast tension came to a boiling point, and Silicon Valley openly and publically engaged the Hill. As John Battelle, cofounder of Wired, put it: “We can’t afford to not engage with Washington anymore . . . . Silicon Valley is waking up...
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