Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Institutional solutions to free-riding in peer-to-peer networks: a case study of online pirate communities

  • COLIN HARRIS (a1)
Abstract

This paper provides a case study of online pirate communities who use peer-to-peer networks to share copyrighted material illegally. Early scholars of peer-to-peer networks posited the possibility of a total network collapse due to issues of free-riding. When these networks are used to distribute copyrighted material illegally, the increased risk of legal punishment adds a further disincentive to contribute. This paper uses Ostrom's (2005) framework to categorize the rules used in pirate communities to solve collective action problems, evidencing the applicability and robustness of Ostrom's framework for self-governance under less favorable conditions. Through the use of boundary, position, information, and payoff rules, pirate communities are able to mitigate free-riding in the network.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Institutional solutions to free-riding in peer-to-peer networks: a case study of online pirate communities
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Institutional solutions to free-riding in peer-to-peer networks: a case study of online pirate communities
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Institutional solutions to free-riding in peer-to-peer networks: a case study of online pirate communities
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Corresponding author
References
Hide All
Adar, E. and Huberman, B. (2000), “Free Riding on Gnutella,” First Monday, 5 (10). At http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/792/701&lt%3B/Hu96, accessed January 9, 2018).
Anagostakis, K., Harmantzis, F., Ioannidis, S., and Zghaibeh, M. (2006), ‘On the Impact of Practical P2P Incentive Mechanisms on User Behavior’, NET Institute Working Paper, 06–14.
Andrade, N., Mowbray, M., Lima, A., Wagner, G., and Ripeanu, M. (2005), “Influences on Cooperation in Bittorrent Communities,” paper presented at Workshop on Economics of Peer-to-Peer Systems, Philadelphia, PA, August, pp. 111–15.
Andrade, N., Santos-Neto, E., Brasileiro, F., and Ripeanu, M. (2009), “Resource Demand and Supply in BitTorrent Content-sharing Communities,” Computer Networks, 53 (4): 515–27.
Araral, E. (2014), “Ostrom, Hardin and the Commons: A Critical Appreciation and a Revisionist View,” Environmental Science and Policy, 36: 1123.
Asvanund, A., Clay, K., Krishnan, R., and Smith, M. (2001), “Bigger May Not be Better: An Empirical Analysis of Optimal Membership Rules in Peer-to-peer Networks,” Cornell University Library Working Paper, 2001–049.
Asvanund, A., Clay, K., Krishnan, R., and Smith, M. (2004a), “An Empirical Analysis of Network Externalities in Peer-to-peer Music-sharing Networks,” Information Systems Research, 15 (2): 155–74.
Asvanund, A., Krishnan, R., Smith, M., and Telang, R. (2004b), “Interest-based Self-organizing Peer-to-peer Networks: A Club Economics Approach,” NET Institute Working Paper, 04–12.
Benson, B. (2005), “The Spontaneous Evolution of Cyber Law: Norms, Property Rights, Contracting, Dispute Resolution and Enforcement without the State,” Journal of Law, Economics, and Policy, 1 (2): 269348.
Bhattacharjee, S., Gopal, R., Lertwachara, K., and Marsden, J. (2006), “Impact of Legal Threats on Online Music Sharing Activity: An Analysis of Music Industry Legal Actions,” Journal of Law and Economics, 49 (1): 91114.
Boettke, P. and Leeson, P. (2004), “Liberalism, Socialism, and Robust Political Economy,” Journal of Markets & Morality, 7 (1): 99111.
Buchanan, J. (1965), “An Economic Theory of Clubs,” Economica, 32 (125): 114.
Chen, X., Jiang, Y., and Chu, X. (2010), “Measurements, Analysis and Modeling of Private Trackers,” paper presented at IEEE Conference on Peer-to-Peer Computing, Delft, Netherlands, August, pp. 1–10.
Chen, X., Chu, X., and Li, Z. (2011), “Improving Sustainability of Private P2P Communities,” in Proceedings of 20th International Conference on Computer Communications and Networks, Maui, HI, August, pp. 1–6.
Chen, X., Chu, X., and Liu, J. (2012), “Unveiling Popularity of BitTorrent Darknets,” paper presented at IEEE Global Telecommunications Conference, Miami, FL, December, pp. 1–5.
Christin, N. (2012), “Traveling the Silk Road: A Measurement Analysis of a Large Anonymous Online Marketplace,” Cornell University Library Working Paper, 12–018.
Cohen, B. (2003), “Incentives Build Robustness in BitTorrent,” paper presented at Workshop on Economics of Peer-to-Peer Systems, Berkeley, CA, June, pp. 68–72.
Dixit, A. (2003), “Trade Expansion and Contract Enforcement,” Journal of Political Economy, 111 (6): 1293–317.
Dourado, E. and Tabarrok, A. (2015), “Public Choice Perspectives on Intellectual Property,” Public Choice, 163 (1): 129–51.
Ellickson, R. (1991), Order without Law: How Neighbors Settle Disputes, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Feldman, M., Lai, K., Chuang, J., and Stoica, I. (2003), “Quantifying Disincentives in Peer-to-peer Networks,” paper presented at Workshop on Economics of Peer-to-Peer Systems, Berkeley, CA, June.
Feldman, M., Lai, K., Stocia, I., and Chuang, J. (2004), “Robust Incentive Techniques for Peer-to-peer Networks,” paper presented at 5th ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce, New York, NY, May, pp. 102–11.
Golle, P., Leyton-Brown, K., Mironov, I., and Lillibridge, M. (2001), “Incentives for Sharing in Peer-to-peer Networks,” paper presented at 3rd ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce, Tampa, FL, October, pp. 75–87.
Greif, A. (2002), “Institutions and Impersonal Exchange: From Communal to Individual Responsibility,” Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics, 158 (1): 168204.
Hardy, R. and Norgaard, J. (2016), “Reputation in the Internet Black Market: An Empirical and Theoretical Analysis of the Deep Web,” Journal of Institutional Economics, 12 (3): 515–39.
Hess, C., and Ostrom, E. (2007), Understanding Knowledge as a Commons: From Theory to Practice, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Hodgson, G. (2009), “On the Institutional Foundations of Law: The Insufficiency of Custom and Private Ordering,” Journal of Economic Issues, 43 (1): 143–66.
Hughes, D., Coulson, G., and Walkerdine, J. (2005), “Free Riding on Gnutella Revisited: The Bell Tolls?IEEE Distributed Systems Online, 6 (6): 118.
Jia, A., Rahman, R., Vinko, T., Pouwelse, J., and Epema, D. (2011), “Fast Download but Eternal Seeding: The Reward and Punishment of Sharing Ratio Enforcement,” paper presented at IEEE Conference on Peer-to-Peer Computing, Kyoto, Japan, September, pp. 280–9.
Kash, I., Lai, J., Zhang, H., and Zohar, A. (2012), “Economics of BitTorrent Communities,” paper presented at 21st International Conference on World Wide Web, Lyon, France, April, pp. 221–30.
Kollock, P. (1998), “Design Principles for Online Communities,” PC Update, 15 (5): 5860.
Kollock, P. and Smith, M. (1996), “Managing the Virtual Commons: Cooperation and Conflict in Computer Communities,” in Herring, S. (ed.), Computer-mediated Communication: Linguistic, Social, and Cross-cultural Perspectives, Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Krishnan, R., Smith, M., and Telang, R. (2004), “The Economics of Peer-to-Peer Networks,” Journal of Information Technology and Application, 5 (3): 3144.
Leeson, P. (2008a), “Social Distance and Self-Enforcing Exchange,” Journal of Legal Studies, 37 (1): 161–88.
Leeson, P. (2008b), “Coordination without Command: Stretching the Scope of Spontaneous Order,” Public Choice, 135 (1): 6778.
Leeson, P. (2013), “Gypsy law,” Public Choice, 115 (3): 273–92.
Leeson, P. and Subrick, J. R. (2006), “Robust Political Economy,” Review of Austrian Economics, 19 (2): 107–11.
Leeson, P. and Skarbek, D. (2010), “Criminal Constitutions,” Global Crime, 11 (3): 279–97.
Li, M., Yu, J., and Wu, J. (2008), “Free-Riding on Bittorrent-like Peer-to-peer File Sharing Systems: Modeling Analysis and Improvement,” IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems, 19 (7): 954–66.
Liu, Z., Dhungel, P., Wu, D., Zhang, C., and Ross, K. (2010), “Understanding and Improving Ratio Incentives in Private Communities,” paper presented at IEEE Conference on Distributed Computing Systems, Genova, Italy, June, pp. 610–21.
McGinnis, M. and Ostrom, E. (2008), “Will Lessons from Small-scale Social Dilemmas Scale up?,” in Biel, A., Eek, D., Garling, T., and Gustafson, M. (eds), New Issues and Paradigms in Research on Social Dilemmas, New York, NY: Springer.
Meulpolder, M., D'Acunto, L., Capota, M., Wojciechowski, M., Pouwelse, J., Epema, D., and Sips, H. (2010), “Public and Private BitTorrent Communities: A Measurement Study,” paper presented at Conference on Peer-to-Peer Systems, San Jose, CA, April, pp. 1–5.
Mueller, M. (2010), Networks and States: The Global Politics of Internet Governance, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Nandi, T. and Rochelandet, F. (2009), “The Incentives for Contributing Digital Contents Over P2P Networks: An Empirical Investigation,” Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, 5 (2): 1935.
North, D. C. (1990), Institutions, Institutional Change, and Economic Performance, Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.
Ostrom, E. (1990), Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action, New York: Cambridge University Press.
Ostrom, E. (2003), “Towards a Behavioral Theory Linking Trust, Reciprocity and Cooperation,” in Ostrom, E. and Walker, J. (eds), Trust and Reciprocity: Interdisciplinary Lessons for Experimental Research, New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation.
Ostrom, E. (2005), Understanding Institutional Diversity, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Ostrom, E. (2007), “Challenges and Growth: The Development of Interdisciplinary Field of Institutional Analysis,” Journal of Institutional Economics, 3 (3): 239–64.
Pavlov, O. and Saeed, K. (2004), “A Resource-based Analysis of Peer-to-Peer Technology,” System Dynamics Review, 20 (3): 237–62.
Piatek, M., Isdal, T., Anderson, T., Krishnamurthy, A., and Venkataramani, A. (2007), “Do Incentives Build Robustness in BitTorrent?” Paper presented at USENIX Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation, Cambridge, MA, April, pp. 1–14.
Rahman, R., Hales, D., Vinko, T., Pouwelse, J., and Sips, H. (2010), “No more Crash or Crunch: Sustainable Credit Dynamics in a P2P Community,” paper presented at Conference on High Performance Computing and Simulation, Caen, France, July, pp. 332–40.
Ripeanu, M., Mowbray, M., Andrade, N., and Lima, A. (2006), “Gifting Technologies: A BitTorrent Case Study,” First Monday, 11 (11).
Safner, R. (2016), “Institutional Entrepreneurship, Wikipedia, and the Opportunity of the Commons,” Journal of Institutional Economics, 12 (4): 743–71.
Sened, I. (1997), The Political Institution of Private Property, Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.
Skarbek, D. (2010), “Putting the ‘Con’ into Constitutions: The Economics of Prison Gangs,” Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, 26 (2):183211.
Skarbek, D. (2011), “Governance and Prison Gangs,” American Political Science Review, 105 (4): 702–16.
Skarbek, D. (2016), “Covenants Without Swords? Comparing Prison Self-Governance Globally,” American Political Science Review, 110 (4): 845–62.
Strahilevitz, L. J. (2002), “Charismatic Code, Social Norms, and the Emergence of Cooperation on the File-Swapping Networks,” Virginia Law Review, 89 (3): 505–96.
Williams, M. and Hall, J. (2015), “Hackerspaces: A Case Study in the Creation and Management of a Common Pool Resource,” Journal of Institutional Economics, 11 (4): 769–81.
Wu, C. and Kung, H. T. (2003), “Differentiated Admission for Peer-to-Peer Systems: Incentivizing Peers to Contribute Their Resources,” paper presented at Workshop on Economics of Peer-to-Peer Systems, Berkeley, CA, June.
Zerbe, R. and Anderson, L. (2001), “Culture and Fairness in the Development of Institutions in the California Gold Fields,” Journal of Economic History, 61 (1): 114–43.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Institutional Economics
  • ISSN: 1744-1374
  • EISSN: 1744-1382
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-institutional-economics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed