file sharing in Tenen & Foxman 2014


offers pragmatic
reasoning related to the long-term sustainability of the cultural
sphere, which, in order to prosper, must provide proper economic
incentives to content creators.^[7](#fn-2025-7){#fnref-2025-7}^

It is our contention that grassroots file sharing practices cannot be
understood solely in terms of access or intellectual property. Our field
work shows that while some members of the book sharing community
participate for activist or ideological reasons, others do so as
collectors, preservationist


th these principles and following the practice of
scholars like Balazs Bodo ^[9](#fn-2025-9){#fnref-2025-9}^, Eric Priest
^[10](#fn-2025-10){#fnref-2025-10}^, and Ramon Lobato and Leah Tang
^[11](#fn-2025-11){#fnref-2025-11}^, we redact the names of file sharing
services and user names, where such names are not made explicitly public
elsewhere.

**Centralization**

We begin with the intuition that all infrastructure is social to an
extent. Even private library collections cannot be said to reflect the
work o


er the
structural instability of centralized media archives, and not of file
sharing communities in general. Although bereaved readers were concerned
about the irrevocable loss of a valuable resource, digital libraries
that followed built a model of file sharing that is more resilient, more
transparent, and more participatory than their *LNU/Gigapedia*
predecessors.

**Distribution**

In parallel with the development of *LNU/Gigapedia*, a group of Russian
enthusiasts were working on a meta-library of sorts,


chive's longevity and its vulnerability to official
sanctions. Rather than following the cyber-locker model of distribution,
the prospectors decided to release canonical versions of the library in
chunks, via *BitTorrent*--a distributed protocol for file sharing.
Another decision was made to "store" the library on open trackers (like
*The Pirate Bay*), rather than tying it to a closed, by-invitation-only
community. Although *LN/Gigapedia* was already decentralized to an
extent, the archeology of the communit


etween seeders and
leechers.^[41](#fn-2025-41){#fnref-2025-41}^

Imagine a music album sharing agreement between three friends, where,
initially, only one holds a copy of some album: for example, Nirvana's
*Nevermind*. Under the centralized model of file sharing, the friend
holding the album would transmit two copies, one to each friend. The
power of *BitTorrent* comes from shifting the burden of sharing from a
single seeder (friend one) to a "swarm" of leechers (friends two and
three). On this model, the fi


away from tracking entirely, in favor of
DHT and the related PEX and Magnetic Links protocols. At the time they
called it, "world's most resilient
tracking."^[44](#fn-2025-44){#fnref-2025-44}^

Despite these advancements, the decentralized model of file sharing
remains susceptible to several chronic ailments. The first follows from
the fact that ad-hoc distribution networks privilege popular material. A
file needs to be actively traded to ensure its availability. If nobody
is actively sharing and downloadin


ng
"seedboxes"--servers dedicated to keeping the *Aleph* seeds containing
the archive alive, preserving the availability of the collection. The
server in production as of 2014 can serve up to 12tb of data speeds of
100-800 megabits per second. Other file sharing communities address the
issue by enforcing a certain download to upload ratio on members of
their network.

The lack of true anonymity is the second problem intrinsic to the
*BitTorrent* protocol. Peers sharing bits directly cannot but avoid
exposing

 

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